Sharmi on the Trot

Travelling, Exploring, Eating…

Archive for the tag “roast”

Review: Food Festival at Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav, IGNCA

Anyone hungry?

Anyone hungry? Just look at the variety!

As you enter the gates of Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, the colourful posters immediately catch your eye. People mill about as traditional music can be heard over the PA system. There are men dressed in traditional outfits beating drums which everyone gathers to hear while men in stilts entertain the young ones. The smell of delicious food wafts through to tickle the nose. Above all, it’s a festive atmosphere and a perfect way to spend a winter afternoon in Delhi.

Indian thalis are an absolute delight!

Indian thalis are an absolute delight!

The second edition of the Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahostav is being held at IGNCA near India Gate. Organized by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, it’s a 10-day extravaganza to celebrate culture, food, heritage and the diversity of the country. “Can anyone walk in?” asked my auto driver as I was paying him. I nodded in affirmation.

Dumplings from the North East

Dumplings from the North East

What drew me to the celebrations was obviously the food! With food stalls from all across the country, the festival stayed true to showcasing diversity. From Kashmir to Tamil Nadu, Nagaland to Rajasthan there was plenty on offer for every taste bud at reasonable prices.

Melt-in-your-mouth Galauti

Melt-in-your-mouth Galauti

I began at the Lucknow food stall where melt-in-your-mouth Galauti Kebabs were on offer. One could also taste biryani, parathas and other kebabs from the Awadhi kitchens. From Lucknow, I moved east towards the Bihar stall to gorge on Litti Chokha. It’s caught up in Delhi with many Bihar-themed restaurants springing up but the wheat and sattu (gram flour) delicacy is best eaten on paper plates from roadside vendors.

Litti Choka from Bihar, a delicacy from the state

Litti Chokha from Bihar, a delicacy from the state

The stalls from Assam caught all eyes with skewers of meat and seafood on display. The roast pork and chicken tossed with onions, cilantro, lime juice and spices was absolutely delicious. “We’ve come from Dibrugarh,” said the smiling lady behind the counter as she chopped up the pieces of meat.

Meat and more meat!

Meat and more meat!

Ready to be devoured!

Ready to be devoured!

From the east, it was time to move towards the west. I’m an avid fan of street food and the kind one gets in Maharashtra has me drooling every time I see them on a menu. I just had to taste the Sabudana khichdi simply because I hadn’t had it in two years! The first bite did justice to the long wait. The crushed peanuts, lime juice, spices complimented the sago (sabudana) perfectly, each bite leaving me wanting more.

Dhabeli from the streets of Bombay

Dhabeli from the streets of Bombay

One of my favourite kind of breakfasts!

One of my favourite kind of breakfasts – Sabudana Khichdi

The Hyderabad stall next door was racking up fast business with people ordering plates and plates of biryani and kebabs. With a tummy ready to burst I couldn’t take another bite but my kind neighbours looked at my forlorn face and asked, “Do you want a picture of this?” I nodded and quickly photographed my favourite kind of biryani before they could rescind the offer!
It had been a delicious afternoon, my favourite kind. I love food and when I get a chance to taste diverse cuisines from my own country, it leaves a big smile on my face. India is so vast and beautiful, each region with its own charm that it will take one a full lifetime to taste everything our country offers. But until that happens, head to IGNCA to get a taste!

Oh Biryani my love!

Oh Biryani my love!

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The Christmas hangover

I know its a bit late but I think I’m still suffering from a Christmas hangover. Every year I make it a point to go home (Calcutta) because Delhi really doesn’t feel Christmasy during the 25th. That’s a little weird considering the temperature in the Capital dropped to 2 degrees in the last week of 2013!

So this year as usual, I packed my little bag and went home to celebrate the joys of Christmas at home. We don’t really celebrate the festival (do go for the candlelight midnight mass at St Paul’s Cathedral on Christmas eve if you find yourself in Calcutta) but it’s the food which puts a big smile on my face.

Fish mousse!

Fish mousse!

Let me elaborate. Every Christmas since the past eight years, I’ve been invited for lunch at my friend Brett’s house. Every year when I go back, the house feels so warm and inviting, decorated beautifully with ornaments, candles and Christmas knick knacks. His mum, Paula, is a fantastic cook and singlehandly feeds over 20 people on 25th cooking more than ten dishes, desserts AND starters. There’s something for everyone. Start with chicken liver pate, cold cuts, Christmas cake and of course drinks of your choice. My mouth starts salivating just looking at the lunch table covered with Christmas specialities that have a Goan influence. You have a pork and chicken roast alongside sorpotel and prawn malai curry. Not to mention pork vindaloo and mutton curry (that’s a Bengali favourite) with rice. So, as you can imagine, my jeans have just gotten a bit tighter!

Bring on the pork roast!

Bring on the pork roast!

The Christmas lunch!

The Christmas lunch!

Paula has magic in her hands when making desserts. She started The Sweetiere ( http://www.facebook.com/TheSweetiere ) and has been flooded with requests for classes on hand made chocolates. They are so divine I wish I could have carried some back to Delhi!

Paula Fernandes

Paula Fernandes

Cake and cookies anyone?

Cake and cookies anyone?

I had a fantastic Christmas surrounded by family, friends and gorgeous food. Hope you’ll had a fabulous Christmas too and wishes for a wonderful year ahead 🙂

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