From the North West Frontier Province comes the famed Peshawari cuisine, one of the legacies of undivided India. This authentic, evocative cuisine can be best defined as rustic and robust. The simple, nomadic flavours of the delectable frontier cuisine evoke the enduring romance of a place and a time that saw many a community come together over a crackling fire, grilling shanks of meats and evolving a robust and characterful style of cooking – tandoori cooking – that has left its mark on the culinary map of many cities across the world.
Latest Recipe at Le Meridien Goa, Calangute presents the culinary repertoire of the North West Frontier in a 10-day festival from November 10th to 18th, which lets one savour the culinary delights of the erstwhile North West Frontier Province. The North West Frontier was established as a province by the British in 1901 and from this Province arises the famed Peshawari cuisine, one of the legacies of undivided India.
Chef Nishesh Seth and his talented brigade of chefs at Le Meridien have curated a festival that showcases the vibrant variations in the cooking methods, flavours and offerings of the North West Frontier cuisine. One look at the menu and you know a lot of thought has gone into crafting it. It doesn’t bombard you with items, which can often be a very confusing decision; but provides a selected few options through their A la carte menu.
To start off your meal you can opt for Murgh Chapli Kebab, Ajwani Machi tikka, Bharwan Khumb Peshawari or Dahi ke kebab. The Ajwani Machi tikka – fish marinated and grilled to perfection, is succulent and leaves you wanting for more. The marination might sound bland but reserve your judgment till you bite into it.The flavours are simple and the fish is a delight for seafood lovers.
It was my first time trying Dahi ke kebab and I was impressed with how tasty the simple curd kebab can be. Though originally they were made of only hung curd and Indian spices, now they need to use potato and paneer as a binding agent considering the curd isn’t as thick as it was earlier. The soft kebabs with a creamy inside are absolutely delicious.
As the binging proceeds, what is most impressive is that the basic ingredients – the lamb, chicken, lentil, vegetables – are not swamped by overabundance of spices and oil; instead the intrinsic taste triumphs. Take for example, the Raan-e-buzkashi which was my favourite of the night is simply pieces of whole leg of baby lamb soaked in masala and griddled. The meat was marinated overnight and cooked for long, which made it tender and absolutely delectable.
Our main course comprised of a delectable vegetarian fair served with Ajwaini Parantha and Ghee wale muttar pulao (green peas rice in clarified butter) which made a great combo. The aromatic pulao with subtle flavours was delectable and so different and so much more buttery than the pulao we usually have. The rich chicken gravy – Murgh Kandhari – comprises of a cashew gravy and is absolutely delicious.
Lentil is a perennial North India favourite, but unfortunately more than often it is doused with so much butter and cram that the after taste is more of the dairy products that leave behind a greasy trail. Interestingly none of the food at the festival was greasy! We tried three different vegetarian items along with it and what was surprising is, all of them are unique and alluring.
|Makhmali paneer gulgule|
The Dhingri muttar masala – tempered mushroom & green peas was as simple as it could be. The Dal Bukhara – black lentils cooked overnight with tangy tomatoes was delicious with no overpowering flavours. The Makhmali paneer gulgule – pillowy soft cottage cheese balls dunked in white gravy is super interesting. Though the food is vegetarian, you will thoroughly enjoy it! For the dessert, they have a Pista malai kulfi served in a matka. Yummm! The festival is on till the 18th of November. For reservations call: 91- 7410066040
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