AS WE get a sneak peek into the menu at the second edition of the Wazwan Food Festival starting at the Hyatt Regency today, one thing is clear — the Kashmiris know how to dine in style. The Wazwan, a festive spread, traditionally comprises 36 different dishes with focus on meats, especially the lamb, but vegetarians can look forward to Kashmiri dum aloo (baby potatoes cooked in spicy and tangy gravy), nadroo yakhni (lotus stem in yogurt gravy with mint and cumin flavours) and chok wangun (brinjal bathed in spicy and sour gravy).
Expect authentic flavours, since Chef Bashir Ahmad is coming all the way from Kashmir, armed with the real pran (special Kashmiri onions), saffron and maval (colouring agent). Teaming up with Vikram Ganpule, executive chef at Hyatt Regency, he will be showcasing last edition’s hits like the lamb gushtaba (meatballs in a yogurt-based gravy) and haakh saag (spinach cooked in mustard oil with cloves and red chillies). These will share space with new additions like chicken rista (chickenballs in red spicy curry with saffron) and chicken gushtaba. Chef Bashir is most excited about one of his favourites, tabak maaz (fried lamb ribs) but warns that it is high on fat. Now is not the time to dwell on calories, we think. Desserts include saffron phirni and apricot halwa among others. With Nawabzada Mohammed Asif Ali — Dewan to the Prince of Arcot — as their goodwill ambassador, we learn from Madhav Sehgal, the general manager of Hyatt Regency, that a dish from the royal kitchen is a possibility. The Dewan further reveals plans to conduct an international food festival at his palace this September.
From today to May 29. Rs 1,550 plus taxes. Details: 61001234
— Saloni Sinha