Monday 3 February 2014

Kashmiri Food Festival At Seasonal Tastes, The Westin Gurgaon.

The Westin Gurgaon is celebrating The Kashmiri food festival at its multi cuisine all-day dining restaurant Seasonal tastes and I was really excited when I got an invite to be part of the tasting table on Saturday, 1st February, on the first day of the start of the festival. 
My love affair with Kashmiri food began almost 33 years back as a child, when dad was posted in Khunmoh, a small army establishments about 25 kilometers away from Srinagar. A picturesque village situated in a valley, surrounded by scores of fruit orchards, walnut and almond trees, fields with unending rows of saffron flowers (imagine we had saffron growing in our own garden there) and gurgling brooks, zig-zagging through the fields, it was a beautifully romantic place filled with scenic beauty that one only dreams of or sees in the movies. 
Till date, it remains etched in my memories as truly a Paradise on Earth - a place that I would definitely like to revisit sometime again in my lifetime. In those times, the locals too were quite friendly and I remember a few of my dad's friends, indulged us many a times by sending over delicacies like Gustaba(hand-pounded meatballs in a delicious yogurt based gravy), Rishtas(meat balls in red gravy) and Rogan Josh, which till date remains on top of my list for the choice of good food. Luckily for me, my husband too shares the same taste in food as me. Here too, in Delhi we are always on the lookout for restaurants serving good Kashmiri food. 
An invite from The Westin Gurgaon to be a part of their ongoing "Kashmiri Gourmet Festival", had me really looking forward to savor some authentic Kashmiri Cuisine.
We started the evening off with a serving of Tabak Maaz(fried lamb ribs) served with Akhrot ki chutney, Kashmiri Kokar Seekh(chicken mince with black pepper,black cumin and whole spices), Nadroo Churma (lotus stem patties) and Kashmiri Mirch ka Paneer Tikka(cottage cheese marinated in yogurt and kashmiri chillies). The Kashmiri Kokar Seekh were superb-moist and full of flavor. I also liked both the Kashmiri Mirch ka Paneer Tikka and Nadroo Churma. The lotus stem kebab tasted quite like meat kebabs and Kashmiri paneer tikka was soft with just the right amount of spices to help you really enjoy it. The Tabak Maaz, though was crispy on the outside and soft inside I found it had a lot of excess oil floating on top. The dish could have tasted better if the oil had been drained off.
The Main course had a bouquet of dishes offering an array of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes starting from Laabi Kebab, Rogan josh, Kokar dhaniya Korma, Fish khada masala, Tamatar paneer, Nadroo yakhani, Haaq Saag and Kashmiri pulao to name a few. Kashmiri cuisine is known for the use of spices like cardamom, aniseed(saunf), cinnamon, dry ginger, saffron etc which helps bring out the aroma and flavor in the dishes. This was something which I found underplayed in most dishes served that day and can definitely be worked upon to bring out the flavor in the dishes.
Amongst all the dishes, I found both the Laabi kebab and Haaq saag to be quite good. 

The desserts were a classic specialty like Kashmiri halwa, Phirni and Meetha Pulao

If you haven't had a taste of Kashmir yet, do try out the Kashmiri Food Festival at Seasonal tastes, The Westin Gurgaon.

A big thanks to Executive Chef Deepak Bhatia, Sukhdeep, Gunjan and The Westin, Gurgaon for your warm hospitality.

The details are:
Where: Seasonal Tastes, The Westin Gurgaon, New Delhi
When: 1st February to 9th February, 2014
Timings: 7.00 pm to 11.30 pm
Contact: 91.124.497.7831 or email
Price: INR 2000/- plus taxes
Kashmiri Mirch ka Paneer Tikka

Nadroo churma
Kashmiri kokar kebab
Tabak Maaz
Laabi kebab
Haaq Saag
Kokar Dhaniya korma
Fish Khada Masala
Nadroo Yakhani