Before we begin, here’s a little info with respect to gastronomy and me
Now I come from a family of mixed cultures, tracing my roots andrelatives back to Gujarati, Punjabi, Lucknowi and traditional Bangali influences and because of that, growing up I’ve experienced the best of all the customs specifically when it comes to their cuisines in all the daawats, get-togethers and marriages.
This means, i’ve been quite literally spoilt for choice from the time my taste buds started budding and that’s also the reason why when it comes to trying out cuisines, specially mughlai, outside of home, it’s not that easy a task to please me (not that I’m a masterchef on my own or something :p)
However, in certain rare instances of my gastronomical adventures, my taste buds have come across a sensation that’s left a lasting impression.
Now that’s a feeling I experienced on my recent visit to Shaam – e – Awadh. Now don’t take me lightly here, I’ll eventually reveal the reason behind the sudden rendezvous of flavours and feelings for me.
Striking the right balance
We all have a list of of those no-nonsense places where can’t help but keep visiting, only because of the magic in their food.
These places are usually coupled with crappy ambience and snobbish staff and of course a huge line of more-than eager customers waiting to grab your seat (that’ll probably be greasy too)
Now comes another category of places where we know the food is crappy but then we still visit it because maybe we simply like the feeling of being there, the staff or in some cases the owner.
We often turn a blind eye to the crappy food as all the other things compensate for it.
Shaam E Awadh for me is the place that strikes the perfect balance between the two.
It’s a place where you can devour an entire serving of Murgh Ra Ra and Keema Biryani and won’t be judged by the staff as they’re just too courteous
It’s a place with enough lighting and backgrounds for your next profile picture and carefully stylized food items that’s sure to look good on your Insta story boomerangs but taste perfect as well!
A field day for my taste buds
The first bite into Murgh Ra Ra tickled an emotion as I chewed through the tender mashed chicken.
Now it’s not just as simple as mashing a lump of chicken, the beauty is in knowing the exact degree to which it needs to be mashed and the precise tensile strength the chicken needs to retain in order to go through the entire process of boiling, smearing of spices, absorption of flavours and bashing in the cooking vessel and still be the perfect amount of soft and hard for the perfect flavour and feeling.
Moving on to the Murgh Bharwan Tangri. Now the Murgh Ra Ra is still a dish that’s relatively simple enough for the folks at home to prepare it without pretending I’ve asked for their soul but the Murgh Bharwan Tangri takes the game to another level.
We’re talking about spiced, flavoured and minced chicken stuffed in the tender covering of the tangri piece. If you’re a tangri lover, this is as close as it gets to feeling heavenly.
A jourey back in time
Coming to the bit about what exactly made me fall in love with the food at Daawat E Awadh.
First few bites into the dishes and I just HAD to meet the chef! I knew it wasn’t normal for just any random guy to bag the favours so well.
And, upon meeting the chef and digging deeper I soon realized that the chef, Mr Md Sajid was a dear neighbour of mine which meant, that chef and I had practically grown up on the same cuisine style at home, hence the immediate familiarity of flavours.
Here’s more about my interaction with chef Sajid.
From where did you learn the art of Awadhi cuisine?
I began my journey from Kalash at HHI, then moved on to be a part of Krazy Kebab restaurant near Park Circus, I’ve also had a stint at the Lalit Great Eastern, however my core concepts on flavours and treatment of the cuisine has come from my mother over a lifetime of learning.
Why’d you become a chef and why Awadhi cuisine?
I’ve never really pondered what I’d be doing had I not been in the kitchen. Cooking came very naturally to me and Awadhi cuisine just came along with it. Like I said, I’ve never really though of a life outside the kitchen, similarly, I’ve never really thought of mastering any other cuisine apart from Awadhi!
I often say, I’m a home-made chef!
What is your favourite cuisine?
Ironically, my favourite cuisine is Hyderabadi!
What is the most elaborate dish that you prepare on a daily basis?
The Murgh Tikka Lawabdari involves a tedious preparation procedure and it takes me almost 8 hours to prepare it.