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It's chow-time

Chef Yang unravels the secrets of the middle kingdom at this food festival


IN AN age of endless stir-fry Chinese fast food joints all about town, an authentic Chinese Food Festival comes but rarely. Despite Hyderabad's gastronomic revolution, the most adventurous Chinese takeaway is still chilli chicken that oozes sauce tinged a khaki hue and tastes like gravy mix. But then if you are the kind wanting to discover the secrets of the Forbidden City be led to the Deccan Pavilion at the Hotel ITC Kakatiya Sheraton and Towers. Renowned chef, Yang Jiayu, originally of the Great Wall Sheraton, Beijing has laid bare the secrets of his wok.

The buffet spread includes a variety of non-vegetarian and vegetarian dishes with endless salads, soups and desserts. Says the executive chef, O.P. Khantwal, "Yang follows the Beijing style of cooking that's not very spicy, has a distinct flavour and is crowded with herbs." Chef Yang who also speaks a smattering of Tamil, identifies the herbs by their Indian names. "It's the imported sauces that do the trick," he adds.

An added attraction to the existing buffet and at no extra charge, the festival counters have a wide variety to choose from. Starters include dumplings of various kinds, wantons, Schezuan fried fish, Drums of heaven, Crumb fried sesame chicken, Salt and pepper baby corn, Lettuce roots and dimsums steamed and fried.

Chef Yang recommends Governor's chicken, Shredded chicken with cashewnuts, Lamb with oyster sauce, Fish in Yuxiang sauce and Crispy potato Yang Chu style, Chengdu freid rice, Hakka noodles and Broccoli babycorn and mushroom in ginger garlic sauce for the vegetarians.

Desserts include the inevitable Darsaan, a variety of toffees, Date pancake and the exotic Jasmine tea jelly.

The festival is on till January 30 and is proof that Yang can cook. After you've eaten your full you'd be tempted to say chow mein!

DEEPA ALEXANDER

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