ITC Grand Chola presents culinary treats from the capital, courtesy a visiting chef from Chandni Chowk
Chef Gunjan Goela is no stranger to Chennai. Her association with ITC as consultant, dates back 14 years and she has hosted food festivals at Sheraton Park, before lending her signature to the kitchen of Royal Vega, the vegetarian restaurant of ITC Grand Chola. In the city to host a 10-day festival at Madras Pavilion and Cafe Mercara Express, the chef talks to us about her forte — the vegetarian cuisine of Old Delhi.
“The four major communities of Old Delhi are the Bhanias, Muslims, Khatris and Kayasch,” says the chef, giving us a brief introduction. The rulers of the capital city influenced its cuisine while there — the Mughals being one of the noteworthy contributors, whose cuisine is loved by the people of the city. And while their cuisine bears a strong Punjabi influence today, chef Goela will be focusing on the vegetarian food of Old Delhi, that one can only find in homes today. “Vegetarian cuisine was dominant back then. Save for the Muslims and the Khatri (warrior) men, all the others were vegetarian,” she explains, adding that the community she belongs to, the Bhanias, prepare food sans onion and garlic.
The menu, the chef tells us, is divided into three parts — street food, home-style mains and sweets. And while you can expect to find tori (ridge gourd), seethafal (custard apple), potatoes and peas, do not look forward to much cottage cheese as the cuisine hardly uses any. Ingredients like khoya, desi ghee and mustard oil feature instead. The street food on offer will include a host of chaats like gol gappe, dahi paapdi and chola batturas. And from the sweet counter, expect besan ke ladoo, Delhi-style jalebis, phirni and malpua to indulge in. But be sure not to miss the Bhania specials that the chef grew up on. “The mangochi, aloo ki subzi with bedani and bhuni arbi,” are a few of her recommendations.
The festival is on till May 19. Dinner buffet at Madras Pavilion, at Rs. 1,700 plus tax. Details: 22200000