In a country of 29 states it's unfair how food from certain regions is not promoted as much as their other counterparts and hence left unexplored unless one makes the trip to sometimes difficult terrain.One of these rarely explored cuisines is from the land of gods Uttarakhand and for the benefit of millenium city dwellers, Le Meridien Gurgaon is hosting a Uttarakhand food festival with Chef Manoj Rawat at the helm of affairs.In his zealous quest to offer guests the real deal, Chef Manoj went the extra mile and procured ingredients from his native land which include ingredients like buckwheat, wild mustard and bhaang or hemp! The cuisine is predominantly vegetarian and uses lentils extensively, the meaty part of the cuisine is heavily based on lamb.Here's a detailed review of our meal last afternoon
Dal pakoda-Deep fried balls of ground lentils served with coriander chutney. Daud- It's a cross between kachori and puri and is stuffed with lentils. The chilly garlic dry chutney makes a very a very appetizing combination with Daud.
Hemp Chutney -Yes Bhang is what I'm talking bout and this infamous ingredient actually has an endearing earthy quality , slightly nutty flavor and is super rich in proteins.It does not cause intoxication and is actually a wonderful ingredient to use with its nutritional and flavour value.
Phaanu- mixed lentils slow cooked for hours in a traditional metal vessel indigenous to Uttarakhand ,results in a piquant delicacy which can perk up the lousiest of moods.
Breads- Buckwheat is sued to make the rustic Mandua roti . Mungeri roti is more like a chila but made with ground corn kernels and is crumbly in texture.
Desserts- Most of the desserts in Uttarakhand are made with khoya and sweetened with jaggery. The state is famous for bal mithai and interestingly this was called "ball mithai" during colonial rule, ball here pertaining to sugar that coats this dessert. Singodi is a rich creamy dessert made with khoya, flavoured with cardamom and jaggery and served in cones made of molu leaves.
Mithu bhath as the name suggests is sweetened rice but the rice is different in texture and taste. This is flavoured with coconut and jaggery and faintly tastes like payasam .
"Soul Satisfying food" is how I would summarize my experience. The festival is on till the 30th of this month.
Where- Latest Recipe, Le Meridien Gurgaon