By Rajiv Pandey
An Experience at Kangan,The Westin Mumbai.
Let me first quote from the Kangan Menu about Telangana. “Telangana, as a geographical and political entity was born on June 2, 2014 as the 29th and the youngest state in Union of India. However, as an economic, social,cultural and historical entity it has a glorious history of at least two thousand five hundred years or more. Megalithic stone structures like cairns, cists, dolmens and menhir ‘s found in several districts of Telangana show that there were human habitations in this part of the country thousands of years ago.”
Andhra Pradesh had distinct three cuisine i.e Andhra , Telangana & the famous Hyderabadi cuisine.
The region has the spiciest food amongst all other Telugu and Indian cuisines. Telangana has some unique ingredients in its cuisine, such as jonna rotte (sorghum), sajja rotte (pearl millet), Uppudi Pindi (broken rice). InTelangana a gravy or curry is called Koora and Pulusu (Sour) in based on Tamarind.”
Chef M V Naidu was very kind to spare sometime with me and taking me through the history and the evolution of the Cuisine from Telangana.I made a video of the conversation …IMG_8758
Millet happens to be the staple and various dishes are made out of it. Telangana food is hot (Spicy) with both fresh / dried red chilies and green chilies used to prepare various kind of chutneys. It is no common thing that the chutneys occupy a distinct place in the cuisine and the commoners have it with rice or for that matter ,with any thing they prepare and is an important accompaniment.
Chef Naidu advised me on the use of Tamarind, saying when used adequately it’s a cleanser for the body.
I had requested Chef to help me with all his signature preparation for the evening . And was pleasantly surprised when the menu was served. It was so yummy that I finished everything that was presented to me.
My savoir faire for the evening was as listed below:
Lentil, green chilli and onion fritters
(The famous street food from Telangana)
Green gram lentil dumpling with onions, coriander leaves
• Kothimeer royalu fry
Crisp fried prawns with coriander, chili, ginger and garlic
• Bagara Annam
Simple home style rice preparation flavored with Telangana spices
• Tomato pappu
Chef M V Naidu’s favourite – yellow lentils and fresh local tomatoes tempered with mustard, cumin and garlic
I liked all of them but for me the highlight was the Aratipandu uttappam (Banana Pancake or simply banana uthappa – made from very ripe banana. This was the first time I was having this , though I have visited Hyderabad couple of times and it used to be the Hyderabadi Biryani and Haleem which too was on the menu.
Even the Lamb chops were simply delicious and the icing in the cake was the desert “Double ka meetha” (Bread pudding of fried bread, soaked in hot milk with saffron and cardamom).
An overall good evening spent with an astounding view 0f the city. Well that’s me enjoying on the 18th floor of the Westin.