Come the month of Ramzan and Iftar parties become quite the zeitgeist everywhere. Especially here in Hyderabad, which has many Muslims and non-Muslims coming together for an Iftar dinner.
Kanak, the fine dining Indian cuisine restaurant at The Trident Hotel, decided to have a food promotion based on this ritual, and it goes on till Ramzan comes to an end, on the 24th of June. While it goes without saying that a traditional Ramzan favourite – the Haleem – is a fixed item on the menu, Executive Chef Manik Magotra and his team, have added other dishes, from various parts of the country, to make the Iftar spread more interesting for the guest.
Another important fact to note is that contrary to popular perception, not everything served at an Iftar dinner has to be non-vegetarian. At Kanak, at the dawt e Iftar, Chef has included enough vegetarian dishes so those who abstain from meat, can still have a filling meal.
The starters include Tandoori Bharwan Aloo, potatoes filled with nuts and cheese and cooked in a tandoor, Nadir mand, sliced lotus stem, marinated in a spicy paste and deep fried; Tala hua Gosht, a Hyderabad speciality – morsels of lamb, sautéed with onions, green chillies and mint; and of course Haleem, traditionally cooked with wheat and lamb and served with fried onions and wedges of lime. The menu includes a vegetarian variant of this dish which is what I had, and the wheat and ghee preparation was as good as its non-vegetarian counterpart.
Among the starters, I liked the Bharwan Aloo, the sweetness of the dry fruits and the bland potato make a surprisingly good combination; and though I abstained from the lamb starter, I was told by the others at the table, that it was quite delicious.
Mains included Gobhi Mussalam, cauliflower stuffed with nuts and cooked in a rich cashewnut and yoghurt gravy; Dhaniwal Korma, chicken cooked in a yoghurt based gravy flavoured with saffron and fresh coriander; Dahi Gosht, lamb cooked in whole spices and yoghurt; and Kacchi Gosht ki Biryani – lamb and basmati rice cooked with saffron and nuts in the dum style – in sealed pots.
All the main course dishes were served with different kinds of rotis – sheermal, Peshawari naan and Khamiri roti; along with Navratan Pulao. I tried the Khamiri roti with the chicken and the cauliflower curries – they were a match made in heaven. Filling yet light on the palate, the flavours blended beautifully with the thick roti.
Desserts included a Seb ki Kheer, an apple and milk based pudding; Baloshahi – a deep fried flour dumpling dunked in sugar syrup; and the Lauki ka Halwa – bottle gourd cooked with milk and sugar. While others liked the apple pudding, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Lauki Halwa was outstanding. Having a dish I was forced to eat in childhood, this version, slow cooked to creamy perfection, was a perfect finish to a very well cooked meal.
The Dawat-e-Iftar is on at Kanak, The Trident Hotel, Hitech City, Hyderabad till the 24th of June.
Timings: 7 pm onwards.