If Kitchen archaeology were a profession, I would have probably taken it up , last night. Unearthing the recipes , the techniques , the tools, the ingredients that are lost in time. Unraveling the hidden culinary treasures of the bygone era. Bringing them back to life, one by one.
Imagine the challenge of creating ( or recreating) something that you ( or anyone you for that matter) has never seen, tried or tasted before. Imagine the excitement of having successfully revived a lost piece of culinary puzzle ( and yet be retrained about that because there is no measure of that success. No benchmark to tally it against)
Imagine the joy of doing that…pretty much everyday.
Osama Jalali ( along with his mother Nazish Jalali) do exactly that. Prolific Food Historian, Food Journalist and Chef Extraordinaire Osama Jalali, is one of the few people in our country who is extensively working on towards reviving lost recipes of India. He has taken up baton for bringing them back into the present. He, with his mother, have become champions of such lost genre of culinary experiences.
One of his collaborations is with The Oberoi, Bangalore where they are showcasing some of the culinary treasures from the bygone era, straight out of the Mughal Kitchens.
The Mughals beautifully synergized elements from their Mother land with the indigenous aspects of India. This same marriage happened in their food as well. Since they were great patrons of art, finer aspects of living and retold definitions of luxury and opulence, the same sense of indulgence and generosity were seen in their food and their feasts.
For Oberoi Bangalore , they have created a menu that gives a glimpse of some of the cherished dishes which once found pride of place in the Mughal kitchens.
This menu has tapped Khansamas who had retained these recipes for generations tapped to. Locals from Old Delhi, Rampur and Lucknow have also been consulted to gain insight into these dishes which had found a place in local markets and homes including food historians such as Salma Hussain who has extensively researched on Mughal cuisine and have written books on the era too.
The show casing menu
Murgh pateeli kebab : Chicken pockets filled with raisins, pistachios, apricots, mince, pepper and saffron cooked in a “taambe ki pateeli” or a deep vessel usually of copper. This kebab is from the table of Bahadur Sha Zafar, the last Mughal Emperor.
Yakhni kebab : Lamb cooked in Yakhn or broth flavoured with cloves. The meat is pulled apart and pounded on a “silbatta” with saffron and caramelised onions. These are combined into patties and pan fried.
Kebab e burghul : Broken wheat, pepper, coriander and lentil kebab served with a spicy mint chutney. This is a vegetarian version of the original as Aurangzeb was vegetarian towards the end of his reign. The khansamas employed were not Indians as there were revolts all over the kingdom during his reign.
Mewa shahi kebab : Babur loved dried fruits and this rich kebab of cheese, khoya, yoghurt, spices and dried fruits is an ode to the Emperor.
Piston ka qeema : Lamb mince cooked with Afghani pistachios and spices. A creation from the era of Bahadur Shah Zafar who was captive at The Red Fort.
Murgh zameen doz : Chicken marinated with almonds, yoghurt and spices, wrapped in dough,cooked in a earthen pot under the earth, Zamin Doz. Influences of this style of cooking may be traced to Akbar’s alliances with the Rajputs.
Amba qaliya : Braised lamb with ‘kairi’, raw mangoes, onions, ginger, coriander, dry fruits and saffron. The fondness of the rulers with mangoes at varying stages of ripening is evident. This recipe is from the tables of Jahangir.
Mutanjan Pulao: Layered rice and chicken pulao with cloves, orange, cardamom, dates and figs. The unique taste of spices, meat and sugar is interesting. Bahadur Shah Zafar was fond of creating new recipes; however, he hardly ate them and enjoyed feeding his guests.
Murgh Mussalam: (whole chicken) This is a rich dish in which a whole chicken is marinated, stuffed with eggs, prepared with spices like saffron, cinnamon, cloves, poppy seeds, cardamom and green chilli, and decorated with almonds. It is considered a gourmet dish in the book of Moghul cuisine Dastarkhwan-e-Awadh, where it is described as lending a certain majesty to the dastarkhwan (tablecloth upon which the dishes of a meal are places).
Arbi ka saalan : Fried spiced colocasia in a gravy of fried onions and toasted nuts
Khandaiyan : ‘Katliyaan’ or diamonds of cooked chickpea paste in a yoghurt and Qasuri methi gravy. A dish of Afghani origins that also finds variants in Rajasthan. A recipe handed down by the ancestors to Nazia Jalali.Qubooli : Rice and bengal gram cooked together with saffron, spices and dry fruits. Another vegetarian creation from the era of Aurangzeb. There is also a meat variant of this dish.
Maleedah: Pounded ‘makke ke rotis’ with almonds, dates, apricots with sugar, cinnamon and cardamon powder
Gosht ka halwa : Meat, spices and sugar cooked together to create a most unique halwa
Pricing : INR 1600 – INR 1800 per person.
For reservations call 2558 5858.