Kebabs & Kormas Food Festival at Zeera, Conrad
Kebabs and Kormas have a special place in the hearts of Indian non-vegetarian lovers. And there is no bigger name than that of the Dum Pukht ke Pehelwan – the legendary Grand Master Chef Imtiaz Qureshi when it comes to awadhi cuisine, who was awarded the Padma Shri in 2016 for his contributions to culinary art. We Puneites have a special chance to taste food churned out from his recipes at the Kebabs and Kormas Food festival at Conrad Pune from 20th April-28th April 2018, 7.00 P.M. onwards everyday at Zeera. Both Vegetarian and Non Vegeterian Menu is priced at Rs. 1800/- + Taxes. Conrad’s new Executive Chef - Pavan Chennam who joined a few months ago, was fortunate enough to train and work with Chef Imtiaz Qureshi and he was entrusted with the task to archive all his recipes, what a treasure trove that is. Chef Pavan decided to host this food festival in honor of his mentor and curated the menu with well-known dishes as well as some that have probably never been served at any restaurant.
The Food Prowl Team was invited and hosted for a food tasting by Chef Pavan Chennam, Executive Chef of Conrad Pune. Chef Pavan brings along to Conrad tremendous experience having worked with Marriott International, JW Marriott and ITC Hotels in the past, almost 15 years of solid experience working at 5 Star properties. It is no wonder then, that Conrad Pune is in the safe hands of this young and dynamic Chef who is all set to wow us with his culinary skills. Our meal started with 6 exquisite starters being served.
Murg Kasturi, chicken tikkas coated with egg, flavored black pepper and kasoori methi. The thin egg layer gave the texture a silky coating, a royal dish for sure. Murg Resha Kebab, a very unusual preparation, boiled chicken threaded painstakingly by hand, flavored with curry leaves and green chillies finished with lemon juice, coated with vermicelli and deep fried. A crunchy shell encasing tender chicken with zesty flavors. Shaami kebabs are an all-time favorite for many, and the Silbatte ki Shaami is a much better version. The meat was minced on silbatta and there was no dal added as binding agent, meat was minced 2 ways to add complexity to texture and minute onion chillies and coriander were added to give to a nice bite. Burrah Chaamp, melt in the mouth lamb chops cooked in tandoor, just perfect.Zehtouni Machi, olive flavored fish tikkas cooked in tandoor. A Muslim wedding quick fix dish, Tadafada Prawns, these looked like Prawns Koliwada but were flavored with coriander seeds that imparted it a beautiful flavor.
Done with such scrumptious starters the scrumptious mains were the ready to be served. Koh-e-Awadh led the way, a lamb shank preparation that is union of paya and kormas, a dish invented for kings, meat slow cooked in curd, cardamoms and garam masala, meat just ready to fall off the bone as cleanly as it could, perfect. Murg Pista Qorma, thick consistency of korma made with pistachios, corianders a mint so kingly but very contrasting to Koh-e-Awadh in terms of flavors, light and fresh. Murg Khushk Purdah, was again flavor wise very different a slightly tangy and sweet dryish chicken dish cooked with bell peppers and pomegranate, cooked in dum, this was another very unusual dish. Lamb Kheema was also not cooked in a regular way we were served a Hare Masale ka Kheema, not high on garam masala it had gingery flavors. Machli ka Salan was the seafood main, it was a tender fish in fenugreek and mustard gravy, fish and mustard are like siblings in awadh and eastwards, and this dish reflected that. We were served a ghee laden Kali Saunfiyana Daal, the twist here was dil leave garnish, absolutely divine thick dal that I had a bowlful. As if these many mains were not enough, we were served Kachhe Gosht ki Biryani. A very aromatic and very Awadhi biryani, it was like time travel for me. Some might feel that it lacks flavors, or it has no masala, but this is how actual Awadhi biryani is, delicate like queens. It was time for desserts, a rich and cold Gulab Ki Kheer, nice soothing right amount of sweetness followed by a more majestic affair small Gulab Jamuns baked with a very thick rabdi, Zauk-e-Shahi. The rabdi was made so thick yet smooth that it felt for a moment that it was condensed milk, but no it was pure milk simmered to that consistency, superb. As always Conrad excelled in everything that we had. If you are a North Indian food lover and haven’t ever tried or missing Chef Imtiaz Qureshi’s wonderful food, this is the closest experience you can get, all thanks to super Chef Pavan Chennam.
Kebabs and Kormas Food Festival at Zeera, Conrad Pune | Food Prowl - The Hunger Stories