We travel to different regions to experience the place, people and food. What better when you can taste the authentic regional cuisines from different parts of India, and experience being there? That’s exactly what JW Sahar keeps discovering and creating at JW Café under the guidance of Surjan Singh Jolly (Director of F & B, JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar) . Their recent exploration was at the Queen of Hills. Chef Vishal Atreya, Executive Chef, JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar and Kripal Amanna, Managing Director & Editor, Food Lovers Magazine joined hands to explore the authentic regional treasures of the less known Garhwali cuisine.
If you haven’t heard about Garhwal, here is some brief intro about the same. Garhwal is the land of many ‘Garh’ (गढ़) or forts, predominantly having ethno-linguistic group of people living in the Garhwal Himalayas of the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand.
The Queen of Hills gives a rustic, rare and refreshing culinary exploration that I was lucky to experience a day before the festival.
My journey in exploring the secrets and treasures of Garhwali cuisine started with some mouth watering Starters.
Urad Dal Pakodi; The twisted version of Medu vada, made from the authentic Black gram found in Garhwal and fried in the special mustard oil, that lets you have a gastronomic travel. It’s crunchy, tasty and great a appetizer to try.
Jakhiya(Mustard) Paneer; It makes the Paneer melt in your mouth, gives you a hint of cottage and curd. It’s specially cooked on a spit fire.
Akhrot ki Tikki; These are small dumplings filled with Walnuts at the center and are cooked on a griddle in the regional way, authentically done at the homes in Grahwal.
Murgh Buranase Tikka; It’s made using the unique flowers called Burans flower. The flower is dried and powdered and used during the marinated process with other spices. Again the appetizer is cooked on spit fire to give the authentic feel.
Now was the time to experience the main course that is passionately prepared at JW Café, just like the locals prepare their food in the Queen of Hills.
Starting with my personal favorite, Aloo ki Thechwani;Why Thechwani? The mashed/crushed spicy chutney of any ingredient is called Thechwani at the heritage location of Grahwal. The dish is made using the Pahadi Aloo (Mountain Potato).
Kafuli; Which is a thick green paste prepared from leafy vegetables found regionally. The gravy has a strong presence of Mustard leaves and mustard oil, giving it’s a very peculiar pleasant taste.
Jakhiya Machchi; It’s a fish curry made using the Fresh river trout cooked with mustard seeds and oil. The dish was delightful to my palate.
Murgh Kashmini; The chicken used to prepare the dish is the Wild chicken found in the mountains, it’s cooked with spinach and fresh fenugreek leaves giving it a rich green color and flavor.
Mutton Tari; It was quite light, with perfectly cooked lamb. The Tari can be perfectly enjoyed with roti, bread or rice.
Jakhiya Aloo; It’s made from the special Mountain Potato found in the hills, cooked perfectly in mustard, thus the name Jhatiya (mustard) Aloo.
For the desserts, we tasted Jhangore ki kheer, instead of the regular incorporation of rice, they had used Barnyard millet, available locally at the Queens of Hills.
Over all, JW Café has done an amazing job of bringing us the preserved culture and Garhwali cuisine. Experience this one of a kind of food festival from 1st March to 12th March, 2017. Most of the ingredients, lentils, rice, used are authentic ingredients sourced from the hills. Garhwali cuisine is known for using a very special kind of mustard oil called Jhakia which is predominantly used in almost all the food items. Visit JW Café and take home a fond gourmet memory of Uttarakhand with you!