God's own cuisine
Self-taught chef brings
Kerala to Delhi!
Last Byte/Ravi V.Chhabra
There was more than one reason to attend the Kerala Food Festival for me. One, I haven’t yet been to God’s own country (read Kerala).
Two, my weakness for sea food and last but not the least, the fact that the 22-year-old chef Mutthu heading the preparations is entirely self-taught and comes out of neither a hotel management institute nor any amateur cooking school.
With complete love and devotion for food, he has worked at prestigious places like the Maurya Sheraton Hotel, Delhi and the famous south Indian restaurant chain Sarvana Bhavan and his present stint happens to be at the Shangri La’s Eros Hotel in New Delhi.
The indulgence in mouth watering delicacies, traditional live music and display of artifacts at the week long 'Kerala Food Festival (Jan-15-22) at Cafe Uno at the Shangri La’s 24-hour poolside restaurant, overlooking the green lawns of the hotel was simply memorable.
This multi-cuisine restaurant mainly serves Indian, Continental, and Mediterranean food. There are separate buffets for the different cuisines, as well as live counters, so you can watch your meal being cooked in front of you. Also popular here is the dessert buffet with a number of exotic options to choose from.
I overlooked the drumstick soup to quell my hunger and went straight for the Thoran - a signature Kerala dish. Easy to make, good to look at, nutritious and delicious are some things going in favor of this dish. Cabbage thoran and prawn moilee with some rice is one of the good food pairings.
Mutton roast or lamb Ularthu is another culinary speciality of Kerala. The non-vegetarian roast dishes of Kerala have a unique flavour, taste and aroma. Starting from the proper blend of aromatic spices, the way the marinated ingredients are cooked, the use of coconut oil contributes to the unique taste of the dish - have a bite and you will literally fall in love with it.
The rich selection of buffet-style dinner comprised the drumstick soup, chicken winglet ularthu, lamb ularthu, prawn moilee, theeyal, ginger-curry, dal palcode, Kerala rice, potato stew and appam, apart from the staple sambar rice and an assortment of chutneys. My favourite for the evening was the creamy prawn moilee. It’s rich yet non-geasy gravy hints of butter chicken but is easy to digest. The prawns were well-cooked and tender. The three tall Mojito glasses that I downed just before concluding with the souffle were a perfect accompaniment to Kerala’s finely done cuisine.