Not every day does one get an invitation from a real life princess and not every day does one get to eat dishes served in the Royal kitchens of a maharaja. So, when the invite from Taj Lands End came, claiming that Rajkumari Sarvesh Kaur from the Royal family of Patiala was showcasing some of the dishes from the royal kitchens, I HAD to check it out.
Many of you may not know that the Indian restaurant at Taj Lands End – Masala Bay is helmed by one of the finest women chefs of our generation Chef Amninder Sandhu who won the award for the best female chef of India last year. This, clubbed with Rajkumari´s visit, was a win win proposition and I was keen to see how she would interpret the recipes from the Royal Kitchen of Patiala.
True to my expectations, the tasting started off with a beautiful light but rich Lamb shorba where I could feel the slow cooked lamb fat steeped into the flavorsome clear broth. Teekha Kebab (Lamb) and Bhatti da murg followed the soup. The Royal version of these dishes is a bit different from the versions that one usually finds in the restaurants all around. Intense flavors but soft luscious meat defined these two dishes, the teekha kebab was a tad bit too teekha(Spicy) for my taste.
A very interesting experiment was conducted by the mixologist at Masala Bay who paired the meal with some drinks that used elements from the royal kitchen and served them with each course. For example, there was saffron infused coconut water to start with which was followed by a vodka based cocktail with a prominent flavor of cardamom and ginger…lovely creations to go with each course. I think this experiment took the experience up by a few more notches.
The eagerly awaited mains featured some amazing dishes like Murgh Kibiti, Mevadaar Keema, Mutton Aloo Bukhara, Gobhi Creamwali and many more; each dish a winner in its own right! The dishes that stayed back in my memory were the very creamy and one of the most delicious cauliflower dish I have ever tried – the Gobhi Creamwali and the grainy, roasted Mevadaar Keema where the mince had the perfect texture and the flavors were subtle and complemented the meat rather than taking over the dish. The Mutton Aloo Bukhara with its true fall off the bone meat was a winner too but the former two stayed back in my memory for their uniqueness. As I write this post I am also remembering the basmati goodness of the Duggani Mutton Pulao which, according to me, was one of the best mutton pulaos I have had of late. The grains were long and aromatic, the yakhni not greasy and yet rich with the lamb cooked to perfection.
The bread served with this meal was a multi layered Shahi Paratha with egg and masala coating in between the layers. This was another unique dish that was a first for me, but I found it to be a bit heavy for my taste.
Despite being stuffed, the bong genes in me always make sure that there is always some space for desserts and this time too I went crazy over the seductive Halwa Behzaai which was interestingly made of Egg Whites. The creamy Halwa had absolutely nothing eggy about it and one would never know it was made of eggs if they weren’t told of it.
I was later told that the Royal library contains over a thousand recipes that will shortly be chronicled in a recipe book by the princess herself, but till then I would highly recommend you to go and check this festival out at Masala Bay and I am sure you won’t be sorry.
The Royal Kitchens of Patiala festival runs at Masala Bay till the 28th of January, 2017.