Delicacies from the North
On the occasion of the Awadhi food festival at the Westin, The Guide chats up with Chef Shamsher Ahmed Hashmi about the specialties in Awadhi cuisine and the most delicious dishes at the festival
“Awadhi food is meant for food lovers, for those who appreciate taste and are willing to wait and take an extra effort in cooking with sophistication,” says Chef Shamsher Ahmed Hashmi, Senior Sous Chef, Kangan Restaurant, The Westin.
Having grown up in Hyderabad, the culture and the flavours of the North-West Frontier runs in Chef Shamsher’s veins. “When I was studying at the Institute of Hotel Management, I used to be very inquisitive about the cooking techniques of the olden days.
My grandmother used to tell me a tale of a man who made dal for the king, which used to be cooked for eight hours till it was perfect,” says Chef Shamsher, who wants to bring back the tradition of preparing a truly royal spread which is rich in taste and nutrients.
“Rumour had it that the dal was once spilled on a dead plant, which then came to life. This may be an old grandma’s tale, but the food in that time was so full of nutrition that it could bring a dead plant alive,” expresses Chef Shamsher.
The Awadhi food festival features Gosht Yakhni Pulao, a delicious rice and mutton preparation cooked in mutton stock; Murg Dohri Kofta, a special dish that the chef has innovated with chicken mince and chopped chicken tikka; Saffron Pula, another royal rice preparation and much more.
“I have ordered special brass utensils to cook the Awadhi food in. Utensils are very important in the preparation of food. We cook in steel vessels that hastens the cooking process, but the taste is not the same. We use high flames but the flavour is lost,” says Chef Shamsher.
“Using the right utensil will bring the right flavour and nutrition. In today’s fast-paced life, one needs a break. One needs to be treated to the good old wholesome tasty food once in a while and that is the sole purpose of this food festival,”
Till May 6
At Kangan, The Westin, Koregaon Park. Call 67210061