Kitchens of India: Royal Repast edition sees the Thanjavur Royal Kitchen; Heirloom Recipes from the Palace of Thanjavur at the iconic Dakshin restaurant here.
Making my way to ITC Windsor after a close to a decade, I was impressed that the place looked better than it did so many years ago and the iconic restaurant Dakshin with its traditional decor was even better. Being here to sample a royal meal quite literally from the royal kitchen of Thanjavur, the decor of the restaurant with brass bells, peacock accessories and traditional lamps had my heart.
Being here to try the array of exclusive, heirloom recipes from the royal kitchen of the Palace of Thanjavur, I has the good fortune of meeting Abaji Rajah Bhonsle, the younger brother of the present king Rajah Bhonsle and his his wife who have worked closely with Chef Praveen Anand, Executive Chef – Southern Cuisine, ITC Hotels to showcase their rich and varied cuisine.
The Maratha kingdom in Thanjavur under the rule of Rajah Serfoji is hailed as the golden period of the Tanjore Marathas. Rajah Serfoji, an erudite scholar and an eye surgeon by training recorded the achievements of the Maratha rule which is housed in the famous ‘Saraswathi Mahal’ library in Thanjavur. One of the treasures are the ancient heirloom recipes of the palace of those days brought out as a compendium in ‘modi scripts’ called Sarabendra Pakashastra. The Royal kitchens have their own compartments Maratha (non-vegetarian), Brahminical (vegetarian), Angreji (European), Sherbet Khana (sherbets), Obdhar Khana (water) and Thatti Mahal Khana (milk).
Burst of Flavours
The festival has a set thaali meal and I tried the vegetarian meal Saivam and began with starters Valli Kezhangu Shunti, a spiced sweet potato deep fried ball that is full of flavour as well as Sabudana Vada served with four chutneys – tomato, coriander, tamarind and coconut. The soup served in a glass tumbler was Murunga Rasam a drumstick and lentil based rasam that is light and full of flavour with a slight tangy, chilli taste.
The main course is served in a thaali and has an assortment of curries like the Kelyachi Bhaji (raw banana tossed with ‘karivadagam’ & ‘hurit’ – a secret spice mix that adds a distinct flavour to all the dishes), Khendatta (mixed curry of vegetables with four kind of pulses), Porathi Kozhambu (aromatic curry of brinjal with coconut & chillies), Gwarchi Porikari – spiced cluster beans tossed with onion and curry leaves, dry curry that is light and has simple flavours and Badishinga Va Phansachibyachi Kootkaru an interesting gravy made with drumsticks and jack fruit seeds. These team perfectly with Laat Bakhri, a rice chappati as well as the Kichidi Pulao a mix of roasted moong and rice where the spices (jeera, pepper) are cooked in a small bag so it releases the flavours into the dish. Steamed rice is served as well with rasam and sambhar and a spoonful of ghee.
To end the meal on a sweet note I sample an assortment of desserts – Shakar Biranji (sweetened pulao with almonds, coconut and sultanas), Khasa Kjasa Payasam (poppy seeds enriched with roasted nuts) and Doodhi Bopla Peta (bottle gourd with almond and saffron). A meal that is simple and full of well balanced flavours and one that will make you smile – isn’t that what food should be?
- Promotion Dates: November 9-17, 2019
- Time: Lunch & Dinner: 12:30 PM to 2:45 PM & 7 PM to 11:30 PM
- Where: Dakshin, ITC Windsor #25, Windsor Square, Bengaluru- 560052
- Wallet Factor: Vegetarian Rs 1950++ and non vegetarian Rs 2250++