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Flavours from the sea

Crabs, prawns and lobsters cooked in delicious masala... that's the highlight of the Samundari Ratan festival on at Peshawri, Chola Sheraton, till February 16.


BEING A Malayali, bred by the sea and backwaters, the very word seafood sends my saliva glands on an overdrive.Visions of fish, crabs, prawns etc. swim before the eyes. So, when the invite for the Samundari Ratan festival at Peshawri, Chola Sheraton came, I was in raptures. I had had some exquisite fish kebabs there. And how could I resist a whole meal of `jewels of the sea'? The menu extends beyond the usual seer fish and pomfret for once. Murrel and Indian salmon too share space with crabs, prawn and lobster. Another interesting tidbit is the appearance of gravy in the land of kebabs. Qaliyan-e-jhinga, prawns in thick cashew nuts and curds gravy is a rarity at Peshawri.

Siddharth Krishna, the enthusiastic Jr. Sous Chef claimed at the beginning of the meal that every marinade was different and so no two dishes would taste the same. Yet the Mahi Akbari and Fish tikka ajwaini had too much in common. They could have been identical twins if not for the very subtle ajwain flavour. Actually, I had to try earnestly to pin it. The strong curd trail continued to Jhinga anari too. This time in spite of my repeated attempts, I couldn't trace the sweetness of the pomegranate juice. All one could get was the sourness of the curd blanketing every thing else.

Crab khurchan (crab tossed with bell pepper, onion and tomato) was heavy on the spices, but okay. What happened to the finesse of flavouring, the famed Peshawri touch? The innate succulent sweetness of prawn and crab was lost.

That the breads, Roomali and Pudina paratha, and the Black dal were good was taken for granted.

Crestfallen and trying to explain away the strong-arm treatment of the `jewels', I drowned my sorrows in a pot of fine Phirni. The fest is on till February 16.

MARIEN MATHEW

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