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Spice of Life

A legend when it comes to the Awadhi fare,Chef Ghulam Rasool believes cooking with simplicity is an art

Written by Jagmeeta Thind Joy |
April 28, 2013 3:28:28 am

A legend when it comes to the Awadhi fare,Chef Ghulam Rasool believes cooking with simplicity is an art

There isn’t a country this grand old chef of Lucknow hasn’t visited,but India,he says,will always be home. Having grown up working in kitchens of nawabs to making his presence felt in five-star hotels,Chef Ghulam Rasool’s journey has been as flavoursome as the meals he rustles. But the 80-year-old,one of the best known chefs of the country specialising in Awadhi fare,is now ready to hang up his boots. “I don’t get as excited as I used to earlier,” says Rasool,who is in Chandigarh to steer the ongoing Awadhi Food Festival at Kava in Sector 26.

That statement,however,doesn’t reflect in his dishes on offer here that retain his magical touch. You have to dig into his Raan Musallam to truly understand how flavours can be finely balanced and mutton can actually melt in the mouth. “It’s very easy to add a world of ingredients to a dish but it’s an art to make something tasty with just namak and mirch,” said Rasool.

The secret to a good non-vegetarian Awadhi dish lies not just in the special masalas but also,as the chef points out,in the way the meat is cut. “I am very particular about that aspect as it can make a huge difference,” said Rasool,who fondly remembers the time he rolled out Gusse ke Kebab. “I was traveling with the late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to Andaman & Nicobar Islands and during dinner,I got a sudden request from him for galawati kebab in 15 minutes,” recalls Rasool. “Since we were not prepared,I was really miffed. But then I took minced meat and added a few flavourings,made a few changes and presented the kebabs to the guests,” he said. The kebabs were relished and Rasool added the recipe to his list.

He also dishes out a tip: “If the mutton is stringy,then it has been made in a hurry.” A fan of slow cooking,it comes as no surprise when Rasool mentions that the dal has been simmering on a low charcoal fire for two days. The result is indeed lip-smacking. “Slow cooking not only adds to the flavour but retains the nutrition as well,” he said.

The Awadhi meals at Kava are being served in earthen pots with a menu comprising kebabs,curries and biryani. “It’s all Awadhi dastarkhwan fare,” said the chef as we lapped up the Mutton Paya,with a soft Sheermal roti. For the vegetarians,mirchi ka salan and moong dal are highly recommended though the true feast is in the mutton and the fact that Rasool might not be in kitchen anytime soon.

The festival is on till May 11

Meal for two: Rs 2,000 (including taxes)

Location: Kava,Sector 26,Chandigarh

Contact: 5043666

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