This is in continuation to our royal meal experience at The Taj Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad. In case you missed reading about what we had for appetizers, click here.
Main course on order was:
Subz Gulezar Biriyani: A Hyderabadi Biriyani made the Kacchi way: Mélange of raw vegetables marinated and cooked in a sealed brass pot. Chef Nair tells me that this is not a layered biriyani. The marinated raw vegetables are added to the brass pot and rice which is near-cooked is added on top with fried onions. For those of you who think eating a vegetarian biriyani is a sin, eating this will make you realize how mistaken you are.
Dakhani Saag: A velvety gorgeous green mash made with Spinach and dill leaves, with sautéed whole red chillies, garlic and cumin heightening the flavours. What stood out was the subtle hint of dill which was handled very beautifully while putting this dish together. If you’re like Popeye you must dig into this with Khasta Roti.
Gulzar E Baingan: Chef. Nair tells us how eggplant is used in various ways in the Middle East and how he feels it can be showcased in three beautiful ways, that bring out the essence of the humble aubergine. The three avatars he gave it are:
- Baingan bartha: This wins hands down. Oven roasted aubergines, mashed and sautéed with onions, tomatoes and a hint of ginger took us back to Punjab. It is amazing how the taste on your tongue can help you instantly reconnect with memories and experiences. The spice levels are perfect and the dish reveals the deep understanding of how to cook aubergines that the Chef has brought.
- Baingan salaan: The Hyderabadi Biriyani is incomplete without the salaan made with Mirchi or green chillies. The aubergines are cooked in a peanut gravy with a hint of curry leaves, and this yet again, captures the true flavours of Hyderabad.
- Gutti vankayaa: I was a little intrigued when I tasted this and when Chef. Nair told me this is a spin off on the ubiquitous Gutti Vankaaya a trademark Andhra specialty. Normally made as a gravy with sesame, peanuts and a hint of tamarind, this was a drier version. The aubergines are stuffed with a podi or powder made in house with sesame and peanut powder and sautéed gently.
We were served an assortment of Raithas that were
Boondhi Raitha: Boondhis made out of ground channa gram and fried, later mixed with yoghurt and roasted cumin powder.
Dahi Ki Chutney: Mint, coriander and green chillies pureed and mixed with yoghurt and finished off with a hint of black salt (Kaala Namak) and
Burhani Raitha: If you love garlic, you got your money’s worth in this raitha. A powder made with burnt garlic is mixed with yoghurt, cumin powder and topped with burnt garlic pieces. Unlike garlic used raw this is not overpowering and is a perfect accompaniment to the delectable biriyani.
Review on desserts to be continued: