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The Royal Indulgence

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The month-long promotion, ‘Muqawiat’ at specialty restaurant k&k, ITC Kakatiya features ancient Nawabi recipes of the khansamas, which infuse energy and well-being


Aish-e-jahaan – the royal and poetic name is give to this delectable preparation on the starter menu of ‘Muqawiat’, the specialty food festival at K&K restaurant, ITC Kakatiya Hotel, which is in fact chicken drumsticks, prepared using rich and exotic ingredients. Marinated in a paste of raisins, almonds, poppy seeds and pistachios and cooked in yoghurt laced with rose petals, mace and gulgurhal (dehydrated hibiscus) – this classic preparation from Hakeem Dulare’s recipe, in addition to being tender and rich in flavours without being overtly spicy, is also a testimony to the elaborate research and well-conceived preparation methodology employed in royal cuisines during the times of yore, to preserve the medicinal quality of the dish. The hakeem was known to have served the Vijayanagara Empire and it is indeed interesting, how culinary preparations had to have the inputs from traditional Unani hakims to include ingredients that not just enhance energy and general well-being – but also are aphrodisiac in nature…Ahem!

In addition to being flavoursome and healthy, these Nawabi recipes are known to employ exotic ingredients that are aphrodisiac in nature

After much search and research, chefs at ITC Hotels have unearthed several such age-old recipes and a bunch of the treasured secrets of the Nawabs are being presented during the month-long promotion at k&k. The menu has an extensive spread divided into vegetarian, chicken, sea-food and lamb. The one common quality of every dish is the ingredients that automatically render a certain royalty to the preparation with a definite emphasis on the medicinal attributes. The chowk ki tikki in that sense, an Awadh preparation using pea and potato patties, flavoured with asafoetida tempered and spiced with a masala known to be good for digestion – is yet another recipe that belonged to an unnamed hakeem. There is also the curry, Gucchi daara –morrels and green peas simmered in asafoetida flavoured yoghurt, and the Gucchi pulao made using stuffed morrels, garden fresh vegetables and long-grained Basmati rice – just like they do it in Kashmir. Even the regular Harabhara kebab gets a special touch as the finer chunks of ginger here and cashew there, add to the character of this otherwise, common vegetarian kebab.

The sea food menu is dominated by prawns and if the jhinga dum anari, marinated in pomegranate and black cumin and cooked on dum sounds delicious, wait till you taste the rest. Jhinge ki kadhi, especially with its typical hot-sour taste is yummy to say the least, and intriguingly does not employ yoghurt, like the regular kadhi, and has a host of ingredients like coconut cream, lichen flowers and naag zafraan. On the chicken end are the murgh malai, creamy, tender tandoor preparation that gets its flavours from the marination of cream cheese, lemon juice and green coriander; Dilkash parchay – the chicken slices that according to the menu (Quote Unquote) is given the traditional Indian beauty treatment of arq kewra perfumed gram flour mask anointed with an exotic nishashta uptan and griddle fried – to say in simple terms – is a preparation that employs exclusive Indian flavouring and binding ingredients to make the delicately infused chicken picatta.

The Kareli nehari unlike the Hyderabadi version that uses paya, uses the shanks, as the bone marrow is more nutritious rendering the same to the appetizing nehari. It wasn’t our imagination that the shahi gilaawat ke kebab (the galouti) was even more tender that in vogue and to taste the Charminar seekh – made by pot-roasting the skewered meat of lamb extracted from raan, repeatedly hand-pounded to gain the melt in the mouth consistency, and marinated in the wholesome spices and herbs that include the naag kesar (considered to be the finest of them all) and anjeer – well, is pure royal indulgence.
For one – the recipes do not compromise on the richness or flavour of the ingredients, and only use the finest known to have existed since ages in India – and secondly the fact that years of painstaking research went into devising this extravagant menu in itself is enticing to the taste buds, especially if you love Indian food.

Where: K&K, ITC Kakatiya Hotel, Somajiguda

Till: March 2016

First Published in The Hans India

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