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{Eating Out – Review} Seekh Kebab Event at The Trident, Hyderabad

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The Trident at Hyderabad is making serious in roads into the hearts (and stomachs) of Hyderabadis. I found myself at Kanak, the Indian speciality restaurant a few days ago as I was invited to sample their Seekh Kebabs.The hotel is hosting a week long Seekh Kebab promotion and on offer are 11 different kinds of vegetarian and non vegetarian kebabs, all made on skewers and in the tandoor. Kebabs are one of the most popular and widely sampled delicacies of Indian cuisine. Many kinds of kebabs in different shapes and forms, traditional, modern and fusion are available in most places serving Indian food. I was curious to sample the vegetarian offerings. While kebabs are a meat eater’s delight, vegetarians often miss out, or are offered meager samples. 

Seekh Kebabs are much loved in Hyderabad and we have quite a few high end as well as hole in the wall places that serve up delectable fare. So to have a promotion showcasing just that is a leap of faith. 

The dinner began with the customary pickles and relishes brought to the table with roasted papad. Kanak is located in the busy Hitech City area of Hyderabad and the glassed in restaurant offers nice views of the traffic and the city beyond. 

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We started with the celebrated Kakori Kebab made of fine lamb mince. The kebab literally disintegrates in the mouth and was succulent with a very strong underlying flavour from cloves. The meat is flavoured so well that it would be an insult to dunk it into a chutney. 

This was followed by the vegetarian seekh kebab platter. I was happy to see that it had quite a few options and not one of them had paneer! Yes, much as I love cottage cheese, I am almost always put off by the fact that it is often the only option for vegetarian kebabs. 

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I started with the Makkai ki tinka seekh which was made of sweet corn and potatoes and came on bamboo skewers, flavoured with a hint of mint. This kebab was rather dense, partly due to the potatoes and I would not really be asking for a second helping of this kebab. 

The Shahisubz seekh on the other hand was mildly sweet from the khoya that was used as the base along with a medley of vegetables and spiced with shahi jeera and chillies. Mild and flavourful and yet soft and succulent. The khoya works wonderfully to keep this kebab soft and succulent which is where most meat based seekh kebabs score. 

Next I tried the Matar moongphalli seekh which I was very disappointed with. It was dense and except for the strong flavour of the peanuts, there was nothing else going for this variant. I’m not a big ground nut fan and while I like it in small amounts, an overdose can be overwhelming. 

The last two that I tried, the Palak chilgoze ki seekh and the Til (sesame) methi ki seekh turned out to be my favourites. I am very partial to pine nuts and I’d never thought they could be used in a kebab. The sharp flavour of the spinach, spiced with nutmeg and the nutty bite of the pine nuts and cashews was so good that this was my favourite seekh kebab of the evening. I saved a piece of this and went back to nibble it several times during the course of the evening. The Til methi kebab won me over again because of the unusual combination and sharp nutty flavour of both the fenugreek leaves and the sesame seeds. Both black and white sesame was used and made the kebab brittle, but it was delightful.

We moved over to what everyone loves best, the non vegetarian offerings. A platter arrived and I lamented to my dinner partner that how unfair it was to Seekh kebabs that they were possibly the least photogenic items of food. So contrary to their richness of flavour. 

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The platter consisted of the Hyderabadi Seekh kebab, the Seekh Gilafi or the Chupa Rustam, Kashmiri Seekh kebab, Zafrani reshami seekh and the hara pyaz murgh gilafi. 

Gilaf means a cover and the uniquely names Chupa rustom is a chicken seekh, covered with a minced lamb coating. The Lamb coating is studded with finely chopped tomato, coriander, mint and onion and was flavoured just right. I loved the combination of chicken with lamb and the surprise factor was pleasing.

The Murgh Gilafi too was mild and flavoured partly by the outer covering of finely chopped spring onions and ginger. It was pretty to look at too which cannot be said for most of the kebabs I indulged in!

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The Kashmiri seekh was my favourite again because of the deep flavours. This kebab is tossed in spices ~ dried ginger and saffron after being cooked in the tandoor along with tomatoes and onion which makes it very moist and it pairs excellently with Indian breads, I tried it with a very flaky Lachcha paratha. 

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What looked like a dramatically large masala papad, turned out to be the flamboyant Kadak Rumali. A rumali (handkerchief) roti is by nature paper thin and soft. And yet, here was a crisp one, studded with finely chopped onion, tomato, green chillies and coriander leaves, with a generous sprinkling of grated cheese and spices. Makes for a nice snack to nibble on, shared at the table as you enjoy the seekh kebabs, and when you aren’t really in the mood to eat heavy Indian rotis.  

My least favourite of the evening was the Zafrani Reshami Seekh, which I found too bland and leathery. The Hyderabadi seekh was very similar to the Kashmiri one, minus the sass of the added spices and onion tomato saute. 

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I sampled several of their Indian cocktails that Kanak is famous for. There were three that I would recommend anytime ~ The Patiayala Peg – Scotch whiskey paired with cardamom, cinnamon and caramel. Deep flavours that set the mood for an evening. My other favourite was The Indian Paradise – Vodka, guava juice, worcestershire, tabasco and lime, reminiscent of a bloody mary, but the glass rimmed with chaat masala is a clincher. They also have a refreshingly light Hyderabadi Pan which is a vodka cranberry based cocktail with subtle hints of betel leaf.

 

 

We finished the meal with scoops freshly made ice cream in saffron and pistachio and apricot. The saffron pistachio was too eggy for my taste, so I stuck to the apricot flavoured one which had chunks of dried fruit. 

A pleasant summer evening spent with delightful company and some real good food. 

The Seekh Kebab promotional is on till the 13th of this month, and if you are in Hyderabad, I would definitely recommend you try this out. 

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The Seekh Kebab promotional at Kanak, The Trident, Hitech City, Hyderabad

Recommendations: Kakori kebab, Chupa rustam and Kashmiri Seekh kebab (non veg) and Palak Chilgoze ki Seekh and Til Methi ki Seekh (veg)

Guests can order specially put together platters of kebab samplers for both vegetarian and non vegetarian options.

Price for the platters (excluding tax): begin from INR 1225

Hours: 7.30 pm to midnight.
Location: Hitech City, Hyderabad
Credit Card Accepted: Yes
Valet Parking: Available
Telephone: 91 40 6623 2323

Chili Garlic Sauteed Vegetables ~ Sandwich

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Sauteed Vegetable Sandwich

Sauteed Vegetable Sandwich

This has to be the month of sandwiches for me. After detesting dry bread with cucumber and tomato slices, I have become a sandwich fiend with a vengeance. There is nothing better than a good sandwich made with fresh bread. Generally I do not like the bread to be slathered on with either butter or mayonnaise. Just a little to get things going and add flavour.  This sandwich filling has three of my current favourites ~ mushrooms, olive oil and a readymade chilli garlic paste which is handy to have in the fridge.

I add this paste to curries, dal, pasta sauce, vegetables and even spinach for a nice kick. It is not too spicy and yet lends a wonderful depth to the vegetables. Am sure this can be made at home, I just picked it up on a whim of my now aimless supermarket trips and am (for a change) making good use of it.

I used onions, sliced mushrooms and a little bit of bell peppers. Am sure zucchini, thin strips of carrot, and even slices of eggplant will taste terrific in this. The key is to add a lot of onions  and saute them on a medium flame till they are sweet from the caramelization, but not brown or crisp.

A box of these sauteed vegetables in the fridge will make it easy to rustle up pasta, a roti wrap or even as a vegetable side on a busy weeknight.

Sauteed Vegetable Sandwich

Sauteed Vegetable Sandwich

Chili Garlic Sauteed Vegetables ~ Sandwich (Makes 2)

4 slices                       Bread of choice, lightly toasted

1 medium                   Onion, sliced (about 2/3 cup)

1 cup                          Vegetables such as bell peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, spinach etc, sliced

1 tablespoon              Extra virgin olive oil

Salt to taste

1 teaspoon                 Chilli garlic paste (or grind together one clove of garlic with 1 ripe red chilli)

a handful of fresh herbs such as coriander or basil

1 teaspoons               Salted butter

  • In a flat pan, heat the oil and add all the vegetables. Saute on medium heat till the vegetables have wilted and the onions are translucent(about 2 minutes).
  • Add the chilli garlic paste, salt to taste and the fresh herbs and mix well.  Continue to saute till the liquid from the vegetables has almost dried off. At this point, the onions should be a deep brown and still soft. Turn off the heat and cool.
  • On a medium hot tava, toast the bread lightly and apply the butter.
  • Place the sauteed vegetables in a thin layer, top with the other slice of bread and press down lightly. Toast for 1 minute on each side, ensuring the filling does not come out.
  • Slice diagonally and serve warm.

Note: these vegetables can be stored in the fridge in an air tight container for upto 5 days to make a quick meal tossed with cooked pasta or in a wrap.

 

Tabbouleh Salad with Jowar Pearls (Gluten Free)

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Note: If you would like to attend the Escapades Culinary Studio Class on salads this week, send me a message on our FB page.

 

I love Mediterranean food. As is evident from my attempts to make non deep fried falafels and pita bread from scratch. I also love the freshness of the salads that are served. Simple fresh ingredients, light and summery dressings and a meal or a side is ready in as much time as it takes to chop all the vegetables.

Tabbouleh Salad

Tabbouleh Salad

Tabbouleh salad is popular as a side. It uses bulgur wheat. I teach this in my salads class, and it is a very big hit with everyone. I’m sharing it here for the readers of this blog. Use jowar pearls as per this recipe for a gluten free version of this salad. The original uses bulgur wheat which can be substituted with broken wheat rava used for upma etc, cooked millets of any kind such as foxtail or even cooked brown rice.

I like to eat this salad spread on a roti wrap with either a sliced boiled egg or grilled paneer and make it a complete meal.

Tabbouleh Salad with Jowar Pearls (Gluten Free)

Serves 3-4

Jowar pearls                                              ½ cup, soaked for 4-5 hours, cooked in a pressure cooker with ½ teaspoon salt

Parsley                                                        11/2 cup, leaves tightly packed

Mint                                                              ½ cup, leaves only

Cucumber                                                  1 medium, retain the skin, remove seeds and chopped small

Tomatoes                                                  3 medium, chopped

Onion                                                          1 small, finely sliced

Feta Cheese                                             ¼ cup, crumbled (use fresh paneer to substitute)

Pine Nuts                                                  1/4 cup, toasted (use walnuts or almonds to substitute)

For the dressing

Lemon Juice                                          2-3 tablespoons (adjust according to taste)

Salt and freshly cracked pepper    to taste

Extra virgin Olive oil                          1/3 cup

 

* Wash all the greens and lay them to drain on absorbent towels.

* Chop the tomatoes into small squares. Remove the seeds from the cucumber and chop to the same size of the tomatoes. Finely chop the onions and set aside.

* Finely shred the greens – parsley, mint

* Whisk all the ingredients for the dressing and do a taste test. Adjust seasonings and set aside.

* In a bowl large enough to toss everything up, add the chopped greens, cucumber, tomato, onion and jowar. Mix well with a large spoon. Pour over the salad dressing and mix everything well. Let stand for at 10 minutes before serving. Top with crumbled feta cheese and toasted pine nuts just before serving.

 

{Quick Recipe} Baby Brinjals with Ginger and Kalonji

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Baby Brinjals

Baby Brinjals

I did a column recently for the newspaper I write for, emphasizing that most beginners in the kitchen shy away from Indian cooking on a weeknight because we think it is complicated, uses too many ingredients and is a multi step process. While this is true for elaborate recipes, there are an astounding number of dishes that can be made in under 20 minutes. For instance this brinjal dish, I like to make it with the freshest and most tender green baby brinjals I can find. With a light seasoning of kalonji, this cooks in less than 10 minutes. Perfect for a week night dinner and pairs well with both rice and roti.

This recipe can be made with any kind of brinjals, although I strongly recommend the green ones.

Baby Brinjals Saute ~ with Nigella Seeds (Kalonji) and Fresh Ginger

Baby Green Brinjals                    250 grams, stems removed and quartered

Onion                                             1 small, sliced (optional)

Green Chilli                                   1, finely chopped or crushed with a mortar and pestle

Fresh Ginger                                 1/2 inch piece, grated

Vegetable Oil                                 1 teaspoon

Kalonji or Nigella Seeds               1 teaspoon

Fresh Coriander Leaves              1 small bunch

Salt                                                  to taste

In a pan, heat the oil over medium heat till hot but not smoking. Make sure the oil is not overheated, as the kalonji seeds will burn easily and become bitter.

Splutter the kalonji seeds, add the onions and quartered brinjal together and saute for about 3-4 minutes, till the vegetables begin to wilt.

Add the crushed green chilli, grated ginger and salt to taste and stir. Cover and cook on low heat for 8-9 minutes, checking to see that the vegetable doesn’t stick to the pan.

Stir in the fresh coriander leaves, remove from the heat and serve hot with rice or rotis.

This dish cooks in the moisture from the brinjal, in steam because it is covered. If you prefer open pan cooking, sprinkle a couple of teaspoons of water every few minutes, till the vegetable is cooked.

Baby Brinjals

Baby Brinjals

Tandoori Aloo Grilled Sandwich Recipe

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Tandoori Aloo Sandwich

Tandoori Aloo Sandwich

I was going through the motions of getting through a random day. It is getting hot in Hyderabad and my energy levels are surely going to hit severely low notes soon. I had a deadline to meet and that involved shopping for ingredients, making 3 recipes, taking pictures, writing out the recipes and sending them to my editor. It was 4:30 PM and I had to complete this task by 6PM. Yes, yes.  This is exactly where you should do the ‘eye-roll’. I wanted to make one subway style sandwich which I have already featured here with home made bread rolls, one with sauteed vegetables in olive oil and Italian spices like they serve at coffee shops and one desi style grilled on a tava sandwich with a potato filling. K really loves potatoes stuffed into sandwiches, and I had boiled a few earlier in the day, that was the loose plan.

On my way to the nearby supermarket, my namesake called and we chatted. I told her my task at hand and asked for ideas. She told me she had made this sandwich with left over tandoori aloos, made for a BBQ and it was the best sandwich ever! That fixed the deal for me! I decided to make the potatoes with the spicy/ tangy tandoori masala. Arundhati cooked the potatoes with yogurt and tandoori masala as they were originally meant for the BBQ. I used the spice mix to pan saute the potatoes.

Even if I say so myself, this sandwich turned out so good, we had it two nights in a row as dinner. The mixtures keeps well and it will be convenient to have a small stash of spiced up potatoes in the fridge for ‘food emergencies’. I don’t have a sandwich maker and grilled this sandwich old school, on a hot griddle, pressing it down with a steel plate to get it to crisp up.

Tandoori Aloo Sandwich

Tandoori Potato Sandwich (Makes 2 Sandwiches)

4 slices                        Bread of choice

2 medium                   Potatoes, boiled, peeled and roughly crumbled

1 teaspoon                 Tandoori Masala

½ teaspoon               Vegetable oil

salt to taste

1 tablespoon            Fresh Coriander leaves

2 slices                     Cheese

1 tablespoon           Table butter

1 medium                Tomato, sliced

In a pan, heat the oil and add the crumbled potatoes. Add the tandoori masala and mix well. Saute till it is well coated. Add the salt to taste, coriander leaves and remove from the heat. Cool slightly.

Toast the bread on a tava, butter the slices and place a slice of cheese on top.

Arrange the sliced tomato over the cheese evenly and put half of the potato stuffing on top. Cover with another slice of toasted bread and press down.

Toast lightly on the tava till the cheese begins to melt. Serve immediately.

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