Awadhi regality

Kebabs & Kurries, a specialty restaurant at ITC Kakatiya hosts ‘Daawat-e-Shareef,’ an adventure into the tastes of Awadh curated by master chef Mohammed Shareef.
Kebabs & Kurries master chef Mohammed Shareef. (Photo | Express)
Kebabs & Kurries master chef Mohammed Shareef. (Photo | Express)

HYDERABAD: A malgaming northern opulence with southern grandeur, ITC Kakatiya’s Kebabs & Kurries master chef Mohammed Shareef left no stone unturned or should we say, no grain un-ground in his mortar, to present the most regal Awadhi culinary experience. 

As the chef informed us about his career in some of the best kitchens in India, we knew he was a culinary artist who inherited his passion for cooking from his ancestors. He honed his skills under renowned Indian master chefs and has a remarkable career spanning several prestigious hotels, including the ITC group. He is known for his masterful contribution to Dum Pukht at ITC Grand Maratha Sheraton Mumbai. 

Hence, the night of ‘Daawat-e-Shareef,’ was dedicated to him. An array of dishes were presented to us and the distinctive aspect of this assortment was that most of the spices used were all hand-pounded. The royal treat began with Nadru Ki Shammi (minced lotus stem) and Hari Mirch Mattar Ke Kebab (minced green peas and spiced adroitly with green chillies) in vegetarian options — all infused with herbs and hand-pounded spices. For non-vegetarians, there was Lehsooni Jheenga, which were prawns marinated in yoghurt blended with chillies and spices, redolent of garlic and cooked in tandoor. Murgh Kalmi Kebab, which was chicken drumstick marinated in a mixture of yoghurt, malt vinegar, ginger-garlic paste and skewered and cooked in tandoor and then our very own Lakhnavi Galouti Kebabs and Gilafi Seek Kebabs. Delicate and mouth-watering, these starters had us full already, especially when served with some of the best wines. 

For the main course, we headed to  Khumbh Ka Keema — minced wild mushrooms and spring onions, cooked with tomatoes, garam masala and kasoori methi — ingredients defining north Indian cooking. Doodhiye Kofte caught us off guard, as we had not imagined such a creamy and velvety touch to bottle guards, served as dumplings in white yoghurt gravy. Then there was Harra Moong Dal Mughlai, green lentil simmered slowly over charcoal for a homely rustic flavour, tempering of garlic bringing a gentle wintery feel to it. 

Among the non-vegetarian options, the star was Dum Ki Raan — a whole leg of spring lamb, marinated in a mixture of malt vinegar and black cumin — first braised in marinate, skewered and cooked in tandoor, before being encased in a dough and cooked in oven. Accompanying the raan, there was Mahi Qaliyan, fish marinated with turmeric, yellow chilli, ginger-garlic and simmered in rich fish stock and soured with dry mango. Then came Murgh Rizala and Bhuna Ghosht, perfectly cooked chicken and lamb, adding to the poshness of the cuisine. 

Cooked on dum with fragrant Basmati rice, there was Biryani — Gucchi Anar, comprising morels of cheese and pomegranate and Serai Ghosht, with lamb simmered with mace and spices. The main course was served with assorted breads.

In the end, with little room to spare in our stomachs, we savoured delectable desserts: Zauk-e-Shahi, a delightful treat of miniature gulab jamuns in creamy milk, and Gulab ki Kheer, a luscious concoction featuring rose petals gently steamed in sweetened honey-flavoured milk.

The entire experience made us feel like royalty, with every item on the menu meticulously designed and expertly executed, showcasing years of evident masterful craftsmanship. The fine dining experience will be available till October 15, a-la-carte, for lunch and dinner.

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