6 Indian states are celebrating their New Year this weekend. And it's going to be a sweet ride!
Before you save your appetite for sweet pongal ahead of Tamil New Year’s Day, make note: there are five other states that are also celebrating their respective New Years this weekend. That is, Kerala, Bengal, Assam, Orissa and Punjab. We trolled the city for delicacies from each region that won’t require a ticket to taste. Apart from the traditional must-haves, one five-star hotel even has a Tamil meets Turkey-inspired Jaggery baklava!
Over a 100 oranges are going to be filling up the kitchens at the Hilton this weekend. Executive sous chef of the hotel, Manish Uniyal, shares that this is in preparation for the Assamese delicacy Komolar Kheer for Bihu. “We make it with fresh orange pulp and Gobindobhog, a traditional variety of rice used especially for this kheer. The rice is first broiled in ghee so it takes on a little bit of colour and flavour ,” he says. This chilled dessert comes with varied textures, given an assortment of almonds, raisins and cashewnuts used. At Rs 425 plus taxes. For Poila Boishakh, look forward to Pantua, which resembles a mini gulab jamun, but replaces cornflour for semolina and so is healthier. Rs 375 plus taxes. Available on April 13, 14 and 15. At Ayna, Hilton.
Tamil Nadu meets Turkey
There are so many reasons to celebrate Tamil Puthandu. Our list, true to celebration — rings in the ‘new’. For instance, did you ever imagine an Elaneer panna cotta or jaggery baklava? Merging traditional sentiment with international appeal, the roll out this weekend promises to be a sweet surprise, that (as is often the complaint with South Indian offerings) will “not to be overly sweet” assures executive chef of the Taj Coromandel Sujan Mukherjee. At Southern Spice. Rs 500 for a platter of both desserts.Traditionalists can look forward to all the usual suspects like Thengapal halwa at Dakshin, Crowne Plaza Adyar Park (Rs 550, on request) or Sweet pongal or Coconut & jaggery kozhakattai and Pal penni as part of the Madras Pavilion buffet on April 14 (Rs 2,030 plus taxes).
Ocean of milk
There is a mythological tale that when Lord Vishnu killed the demon Madhu, his consort Lakshmi served him a bowl of Khira sagara. Translating to ‘ocean of milk’ — sample this divine delicacy that is much loved by the Odia community, as we bring in the Orissa New Year. Consisting of marble-sized balls of chhena cheese (used to make rasagullas) soaked in sweetened, condensed milk and seasoned with saffron and cardamoms, this dessert is enjoyed at room temperature or slightly chilled. Available over the weekend as part of the buffet or on request. At Courtyard by Marriott Chennai.
Rs 500++ for half kg.
Hot and cold
Whether in a tea shop or on a train, this Kerala snack is a much-loved staple. Clue number one: bananas. Clue number two: not chips! Bringing in God’s own country’s Vishu with a delicious twist is the Taj Coromandel’s tribute to the humble Pazham pori. Created especially for the festivities over the weekend, this dessert is a play on temperatures, combining the delightful crunch of hot banana fritters with the chill of creamy homemade caramel ice cream. At Southern Spice for lunch and dinner on April 14 only. Rs 500 plus taxes.
Wheat for me!
How often can you say that an Indian sweet is a go-to for new mothers? Panjiri from Punjab is. Both delicious and high in nutritional value, this treat is made with the goodness of whole wheat flour and dried fruits. It is then laced with ghee and gum crystals or gond , and is a favourite during the Punjabi New Year. Available on April 14 only. At Six ‘O’ One, The Park Chennai. Rs 275+ taxes.
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