Tuck into 400-year-old Punjabi recipes at The Oberoi
Chef Parvinder Singh Bali whips up unusual dishes from the royal family of Patiala
The dishes that spring to mind when you think about Punjabi food are butter chicken, dal makhni and pindi chole. But Chef Parvinder Singh Bali is here to open your eyes to the ancient recipes of Punjab with a new promotion at Le Jardin at The Oberoi. The Dean of the Culinary School at the Oberoi Centre of Learning and Development, the chef was gifted a 400-year old book by the royal family of Patiala. The book, a manuscript of sorts, contains recipes of the from the royal family's kitchens.
“I looked at the book and I knew that was the first and last time I would be able to do so. The pages were fragile and some were torn,” says Chef Bali, who had take pictures of each page, and get help from relatives to translate the handwritten recipes from Gurmukhi, a Sikh script. That's how the idea for the festival, Rivaayat-e-Patiala was formed. “Masha, rati and tola were the measurements used. One recipe said ek ser ghosht and chaar anne ka ghee. I didn’t know which year it was and had no reference of the weight of the ghee. I had to use my knowledge of food and find out ways to use contemporary equivalents of the measurements,” he explains.
The week-long festival that kicks off tomorrow features dishes such as Mewey wala murgh (boneless chicken leg, marinated in clotted cream and brown almond paste, and chargrilled in the tandoor) and Ashkauri Champaan (Princess of Kapurthala, Ash Kaur’s favourite lamb preparation of tandoor-roasted lamb chops flavoured with kasoori methi, yoghurt and mustard oil) and Dal Bhukpari (green mung lentils dum-cooked with ginger, ghee and saffron). "I researched the meaning of ‘bhukpari’ but I couldn’t find anything. Later, when a chef told me that he feels hungry whenever he eats the dal, it struck me that perhaps that is the reason for the dish to be named as bhukpari. From ‘bhook pad gayi.’ Ginger is a digestive after all,” he shares, adding, “The cooks were the blued-eyed boys of the king. They were possessive of their recipes and did not pass them on to the next of kin. Since the cooks were uneducated, there are no written records as such. These recipes were compiled by Maharaja Baljinder Singh because he was fond of food.”
Rs. 1,875++ per person. November 9 -15. At MG Road