Saturday, 8 August 2015

Lost Recipes of the Moughal Era at 361

While many of our talented chefs are working overtime to deliciously plate us the miracles of Molecular Gastronomy where smoke tastes like mutton tikkas , the Jalali's as a family have been working silently dedicating their time to rediscover and revive some of our lost culinary history , cooking techniques , recipes and spice .Osama's wife went about meeting food historians , old khansamas , grandmothers and keepers of some of our undocumented culinary history , to put together lost recipes to which there were many references but not many recipes as such.
Osama told me how they sourced seldom used spice like Nag Kesar , Chadila , Kabe e Khanda , restricted the use of modern substitutes in spice and stayed true to what they believed was used. You wont find much use of ginger , but a lot of flavoring through other spice , like peppercorns in their various hues and strengths.

Armed with what was shared with her , Osama's wife along with Ammi and Osama began to recreate these dishes - many of which had no reference points to go to to figure out what the taste and texture may have been .Reading up old books , speaking with respected historians Salma Husain , they did a lot of research , trials till they came up with what they felt was ' authentic ' .
The Yakhni Kabab while it looked ' regular ' tasted like something not eaten before , Luleh Kababs influenced by Humayuns Persian wife was a melt in the mouth kabab rolled in cardamon flavored naan with cucumber and anar .Patode with Arbi leaves were outstanding , crunchy and perfect , as was the broken wheat and Lentil kabab , Kabab e Burghul.
This 14 course ( excluding desserts ) tasting menu had many a gems - Parinda mein parinda - here whole birds stuffed in birds and skillfully cooked we had a quail stuffed in a chicken which was stuffed in a duck and the end result was three different birds from one dish , each tasted different .Kancha Kofta had a marble like void in the center a result of frozen ghee placed there which melts while cooking , Piston ka keema a creation from the Bahadur Shah era .Arbi ka salan was close to being my favorite as was Amba Qaliya , lamb with mangoes .
Motia Pulao , a class apart - egg whites filled in small intestines of lamb , tied an inch apart to resemble pearls  after they were boiled - a delicacy from the kitchens of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah , a difficult cooking technique , not seen in restaurants or homes today was the showstopper of the evening . I am not very fond of sweets but it didn't take much to 'convince ' me to go through all that was offered including a keema halwa !
Lost Recipes has the backing and support of The Oberoi group. Executive Chef Ravitej Nath and Osama Jalali have made it possible for us to relive some fine culinary moments of our rich culture and history through this endeavor .They want to bring to us some of our lost culinary history which now will be showcased at Threesixtyone , The Oberoi , Gurgaon . Do head here for a memorable experience.

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