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From the desert land

The `Khad Journey' at Firdaus, Taj Krishna, brings to you a spicy platter filled with protein and energy from the Rann of Kutch.



FOR ENERGY: A staple yet filling meal for subsistence.

CUISINES HAVE fascinating and diverse roots. At one end of the spectrum is a robust preparation for the royal banquet such as the Awadh cuisine, and at the other, a staple-yet-filling meal for subsistence, as found among the nomadic communities of Sahara and Kalahari deserts, and the Rann of Kutch.

The `Khad' cuisine takes its name from `Khad' or pit method of preparation employed by nomads of the Rann of Kutch till date using the available limited water and natural resources at their disposal. The food is cooked in earthenware by simmering coal and warmth of the surrounding scorching sand. Today, instead of the earthenware, clay ovens are in use and the grill makes up for the charcoal bed to recreate the same taste for the urban populace.

The ongoing `Khad Journey' — the Khad food festival at Firdaus, Taj Krishna, is an occasion for you to dig into succulent morsels from the Khad platter lined up at the a la carte fare by Chef Amrish More, from Mumbai. About the cuisine, "the food is wholesome and filling. You don't have appetisers and starters in their menu owing to their lifestyles. What they essentially need is energy food mostly comprising grains and meat. As for spices, the hand pounded khada masala is used," says Sunil Mundepi, Sous Chef Firdaus, Taj Krishna.

A strong flavour of freshly pounded spices is especially noted in the Soundhi subzi — a combination of vegetables and a lingering aroma of the same kind that the first drops of rainfall falling on a parched land bring. Yet another spicy offering is the Achari bhuta — pickled baby corn. Native birds and animals provide the nomads the much-required protein, apart from the servings of vegetables.

"Meat is cooked variously in the Khad tradition," explains Chef Sunil. For instance, Pudina macchi, a fish delicacy, takes its flavour from the method of preparation — the fish is wrapped in a leaf folio and baked, as also the robust hi-protein option Khushk raan.

Khad chooza makhani and Khad gosht are the other delectable preparations at the fest that you can try out with roti, along with Math ki dal. For the rice, Khad biryani-subz or chicken variant of the traditional Khad pulao, is for the diehard Hyderabadi who would like to combine the exotic and native tastes.

The cuisine is rich in aesthetic appeal that is doubled up with the earthenware salver in which it is served to the connoisseur.

The `Khad Journey' is open for lunch and dinner, closing June 29. For reservations, you can reach Firdaus, Taj Krishna, on 55662323, Extn: 3306.

SYEDA FARIDA

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