The chefs at Saffron are hosting a celebration of the “Royal Cuisine of Arcot”, which boats a royal legacy of more than 200 years.
A deep influence of multiple cultures can be found in the culinary capital of the ancient Carnatic region, Arcot, and its royal cuisine. Amir Mahal, the Nawab’s residence in Arcot, is where the stately cuisine of the royal family has been preserved. The secret recipes are currently being passed on to the tenth generation of royal cooks.
In Chandigarh, the regal culinary experience is being explored through a 10-day food festival. The hotel has invited guest chef Abdul Quddus, who has, over the years, learnt the various nuances of the exquisite cuisine. “While the original base of the cuisine is traditional Awadhi or nawabi recipes, the control of the Hyderabadi Nizam on the Carnatic empire influenced the cuisine, making it spice-heavy. The royal kitchens of Arcot developed their unique cuisine using local ingredients and the culinary traditions of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu,” says Quddus.
The menu includes kebabs for starters and a main course featuring rich and spicy curries. The delicate flavours lend the cuisine its unique character. “Take Mongodi shami and Nimona shami, for instance. The green lentils used in Mongodi shami are unique to the Arcot cuisine, while Nimona Shami uses green apples as its base for a sweet and sour kebab. In the main course, you can look forward to Phans Loung Kofta Curry with yam koftas in cashew gravy, and Aloo Gosht Korma, which has lamb trotters in almond gravy,” adds Quddus.
Finding a special place on the menu is the Arcot biryani, famous for its exquisite rice and lamb preparation. Arcot cuisine is known for using flavourful ingredients like saffron, yellow mustard and whole turmeric apart from dry fruits. Slow cooking ensures that maximum flavours are retained in the recipes with marination. Dal -E- Nawab, a unique green lentil preparation, is cooked overnight in royal cumin, butter and home-pound spices. Dhungari Chaat, on the other hand, is marinated days before being prepared, so that the lamb ribs can soak-in maximum flavours.
In the dessert section is Arcot’s famous Makhan Peda, commonly known as Gulab Jamun. Another must-try is Amrit Phal, a mixture of semolina, condensed milk, saffron, almonds and rose and Badam Ka Kund.
The festival is on till April 25