If you are from the southern part of the country settled in Kolkata, then there is some good news for you. There is some good news for the food loving Kolkatans too. There is an impressive lot of delicacies beyond the normal dosa and idli from various parts of South India which is being presented in the Southern Spice festival at Sonargaon, the iconic food destination of Taj Bengal Kolkata.
A selection of dishes from across all the regions of South India is presented in this festival. The spread opens with exciting starters such as kozhikodan chemeen fry (prawns tossed with dried shrimp powder and coriander), chemeen porichadhu (crisp fried tiger prawn tails), some banana dosas for the vegetarians which are flavoured with jaggery and cardamom, and more. The main course comprises of some very popular and unique dishes from the southern regions. While the Alleppey fish curry from Kerala and idiyappam are extremely popular, especially among people with lesser knowledge of South Indian food, there is mirpakaya kodi kaalu (fiery Andhra style preparation with chicken drumsticks)and usilampatti kadi kaalu (slow simmered lamb curry from rural Madurai with poppy seeds) which surprise the guests with bombardment of flavours.
Chef Shanmugham from Taj Coromandel has been instrumental in curating and creating this exciting menu. He is a stickler with authentic flavours and hence has carried with him most of the whole spices and has roasted and then pounded in a mortar and pestle to make his own spice mix for each of the recipes. While primarily sticking to traditional recipes, a few dishes have been modernised such as chops kari varuval (flavoured New Zealand lamb chops coated with egg) and tenderloin kurmilagittadhu (tenderloin picattas tossed with curry leaves and black pepper). Not to miss out the desserts such as chocolate puranam mousse (chocolate mousse filled with coconut, lentil and jaggery mix) and millagu elakai ice cream (black pepper and cardamom ice cream, a Southern Spice specialty). The icing on the cake is a serving of elaneer payasam (chilled tender coconut pudding), a signature dessert that was introduced and made popular in the kitchens of Southern Spice.
For vegetarian lovers, there is an ample scope of taking on this intriguing culinary journey as well. Combinations such as vazhapoo aamavadai (crisp gallettes of banana blossom and lentils), injipuli koshambri (tempered moong bean with mesculan and ginger tamarind yogurt quenelle) and pachakari ishtew (seasonal vegetables and potatoes simmered in coconut gravy) provide the necessary warmth and comfort. Then there is the tomato pappu or the plum tomatoes and lentil preparation with tempered spices which delivers a super punch in flavour. The festival is on till 3rd of July and available for both lunch and dinner where the pocket pinch for vegetarian and non vegetarian À la carte will be about 3000 and 3500 INR respectively. The thalis are also available in vegetarian and non vegetarian with an option of a sea food thali as well.
A true blue Kolkata foodie, Anindya loves cooking and eating his Kosha Mangsho. Anindya weaves stories around food as he believes exceptional food is an emotional experience. Previously a restauranter, now a passionate photographer and traveller, he runs a successful blog called Pikturenama and contributes to other publications.