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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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