The term Sichuan or Szechuan immediately conjures images of spicy and fiery food in my mind. After all, food from this province of China is characterized by distinct flavours, unique taste and yes, hot, dishes. It is in fact one of the most popular schools of Chinese cooking.
Glasshouse, the all-day dining restaurant at Hyatt Regency Mumbai is hosting a Szechuan Food Festival from May 18 – 30, 2015. With visiting Chef Steven Zhang from Hyatt Regency Chongqing, promising a wide range of China’s most popular dishes, cooked with authentic flavours to delight all palates, I decided to give it a try.
With summer at its peak in Mumbai, the prospect of cold salads like Long beans, spicy garlic sauce, Poached chicken, numbing sauce (Chicken, spring onion, cucumber, numbing pepper, chicken sauce, oyster oil, chicken, Wok-fried mushroom, sounded inviting. These were palate-teasers alright, as these ignited our appetites. Each salad was distinct and different from the other. The cooking style was rustic and home-style and that appealed to me immensely. Chef Steven, was a master of his craft for sure.
The three fish and mushroom soup was comforting. Mildly spiced, one could taste the different flavours with ease. Subtle and delicate, not overwhelming at all.
As we walked past the vast buffet spread to decide what we were going to savour, the appearance of each dish struck me as spicy with an abundance of chilies and peppers. But then, that is typical of Sichuan food I thought. Pepper powder boiled in oil, an extensive use of chilies is common in this cuisine. Hu jiao, or the sichuan pepper, a dried peppercorn, from the citrus family is abundantly used and that’s what renders the food fiery.
Braised fish (Fish, green and red pepper, oyster sauce, salt, ginger, spring onion, chicken powder, soy bean paste “Lijinji”) was a delight. Again, braising, being a popular cooking method in Sichuan food. It tickled our taste buds and the succulent, basa simply melt in our mouth. The spice element, lived up to its reputation, but was manageable and we enjoyed it actually.
Who can resist Wok-fried potato chips? Not me for sure, so I gave in. Potato, dry red pepper, numbing pepper, ginger, garlic, salt, spring onion, sesame oil, in an irresistible combination. The Wok-fried shredded pork, sweet and sour chili sauce surprisingly was not overtly spicy, but a tad oily though. But then again, Sichuan food is generous in its use of oil. A fact chefs are candid about.
The presence of many flavorings and seasonings in Sichuan dishes, make them unique and Chef Steven had deftly made use of this creating, lip-smacking fare. The vegetarian dishes were equally appetizing. An absolute surprise in fact.
Soy sauce, cooking vinegar, chiili sauce, are some of the oft-used ingredients which give a boost to the dishes in this cuisine. I was enjoying my meal with these unusual dishes and simple steamed rice. It actually accentuated the flavours of those dishes.
The menu, I observed, has been carefully crafted to cater to everyone’s palates. Make sure you are experimental and ready to indulge in Chef Steven’s signature dishes. Open for lunch and dinner, this Sichuan food promotion is on till the end of the month.
With bold flavours and exotic fresh ingredients, my palate was definitely rejuvenated at Glass House.
Rating : 3.5/5