‘Flavours from the Clay Pot’ at Hilton Garden Inn, Trivandrum

The term ‘Tandoor’ refers to a variety of ovens but the most commonly known used is a cylindrical oven made of clay meant for cooking and baking. According to Dehkhoda Persian Dictionary, the word Tandoor originates from Akkadian ‘Tinûru’ where the ‘tin’ means mud and ‘nuro/nura’ means fire. So it was very apt when the Hilton Garden Inn, Trivandrum decided to name their tandoori food festival as ‘Flavours from the Clay Pot’, The food promotion at the Garden Grille restaurant as part of their dinner buffet aims to provide the foodies of the capital city a peek into the prominent dishes cooked in the Tandoor, the traditional clay oven.

I started off with an assorted mix of kebabs – Tangdi Kabab (Chicken legs), Hariyali Machhi (Fish) and Lal Mirch Paneer Tikka accompanied with some fresh pudhina (mint) chutney. Though kababs originated in Persia, India has its own share of varieties and probably, the Tangdi kabab is the most popular among them. The well marinated and well cooked Tangdi Kabab was juicy and crunchy. It was a delicious appetiser. The Hariyali Machli gets its colour and name from the paste which is used to marinate the fish which is made of green chilli, fresh mint, curry leaves and coriander leaves; and this gives it a wonderful flavour. Lal Mirch Paneer was soft and spicy but a bit too hot for my taste. Guess the Lal Mirch (red chilli) was indeed showing its true colours 🙂

It was a rare opportunity for me to taste speciality flatbreads like Sheermal and Bakarkhani. The Sheermal or Shirmal, is a traditional flatbread with Persian influences and had a strong flavour of saffron and ghee. It was soft with a tinge of sweetness. Sheermal is one of the several rare Lucknowi and Hyderabadi delicacies in India. Bakarkhani, also known as baqerkhani or bakar khani roti, is a thick, spiced flat-bread with its origins in Bangladesh. With a hard crust, Bakarkhani is rich with cardamom, nuts, pista, badam, etc. I had the breads with Chicken Tikka Lababdar, a mughlai delicacy.

During the lunch, Chef Mineesh Mathew gave me the details of the menu. “We are expanding our daily buffet with a wide variety of speciality tandoori breads and different tandoori recipes. There will be a selection of three non-vegetarian and three vegetarian kebabs. Chicken, Fish, Mutton and Beef would make up the non-vegetarian fare. Apart from the regular Tandoori Roti, Naan, Laccha Paratha and Kulcha, there will be speciality flatbreads like Sheermal and Bakarkhani. Stuffed naans like Kheema naans and veg-cheese naans will also be on offer. There will be tandoori based curries to go with the main course. Tandoori based vegetarian dishes are also given equal importance in our menu which will change daily. There will be one Paneer dish and one veg dish. The guests will have too many choices.”

The dinner only buffet is priced at Rs. 1,199 + Taxes and will conclude on April 30, 2017.

Anil Philip

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