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A culinary treat

Nalabhagam 2004 brought together Egyptian, Mughlai and Chinese delicacies



Foodies queuing up for their turn

REVIEWING A food fest is an altogether different experience. An expansive menu, more people for company while enjoying your meal, entertainment, music and loads of fun. That was what Nalabhagam 2004, the annual multi-cuisine food of PSG College of Arts and Science, was all about.

The annual food fest organised by students of Catering Science and Hotel Management gives them an opportunity to showcase their culinary skills. The event also brings together leading hoteliers.

It was a day out for the entertainment-starved Coimbatoreans. Families were hanging around to taste their choice of dishes and PSG grounds were bustling with activity. This time, the gourmet spread included Mughlai, Egyptian and Chinese dishes, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. Items on offer included soups, salads, starters, gravies, vegetables and rice-based dishes. Enticing vegetable carvings and an open barbecue were the highlights of the festival.

Salads n' tikkas

The cucumber mixed salad, exotic vegetable salad and fruit salad tasted good. Other salad varieties included the potato and green peas salad, green salad and capsicorn salad. Non-vegetarians got to savour crispy barbecued chicken, lamb and duck. At the hot kitchen section, on offer were paneer tikka and chicken tikka. The paneer was chewy and tasty. By the time one finished the starters, there was a huge crowd at all three food counters (Mughlai, Egyptian and Chinese). As the long queue grew longer, one managed to sneak in to check out the Egyptian cuisine.



Enticing vegetable carvings Pics: S.Siva Saravanan

The creamy zucchini soup, the first dish, tasted ordinary. The Egyptiasn takefumi rice, prepared in a starchy consistency, with mushroom and soya, followed that. The rice was bland but went well with the cauliflower prepared with tomato. For non-veggies, the choice was kufit smak-fish fingers and pasta with sesame and ginger.

Experts talk

Culinary experts from star hotels were highly impressed with the arrangements. "Food fests help catering students improve their culinary skills," says P. Soundararajan, the corporate executive chef of Club Mahindra. He is also the general secretary of Indian Federation of Culinary Associations (India). "Chefs are born and not made. Students should have a passion for this profession and there is fantastic scope here as well as abroad," he adds. Now let's catch up with the Mughlai cuisine. Biryani with the onion cucumber raita and carrot-capsicum raita made for a great combination. In the Chinese counter, tossed noodles went well with mixed vegetables prepared using Szechwan chilli. Ask Prathibha, a third year Psychology student about the food, and she says: "The Chinese chicken soup was good. But, because of the huge crowd we had to skip a few items."

Learning experience

Despite the setbacks, catering students were enjoying the show because it was part of the learning experience. "A lot of hard work has gone into organising the event and it needs to be appreciated.

Students learn aspects such as presentation of the food and serving etiquette in food festivals and it moulds them to be better chefs," says N. Kannan, executive chef of Taj Air Caterers, Chennai. To end the meal on a sweet note, it was time to indulge in the dessert section. Makhan peda, Agra peda, kaju apple... the list is endless. After tasting the pista cake, coconut macaroon, strawberry cake and masala biscuits in the bakery section, one rounded off the Nalabhagam experience with a vanilla ice-cream.

K. JESHI

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