You may have never had double ka meetha, any type of barfi or even the gulkand-laden paan sans chaandi ka warq. Warq is present on everything that is synonymous with being Hyderabadi, and now for the pseudo nawabs of the city has come up with a layer of gold.
Kitchen off Kuchipudi, by Venkat Kuchipudi now serves chicken pulao with gold warq.
From the camp-side of nomadic Persian tribes to the silverware of Caliphs, and from there to entire Muslim world and the rest of the world – pulao, pilaf, pilav, paella or risotto is a fairly universal food. The elegant rice dish may have undergone transformation over the centuries, the essence of the flavoured, fragrant rice with each grain separate continues to make its appearance felt on the dining table on special occasions.
Venkat’s bangaru kodi pulao has a bit more oomph to this sophisticated dish.
“I have always loved to experiment with food. Living in the city of Nawabs who ate from gold and silverware and had precious metals in their food too, I thought we should revive the concept,” says Venkat.
The restaurateur’s search took him to Old City, where he found a person specialising in making gold sheets.
Borrowing the idea from paans which have silver warq (thin silver foil) on them, Kitchen of Kuchipudi’s Bangaru Kodi Pulao has golden foil placed atop the flavoured, lightly coloured rice. Unlike restaurants that use chilli to add colour to rice or keep it white, the lightly coloured rice of Venkat’s gold pulao comes from sautéing the rice in ghee before adding other ingredients. “We don’t use red chillies at all. Instead we use green chillies, lots of spices and cashews,” explains Venkat who also doubles up as chef at times and has in the last year and a half, created 20-30 new dishes.
Served in silver plate, with three gold leaves, Venkat says it requires a lot of care while handling them.
“Each leaf costs Rs 120 and we use three of them on each plate. Further, the process of making the gold sheets is also very labour and time intensive. Even when they are transported, they are placed between butter paper for safety,” he explains.
If the prospect of eating gold in your meal has excited you, wait till you hear the best part – a plate of Bangaru Kodi Pulao with an accompaniment of majjiga charu is for Rs 599 and Venkat assures that the quantity is enough to fill two tummies. And what about the quality of the gold sheet used? “We source it from a reliable vendor. Anyone who is doubtful about the quality can get it tested. It will be pure 18 carat gold,” he says with conviction.