WoT's Hot

The Fabulous Awadhi Food Festival Comes to JW Marriott

Tehnaz Dastoor

The JW Marriott is currently hosting a terrific Awadhi Food festival which will continue until the 22nd of July, 2018.

What is so special about this festival is that JW Marriott has managed to bring to Kolkata Chef M. Rehman, whose association with the Nawabs of Awadh has been for several generations. Chef Rehman is the Founder of Afreen Foods and has established numerous authentic Awadhi food restaurants in Lucknow, Dubai and Riyadh and has plans of expanding to Kolkata, Bhopal and Mumbai. His repertoire includes preparing lavish party meals for Ratan Tata, Former President Smt. Pratibha Patil, Salman Khan, Shilpa Shetty, Sachin Tendulkar, Irfan Pathan, and the current Punjab CM, Captain Amarinder Singh among others.

Our meal began with a customary drink served with an array of kebabs prepared with tenderized lamb meat (devoid of membrane or fat), cooked with ginger, garlic, raw papaya and the Chef’s special Potli ka Masala, with a dash of ittar.

Photo credits: Zafrani Nihari                                                                       Photo credits: Shahi Tukra

This was followed by the Awadhi Mutton Palao (yes it’s palao and not biriyani), it’s light, flavorful and when picked up with fork, each grain is separate. It’s prepared in milk and lightly laced with saffron and cardamom. There was also a vegetarian paneer pulao cooked to perfection!

The next course comprised of Fish Rezzala, my personal favorite, prepared with a Cream and Almond Gravy, marinated with yogurt and sandalwood powder and the special Lucknowi Potli (an amalgam of several spices). The fish just melted in your mouth and a light aftertaste of the gravy permeated your senses. The sandalwood powder was used overnight (by the Nawabi kitchens) to marinate the fish so as to eradicate its ‘strong fishy taste.’

We were then served the Lagan ka Murgh with its cashew nut gravy and sunflower seeds with a dash of fenugreek, which was a nice touch. The best vegetarian dish (and we were served several tasty ones) was the Nawabi Bharta. However, unlike the regular Punjabi Bharta this was a tangy and spicy concoction and a delight for all those that tasted it.

The Nihari, accompanied the meal, and was prepared with lamb shanks, turmeric and onions.

Then came the pièce de résistance - the beetroot halwa (with smoked tomato gravy and almond puree) and the shahi korma (with vermicelli, milk and cashews)!

When Chef Rehman stated that Awadhi cuisine is “super refined, aromatic and tenderized” I can attest to all of the above.

I would highly recommend you visit the JW Marriott and enjoy their hospitality and the on-going Awadhi Food Festival which will end on the 22nd of this month.