Schezwan, it turns out, is not just a random word coined by enthusiasts, makers and consumers for the classic Indo-Oriental sauce that is almost as popular – if not more – as the country’s indigenous cuisine. It is a variant of ‘Sichuan’, a type of Chinese cuisine that originates from the Sichuan province in southwestern China. Much like the desi sauce inspired by its name, this food is marked by bold, pungent flavours. Thanks to the generous use of garlic, chilli peppers and the Sichuan pepper, there is none of that Southeast Asian mellowness here – the reason ‘Chinese food’ is synonymous with lip-smacking spicy food all over the globe today.
To those of us who have to order in from the friendly neighbourhood Chinese restaurant at least once every week to get our schezwan and ‘hot garlic’ fixes, Spice Kitchen at JW Marriott has provided us with a cause to rejoice. You will now be able to sample traditional Sichuan delicacies prepared by Chef Edward Ni, who specialises in this domain and has flown all the way from the Marriott in Beijing to regale Pune gourmands with his creations.
A few of his signature dishes that you can dig into include these juicy and crunchy fried shrimp balls with Sichuan hot sauce, succulent stewed pork slices with Sichuan chilli sauce, spicy-sour potato juliennes, gong bao prawn (a stir fry dish), poached pork with pickle chilli and soybean sauce, Sichuan fried beans, poached grouper fillet and a mountain of mixed seafood fried noodles to slurp up with the gravies. “I am looking forward to bringing the spices of China to Pune,” smiled Chef Edward Ni, who is putting in his 10 years’ worth of experience into curating these treats.
Apart from the offerings of the festival, the regular buffet inside the restaurant will also feature some special main course Chinese items. The festival started last week, and will be on till August 27.