BANGALORE : According to Chef Ramandeep Kukreja, head of the culinary team at The Ritz Carlton's Riwaz,"Indian cuisine represents a wide variety of regional cuisines and their diversity could vary depending on factors such as climatic conditions, occupation, religious beliefs of people, culture and tradition. Royal Indian cuisine is characterized by elaborate cooking techniques and use of the finest natural ingredients and spices."
One of Chef Kukreja's favourite culinary journeys was an exploration of the royal traditions of cooking in Kashmir, Jaipur, Agra and Patiala.The recipes were sourced from havelis and palaces and included a glimpse into royal repasts.
He adds,"Maharaja Gulab Singh, of the Dogra dynasty was the founder and first maharaja of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. The Dogra dynasty was known for their luxurious banquets and had an influence on the Kashmiri cuisine which is known for its rich, aromatic flavours and use of spices like cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, saffron, fennel, asafoetida, turmeric and chillies. The cooking style has been strongly influenced by the royalty, who were predominantly meat eaters. Yakhani Shorba, Rogan Josh, Gushtaba, Dum Aloo, Shami Kabab and other such delicacies have pleased the palates of the kings and are symbolic of the region."
About Jaipur and Agra, he says,"The maharajas of Jaipur were passionate about hunting and their prey which was then cooked and eaten. There was always great competition between the royal cooks to please the kings and each meal was an extravagant treat. Rajasthani princely feasts flaunt meat dishes like Lal Maas and Safed Maas and vegetarian delicacies that are prepared in pure ghee like Dal Baati Churma, Bajre ki Roti and Gatte Ka Pulao among others."
The kings of Agra were known for spending fortunes on ceremonial spreads. Under the guidance of the Royal hakim (physician), the expert cooks of the imperial kitchen would prepare the menu. "The Mughals transformed Indian cuisine by intermingling Middle Eastern cuisine with Indian spices and ingredients," says Kukreja.
In Patiala, the dish from the royal family that went global was Shikampur Pulao, where the breast of a chicken was filled with dry fruits. Murgh Dum Biryani, Achaari Tandoori Subj, Tangdi Kebab, Missi Roti and Sarson Da Saag were some of the other royal regional specialties that made this cuisine popular. The recipes from the palaces of Kashmir, Jaipur and Agra have already been showcased and Patiala's food stories will be showcased from October 28 to November 2 at Riwaz.