India’s rich cultural history has always been present in it’s cuisines. The royal families of India always had some characteristic dishes which set it apart from one another. These recipes were mostly handed down by word of mouth through generations of the guardians of their kitchens. These lost recipes are having resurgence with a plethora of Indian Chefs innovating from their roots. Chef Arun Sundarajan at the Taj Mahal Hotel brings together three royal families at Lost Recipes of the Royal. The cuisine of the Dogras and Mewar from the North along with the food from the kitchens of the Nizam of Hyderabad and Travancore royal family are bring brought to focus at Varq, their signature Indian restaurant.
The Dogras are a dynasty of Hindu Rajputs who ruled Jammu during the 19th century. Known for their valour on the battlefield, the women folk of the Dogra dynasties used to cook some delectable dishes to mark their reunion with their battle returned warriors. Rich in Ghee and aromatic spices, the dishes do leave a mark on your palate. The Nizams meanwhile had the best of culinary delights from across the globe thanks to Hyderabad being a hotbed of admixture of cultures. Since the mid 17th century, the influx of migrants from the Arab changed the Hyderabadi food drastically. Mostly based on rice and meat preparations, there are prominent flavours of tomato, tamarind and coconut in a lot of their gravies. The Royal family of Travancore traces it’s origins to the Pandya and Chola dynasties who ruled Deccan for centuries. One of the rare royal families of India to have followed the Matrilineal inheritance of succession, they trace their bloodlines through the maternal side of the family. The royal cuisine of Mewar from Rajasthan is usually simple, rustic yet flavoursome and depends mainly on the fresh vegetables, fruits and meats of the season. A special attention is paid to use of chillies and game meat.
Chef Sundarajan’s peekaboo into the Royal menu blows us away. Starting off with a duet of Tujji Chicken and Lahabi Kebab, the succulent kebab from the Dogra family is now a part of the Kashmiri Wazwaan too. Drenched in it’s sauce and filled with delectable filling of nuts inside, the Lahabi Kebab is a perfect start to the royal meal. Sada Aash, the Lamb soup from the royal kitchens of the Nizams underlines the slow nature of cooking that they used to employ. The slow cooked soup slowly leeches away flavours from the meat with an hourly addition of spices to the broth. The result is a creamy, delectable soup with a plethora of flavours.
The mains impress with a Khichdi Rafat. A khichdi which incorporates flavours of Chicken, Lamb and Duck. We combine it with a Beaujolais for the perfect flavours. End of with a royal dessert, aptly named Sweet Tooth of the Maharaja. With a Garlic Kheer and Broken Wheat Porridge, the innovation on the simple Doodhiya Kheer makes it truly impressive. The Lost Kitchens of the Royals is available till 30th June at Varq, Taj Mahal Hotel, Mansingh Road. Check it out for the royal experience and let us know.