Food festival at Taj Residency offers rare regional treat
Specialty restaurants are still a faraway dream for Lucknow but Hotel Taj Residency continues to serve regional cuisine in food festivals. Having served Hyderabadi,Punjabi,Konkan,Rajasthani delicacies before,they are holding for the first time a Bengali food festival from January 21 to February 2.
“It is almost the end of winter and around the change of season it’s healthy to eat food seasoned with mustard seed,fenugreek and cumin…Bengali food is loaded with such natural goodness,so we decided to hold this festival at this time,” says Shabahat Husain,Deputy Sales Manager of the hotel,adding that a chef from Taj Bengal has been flown in for the event.
The spread comprises all the delicious things which as a non-Bengali you’ve probably only heard names of,or perhaps tasted a couple of times and yearned to have again. Besides the staple chorchori,aaloo posto,bhaja,baiguni,kasundi,luchi and kachori,there’s a treasure of goodies to dig into. It’s common perception that it is mostly fish and prawn that passes off as Bengali food and it is not a belief entirely wrong. But the ongoing function could be a revelation,for besides the Kosha Mangsho (lamb cooked in spices),Dhakai Murgi/Murgir Jhol and Chingri Malai Curry (fresh river prawns cooked in coconut cream),vegetarians have a choice in Phoolkophir Paturi (cauliflower cooked wrapped in banana leaf) Sorshe Baigun (brinjal cooked in mustard gravy) Mottorshutti Diye Bhaja Moong Dal (roasted lentils with green peas) or Narkel Diye Cholar Dal (Bengal gram with ripe coconut shavings). For starters the choice is between Chingri (prawn) Macher Cutlet,Beckti Macher (river fish) Cutlet,Keemar Bada (mince cutlets) and Aaloo Jhuri Bhaja (potato fingers) and Daler Bada,which is crispy fried gram dumplings with onion. Kaju Kishmish Pulao is a royal treat,filling your mouth with cashew nuts and raisins in every spoonful.
The Bengali term for dessert is ‘mukh-shuddhi’ or mouth-freshening,for which purpose you could choose either gobble rossogolla and sandesh or give it a pass for a lighter option in Mishti Doi or Bhappa Dai (sweet or baked yoghurt) or delight in the heady fragrant sweetness of Gobinobhog Chaler Payesh,which is a rice pudding cooked with green cardamom and seasoned with nuts.
The festival can be enjoyed during the dinner hours on an a la carte basis.