Delhi Pavilion at WelcomHotel Sheraton, New Delhi celebrates its 1st birthday with an array of our local food culture with the festival Meeras-e-Dilli. All recipes curated are before the Mughal Era, from the Slave Dynasty, Lodhi Dynasty and the Tughluq dynasty.
These are the repertoire of Persian scholar and food historian Salma Husain who has quietly dug up these culinary gems. This is her rendition of the Delhi Sultanate cuisine.
We started our culinary journey with the welcome drink, Gulaab e Shabet and a celebration drink with a toast to Salma Apa.
First up was a very simple dish Samosa, Flattened and fried with potato mash inside these are small appetizers.
Along with it came the Chicken and Aubergine Skewers.Those days Aubergines, Raw Papaya and corn all were popular because of their omnipresence. The flavours of the grilled aubergines eaten alongside the tender chicken patty were unmistakable.
Then a variation of seekh kebab with corn and lotus stem, Lotus stem is quite unpopular inthe modern household with usage only in Chinese cuisine, here the grated lotus stem mixed with grated corn was moulded together and grilled in tandoor. The masala and the sheer combination of corn and lotus stem made these delectable.
But by far the best appetizer for me was the fish, Bulgur Mahi Dolma really soft fried fish having the typical Indian flavors.
The Main course spread had over 8 specially curated dishes for this festival, Sultans Delight, Kofte Nilofari ,Perizaad, Shahdeg and Murgh Qutubia were some of the highlights.
I loved the shahdeg, Perfectly cooked mutton marinated in yogurt with sumac and pomegranate based gravy. The murg Qutubia was also a attraction,tender piece of chicken with thick and flavourful gravy served on a flour roti.
Those days’ tomatoes and pomegranate seeds were used to make gravies, even though the combination hasn’t been widely adopted the amalgamation of flavors was just spot on! This was noticed in the Badenjan Anari which had eggplant cooked in that gravy.
The Kofte Nilofari and the Perizaad were both vegetarian dishes and were relished more than the non vegetarian ones. Perizaad had cubed cottage cheese with tricolour capsicum and gravy loaded with yellow turmeric.This preparation was very unique as the flavors weren’t familiar, the spices and the secret ingredients used actually made the dish stand out! The Afghani Biryani, though very appealing to the eyes wasn’t anything special.
Kofte had rich onion tomato gravy with dense marble sized kofte made out of lotus stem. The thick gravy is classic preparation and quite heavy!
We ended our elaborate feast with some desserts, While the festival had special Indian Dessert Thali, we quite loved the dessert from the Middle East, mini kunafa was the most favored. The Yakuti, Banana Caramel tart and the Rich Chocolate tart were also very toothsome.
Delhi Pavillion is known to organize these festivals from time to time, do keep an eye out always if you want to indulge in something extraordinary!