Sindhi Cuisine experience at Sonargaon, Taj Bengal, KolkataMonday, September 07, 2015
To be honest, I had a very little knowledge, better say almost no knowledge about Sindhi Cuisine rather than few recipe names(thanks to the blogging world I'm part of) until we, team of Kolkata Food Bloggers were invited By Taj Bengal, Kolkata who are hosting Sindhi Food Festival(from 4th September till 13th Spetember,'15) with Guest Chef Haresh Keswani who has flown here from Madhya Pradesh to give the people of Kolkata the authentic taste of Sindhi Cuisine.
Inside Decor of Sonargaon, Taj Bengal
The Sindhi festival is taking place is in Sonargaon restaurant area of Taj Bengal. Firstly, I was mesmerized with the inside decor of the place which replicates a typical rural house with mud walls, stone floor and old style lanterns(hurricane in Bengali) on the wall as light fixtures and lots of antique arteffects here and there, just the right atmosphere to taste an unknown Indian cuisine. Tables were set with silver cutleries in a very royal manner and immediately we were served a distinctive Buttermilk drink named Matho. Just as we took few sips, we were served a huge Silver thali with 14 varieties of Veg and Non-veg preperations, starting from appetizer till dessert. Seeing so many varieties of attractive looking food on our thali, we requested Chef Haresh Keswani to join us and give us a brief intro on Sindhi cuisine and the food on the thali. He patiently answered all our queries while we started tasting those delicious food on the thali.
As Chef Haresh keswani briefs, Sindhi cuisine refers to the native cuisine of the Sindhi people from Sindh, now in Pakistan. Post partition in 1947, hindu sindhis who have migrated to India, now keeping the original food culture here while being influenced by their neighbouring Indian cuisines like Punjabi and Gujrati at the same time, has become one of the unique cuisine of India. The beauty of Sindhi food lies in simplicity. It is a wonderful amalgation of delish sweets, mildly spiced veg delicacies, tangy curries, varieties of flatbreads, perfectly spiced chicken and lamb delicacies and not to forget sindhi papad and pickles without which any Sindhi meal won't be complete. Chef told us that a daily Sindhi meal mostly consists of veg dishes rather than non-veg dishes and one can cook a Sindhi meal with just 4 spices i.e., Turmeric, Coriander, Garam masala and Amchoor(dry mango) Powder.
The thali contains some of the Veg and Non-veg delicacies of the festival menu
The chef presented the most favorite dishes of Sindhi people distributed into three categories to cater everyone's tastebud - a Veg thali, a Non-veg. thali and a Sea-food thali on this festival. While all the thalis include the Crispy, crunchy vegetable Fritters(Sanna Pakora), Sindhi Kadi, which is tastewise very similar to South Indian Rasam with the tempering of curry leaves still has distinctive Sindhi taste, a perfectly spiced mixed dal(Tri Dali dal) and a sweet-sour Tomato relish(Tamatan ji Chutney). The Veg thali includes some more vegetarian delicacies like Sindhi Sai bhaji(Spinach and chana dal preperation), Aloo wadi matar and the famous Suran ka Kofta(Yum dumplings in curry) and many more. Non-veg thali similarly includes a chicken, a lamb and a fish delicacy along with above mentioned dishes. Similarly, sea-food thali includes two types of fish and Prawn specialities. All the thalis will also accompany a rice speciality, Bhuga Chawaran, where rice cooked with caramelised onions, garam masala and chilli powder with diced vegetables is just the right to accompany all the side dishes. and how can I forget, the small, Sindhi Masala parathas, Koki Masale wari, which was just extraordinarily tasty. All the dishes I tasted was so perfectly balanced with minimal uses of oil and spices that it will left you asking for more and more. Lastly, the three desserts/sweet dishes on teh thali were so lightly sweetened and all of them were unique in its taste. Narijel Ji Mithai, a burfi made with coconut was very similar to Bengali sweet Narkel Totki and a Broken wheat(dalia) Halwa, Baata Jo Seero, made in pure Ghee with lots of nuts was such an unique dessert for me and for those who have more sweet tooth, there is a perfect Moong Dal Halwa to mesmerize your tastebud.
The festival is on till 13th Spetember,'15 for both lunch and dinner. The food is available in only set thalis. Veg thali costs Rs.1700 + tax., Non-veg thali costs Rs. 2100 + tax and Sea-food thali costs Rs. 2400+tax. The Lunch time is from 12.30-2.45 PM and dinner time is from 7.30-11.30 PM.
Me and my friend representing Kolkata Food Bloggers with Chef Haresh Keswani
Disclaimer : The opinion and experience shared here are solely my own and have not been influenced monetarily or otherwise.