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Southward ho!

Undertake a culinary journey of the South at Blue Flower, Taj Residency


GENERALLY SOUTH India is considered as a homogenous unit where idli, dosa and sambar form the staple diet besides rice - a trend which is widely prevalent up north and which is even crystallised as a mindset. This misconception is cleared in people's minds only when they taste the mind-boggling variations within each State and further within each region of the State. While dosa, idli and sambar are pan Indian today available even in the remote corners of the country, there are innumerable other dishes which are worth a try. The Blue Flower Restaurant of Taj Residency is bringing flavours of the South in the South Indian Food Festival. Master Chefs from the signature restaurants of the Taj (Southern Spice, Taj Coromandel, Chennai, Rain Tree, Taj Connemara and Bubble Café, Taj Residency) have been flown in to Hyderabad to create the South Indian culinary experience.

"This festival is one of the many continuous efforts of the hotel. We want to establish the restaurant as an Indian one. And we want to increase the frequency of festivals to give people a taste of authentic food of each region," says Ganesh Joshi, executive chef, Taj Residency.

Forget about the routine idlis and vadas and gorge on dosas (plain, onion, masala, paneer or butter), appams, pesarattu and steamed dosas (which is steamed as vouched by the chef) and traditional delicacies of Kerala, Andhra Pradesh (the food is mostly Telangana) and Tamil Nadu. The famous pollichathu, varutharacha curry, avial and stew of Kerala vie for place with allam kodi, gongura mamsam, aloo gadda vepudu and mukkala pulusu of Andhra Pradesh and urulai roast, vendakkai moru kozhambu and kozhi melagu of Tamil Nadu. The traditional flavours are retained on account of the usage of the spices sourced from Kerala and Tamil Nadu. "I asked the master chefs to bring all the masalas from there even though they are available here," informs Chef Joshi. For the die-hard Southie there is quite a bit of variety.

The veetchu paratha (which is layered and flaky) is worth sampling though it's heavy and loaded with ghee. For the rice lovers there is plain rice, pulisadam (tamarind rice) and curd rice. Simple and regular home fare such as cabbage kootu, mullangi sambar, aloo gadda veppudu and avial also figure on the menu.

Another misconception the festival corrects is the pricing. It's not real five-star pricing. "It's more reasonable and by doing so we want to reach out to more people," says Chef Joshi.

The South Indian food festival is on till March 21 and is open for lunch (12.30 p.m. to 2.45 p.m.) and dinner (7.30 p.m. to 11.45 p.m.).

RADHIKA RAJAMANI

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