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It's Sindhi, it's different

Savour the flavours of Sindh at a festival at Radisson GRT Hotel



Taste of a vibrant migrant culture: at the Sindhi food festival — Pic. by N. Sridharan

"THE SINDHU is rich in horses, rich in chariots, rich in clothes, rich in gold ornaments, well made, rich in food, rich in wool, ever fresh, abounding in Silama plants, and the auspicious river wears honey growing flowers."

Rigveda X (Prof.Wilson's translation)

Now, this perfection is perhaps seen in Sanjay Leela Bhansali or Shah Rukh Khan films. But how much did the Sindhis manage to preserve after the Partition? Actually quite a lot, and that too in spite of the loss of Sind.

We get a taste of this vibrant migrant culture at the Garden Café, Radisson GRT Hotel, thanks to Chef Ilango and his team. No, this is not yet another star chef and his team overreaching themselves caught in the must-sell frenzy. Cooks who specialise in Sindhi cuisine prepare the food and Chef Ilango admits the festival is a learning experience to him.

Distinct taste

Learning is exactly what one does through the subtle nuances from the buffet table. At the first look, the dal, palak gobi, bhindi, aloo methi and besan roti arouse a "So what's new?" reaction. But, be patient and taste them.

That is when the individuality of thoomawari dal, palak mein gul gobi, bhindiyoon basar mein, methi mein aloo and besan ji koki hits your tongue.

Dahi ji kadi with pakoras is too distinct to be confused with the Punjabi version of the same. Throughout the meal, you are on familiar terrain yet seeing it through different eyes, and the new angles will delight you. That's the beauty of Sindhi food. The influences from other cuisines are obvious; still the distinctiveness is not lost.

Tariyal kachalu or fried colocacia or seppankezhangu is simply gorgeous. Here is an Indian fry that retains the original taste of the vegetable. There is no overwhelming masala and so the buttery flavour of the tuber comes through loud and clear. Khatta meetha karela will help you get rid of all your prejudices against the bitter gourd. It is that good!

The dessert table too sings the same tune. Moongdal and gajar halwas, Sindhi style, will set you on a `how, why' trail trying to figure out the difference with the Punjabi versions. But what stand out are besan ji mithai and khus khus jo seero. They are not to be missed.

This culture pack on the table comes at Rs. 350 plus taxes and only for dinner till December 19. Call 22310101 for reservations.

MARIEN MATHEW

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