Tag Archives: lalmaas

Indulgently Indian

Thalis in Indian cuisine, are my weakness. The sheer variety and sight of small vatis or katoris with different dishes in a glistening thali attract me. The Grand Thali Feast at Soma, Grand Hyatt Mumbai which begins today and goes on until July 23, daily for dinner, naturally was something which beckoned me. I was fortunate to get a preview last night.

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Curated by Chef Vinod Singh Rana of Soma and his team, the thali looked delightful and appetizing as expected. In fact I even witnessed the thalis being set in the spotlessly clean and well-planned kitchen.

I opted for the Non-vegetarian option with laal maas, a typical Rajasthani preparation of mutton which is lip-smacking. Naturally, that was the first dish I tried and it turned out to be one of the best lal-maas preparations I have ever had. Often hyped, it disappoints owing to too much spice and a rich and heavy gravy. But this one was a palate-pleaser. The yogurt was just right, as were the other spices and the texture of the succulent mutton pieces, slow-cooked, were just the way I enjoy mine.

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The other dishes on my thali included Rajasthani bhindi, sev tamatar, batata-nu-shaak, kadhi, dal, khichdi, thepla, rotla, puri, rice and of course lot of farsan in the form of khandvi, dhokla, samosa, patra made of arbi leaves, et al. Each dish was distinct in its flavours and textures and obviously painstakingly prepared. The taste of each Rajasthani and Gujarati dish was authentic with no room for compromise.

Desserts were the highlight of my meal with malpua and rabdi and of course the quintessential, moong dal halwa, as I have an incurable sweet-tooth.

The quality of ingredients was expectedly the best and the flavours shone through with ease. A sumptuous meal, perhaps difficult to finish, but enjoyable nevertheless. I was satiated. The meetha paan served in a traditional manner was the perfect finale to this grand thali meal.

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One can also enjoy an array of delightful cocktails and mocktails themed to compliment the menu from their a la carte beverage menu.

Given the variety and the fact that it is unlimited, as well as being priced at an all inclusive price, at Rs 999 for veg and Rs 1111 for Non-veg, this thali is a steal and every gourmand fond of the diverse flavours of Rajasthan and Gujarat must head to Soma soon. Furthermore, the thali has 4 rotational menus, so even if you land up more than once in the ten days, you are likely to experience a new set of dishes.

Rating: 4/5

 

A gourmand’s journey of Mewar: Nawab Saheb,Renaissance Mumbai

One of the best culinary journeys I have undertaken in the recent past. Of course the presence of Shriji Arvind Singhji Mewar, the Maharana of Udaipur, made it even more special.

The ambience spelt royalty, as we all sat down to taste the flavours of Mewar at Nawab Saheb, Renaissance Mumbai Conventon Centre Hotel.  Executive Chef Surjan Singh Jolly, crafted some of the choicest delicacies, after painstakingly researching and experiencing this cuisine and its cultural heritage during his stay at Shiv Niwas Palace.

I was somehow expecting rich, heavy food, of which I would eat only a few spoonfuls. But I was wrong. The thali laid on the table looked appetizing. Each dish was unique. Starters like Shikaar Maas Ka Soola (Charcoal grilled lamb, garlic, red chilies, cloves smoked) and Ker Sanger Wadi, Sekma (Pan-fried Wild desert beans and berries patty, fenugreek), tantalized my taste buds. I was now eagerly awaiting the maincourse.

 Khad kokada was as authentic as it could get. It had been prepared using the  typical battle mode of cooking, by digging a “khad” or pit in the earth and using mellow flames to roast.  Wrapped in khakra leaves the slow cooked country fowl, with garlic, green onion, green chilies, black cardamom, mace, had a special flavour which was incomparable.  Soweta Degchi Maas (Braised lamb and corn kernels kedgeree, cloves, cinnamon, mint, coriander, green chilies, buttermilk) was equally a culinary delight. Cuisine from Mewar is replete with makkai or corn instead of the usual bajra, traditonally popular in Rajasthan. But the real treat was the Panchkuta. A must-have in Rajasthan am told and an interesting amalgamation of local harvests beans, berries, seeds and fruits.  The Charcoal baked, semolina-wheat flour bread, Sekma Baati  was one of the best I have ever had. The highlight of the main course was the roasted kaleji or liver raita. A masterpiece truly by Chef Jolly.

Blessed with a sweet tooth, I was looking forward to the deserts even after a hearty meal. And those were pure sin on a plate. The Mawa Kachori (Wheat flour pastry, “khoya”, milk cake, pistachio, almond, saffron-cardamom honey) and Paniya Churio (Crushed maize bread, jaggery, hot clarified butter) were amazing. Each ingredient was fresh and well-flavoured. Simply melt in the mouth. The meetha chawal reminded me of the one my mother used to prepare lovingly when I was a child.

To add a traditional touch, the chefs had prepared all the dishes in clay pots, to replicate the original experience. The prompt and impeccable service by the warm staff dressed in turbans et al, added to the grandeur of dining in Royal company. This is not a feast I will forget in a long time. The flavours still linger in my mouth and heart.  The Mewar food festival is on till July 31 and I strongly recommend that you do not miss this gastronomic experience.