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Go for delicate taste

The `jugalbandhi kofta-e-kebab' at Dum Pukht, ITC Kakatiya Sheraton gives you a taste of royal cuisine.


JUGGLING TASTE: Kebabs and koftas find a meeting ground.

IT IS a jugalbandhi of a different kind - not like the kind we are used to in the fine arts. Here the teaming ground is food - and the jugalbandhi is between kebab and kofta. If you are wondering how the two can meet just hop over to Dumpukht restaurant at ITC Kakatiya Sheraton Hotel and Towers and sample it yourself.

Food festivals are the order of the day. But with anyone and everyone doing them often there has to be a difference - and therein lies the ingenuity of the chefs and the management of the hotel. So chef O.P. Khantwal (Executive Chef) visualised a new meeting ground - of the kebab and the kofta so that people could experience it for themselves. "Koftas were part of the nawabi cuisine of Lucknow but their popularity is waning slowly. So we decided to recreate them and serve them along with kebabs which are popular and make it a classic evening." says chef Khantwal. Research by chef Khantwal and chef Md. Faroouke (Dum Pukht chef) resulted in an array of recipes - some original and some with slight innovations. A variety of spices like javitri, shahi zeera, saffron, cardamom (big and small), cinnamon, aniseeds and kebabchini are used in the preparations. The kebabs and koftas can be ordered ala carte at the Dum Pukht only for dinner.

For a royal repast start with shorbas and kebab-e-shaam and go on to kofta-e-nazakhat accompanied with shaan-e-rotis. For those whose meal is incomplete without biryani there is biryani with kofta too. Vegetarians need not feel left out as there are quite a few dishes for them.

For shorbas there are Shorba dilbahar (delicately flavoured lentil extract), Shorba subz shahi (spinach aromatised vegetable soup) and shorba chooza-e-murgh (chicken soup with a difference).

The kebab lovers can feast on murgh pasanda (flattened chicken kebab cooked on griddle), mutton chalabdari kebab (mutton escalopes flavoured with cardamom and black pepper), mahi dum angare (fish cooked on charcoal), jhinga dum anari (prawns cooked to perfection, scented with pomergranates), kham khatai (mildly spiced green lentil kebab), doodhiya kebab (kebab of paneer graced with Indian herbs), goolarh kebab (preparation of raw banana finished on charcoal) and aloo motia kebab (baby potatoes cooked to the right tenderness), the last four being veg.

The koftas (veg and non-veg) are soft and light and served in different gravies. Those who think koftas are deep fried have to think again as here they are cooked in a vessel with oil and gravy.

They are cooked to the right consistency and hence melt in the mouth. Different gravies delicately flavoured with spices impart special tastes to the koftas.

The varieties include four veg - namely kofta mehnum nishan (paneer stuffed in cardamom flavoured gravy), farmaishi kofte (bottle gourd later), aloo batasha kofte (potatoes in saffron flavoured gravy with kasoori methi) and phulwari kofte (enhanced with melon seeds) and non-veg namely - samundari kofte (prawns in cardamom flavoured gravy), chhui mui kofte (lamb mince preparation with melon seeds), murgh bismil kofte (chicken dumpling in egg yolk) and bheja musallam (lamb brain in saffron enhanced onion gravy).

These yummy koftas can be eaten with parathdar paratha (an exotic ajwain flavoured multi-layered bread baked in a clay tandoor), taftan (a freshly baked flour dough bread baked in an iron tandoor) and warq-sada ya pudina (whole wheat bread baked on a domed griddle - plain or with mint).

Biryani lovers can choose from koftee biryani (kheema biryani served in kofta) and a veg Yakooti biryani (melange of rice and petit khoya kofta) with the mirch baingan ka salan and burrani raita. Relish all this with the tune of the ghazals in the background.

After eating all this if you have space in the tummy then the sweets are worth a check - particularly aam ki kheer (a not-so-sweet kheer made of mangoes served cold in a shallow earthern bowl) which is like a thick rabri with mango pulp.

Don't be horrified but have it - it is good. Shahi pakori has tiny gulab jamuns in rabri.

Savour this experience till June 16.

RADHIKA RAJAMANI

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