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Skewered savouries

SOUVIK CHOWDHURY

It's monsoon and it is time for spicy kebabs. Relish these delicious items prepared in live counters and interact with the chef at the Tandoor Kebab festival at Firdaus restaurant, Taj Krishna.



EQUAL SHARE: Try out different vegetarian kebabs. — Photos: Satish H

THERE ARE SOME interesting nuggets about certain dishes. For instance, `Bab' is `water' in Persian and `Ke' means `without'. "Very less or no water is used in the preparation of a kebab too, which may have originated in Persia," illustrates Karthik Narasimham, Sous-chef, Taj Krishna that is playing host to a Tandoor Kebab festival (in Firdaus restaurant). (Taj Krishna's Golden Dragon is simultaneously holding a Chinese food festival, where one can savour delicious dimsums and oodles of noodles. The festival concludes on July 20.)

A kebab is usually marinated before being skewered over the tandoor, and cooks in the inherent water-content of the main raw ingredient. Originally, it was made, packed and consumed during long journeys across the Arabian sands as it had a longer shelf life because of low moisture content. Later, kebabs evolved to become an indispensable delicacy in the Royal repast of Nizams and Nawabs.

The ongoing Tandoor Kebab festival that began Friday last, offers a rare opportunity for guests to watch kebabs being pan-fried and skewered in a daily live-demonstration by master chefs and stewards. "The idea is to make eating more interactive and participative. One can even get to know recipes," says Karthik.

For example, the Phaldari kebab, which is an interesting mix of raw bananas, hung yoghurt and an assortment of Lucknowi spices, well kneaded and fried on a tawa with very less oil, can easily be made at home for an enjoyable evening. Or the Shikhampuri, which is a simple preparation of - boneless mutton and Bengal gram blended with Hyderabadi spices and stuffed in the core with hung yoghurt, brown onion and mint.



GO AHEAD: Tuck into these delicacies.

The non-veg menu lists out seven exotic kebabs - more Lucknowi than Hyderabadi. There is Murgh malai, Lasooni tangdi kebab, Hariyali mahi kebab, Tandoori chicken, Gosht seekh kebab, Shikampuri and Gilawat kebab, - which is made of minced mutton, raw papaya, ground dried onion, ginger-garlic paste and kneaded Potli ka masala (a Lucknowi assortment of over 25 condiments). "The Gilawat kebab just melts in the mouth," says chef Karthik endlessly extolling its taste.

For once, veggies have an equal share - seven, to be precise. There is Paneer tikka, Phaldari kebab, Vegetable sheekh kebab, Paneer sheekh kebab, Mawe ki sheekh, Babri aloo, and Sushni kebab. The popular one in the list is Sushni kebab - which is essentially a tandoori salad. The ingredients are onion, capsicum, broccoli, potatoes, cottage cheese and assorted spices for seasoning. But chef strongly recommends not to miss out on the Babri aloo, - which is a mix of boiled and mashed baby potatoes, degi mirch powder, ginger-garlic paste and hung yoghurt, skewered in the tandoor for a long time. A lot of lemon masala also goes in the recipe.

There is Dal makhni and parathas, to be relished after the kebabs. Priced at Rs. 425 for non-veg and Rs. 375 for veg, food is unlimited in the festival. "Going by the demand, the culmination date for the festival has not been fixed as yet," says the Sous-chef. Ghazal maestro Vikar Ahmed and tabalchi Osman entertain the guests with their music. Monsoon, melody, manoranjan and masaledaar kebabs - just go ahead.

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