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Baisakhi marks the beginning of a new year in Punjab. It also signifies the harvest season and celebrations include robust meals being prepared and a spirit of bonhomie and thanksgiving. Looking to make it a foodie’s delight, Taj, Chandigarh has put together a 10-day long Baisakhi Mela.
To be hosted at the poolside every evening until April 21, the fair’s highlights include a special buffet menu curated by Executive Chef Rannvijay Singh. Adding to the celebrations are special counters dishing out traditional favourites like chaat, golgappas and even one dishing out ‘barf golas’. With fairy lights, perfect evening breeze and Phulkaris draped around the poolside, the ambience is indeed impressive.
“When it came to putting together the Baisakhi menu, we decided to offer traditional Punjabi recipes along with some fusion fare as we have to cater to in-house guests as well,” informed Singh. He mentions that the live counters are always well appreciated and that they would be offering as many as 12 types of flavoured water for the Golgappa Station.
The main course menu brings in some surprise additions too with home-style dishes like Choliya Paneer, Kaale Channe Ka Shorba, Choliya Makai Ki Seekh, Lauki Channa Dal, Tawa Brain and Kaleji, Baigan Ka Bharta, Rahra Gosht, Tawa Bater Masala, to list a few.
Baisakhi celebrations would be incomplete without Sugarcane Juice as well as freshly churned Lassi and the hotel has included the same on the menu.
Sigri Wala Tandoori Murg
To add to the local specialties, Pindi Channa and Kulcha would be on offer along with Sigri Wala Tandoori Murg. "Tandoori dishes are an intrinsic part of a Punjabi themed food festival and we are making full use of it too,” quipped the chef.
Kalonji Wala Murg
Among the starters, the Kalonji Wala Murg and Saunfiya Paneer are indeed a must-try. We loved the fact that the menu offers a balanced selection of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian fare. The Kathal ki Sabzi we had was as succulent as the gosht. Also, do not skip the really plump selection of raitas at the Raita Counter. While there is indeed a lot to choose from, do save up for dessert. You can see Masala Gud, must-have digestive in Punjabi households being cooked live here for guests. Another must-try is the Gud Malpua. It is quite a decadent dessert but a celebration calls for some indulgence.
A special showcase of Phulkari crafts is also a part of the setting with products from the Meher Baba Charitable Trust on sale. The NGO is exhibiting Phulkari duppatas, juttis along with purses and bookmarks.
The food festival is on until April 21. A meal for 2 will cost Rs 3500 (taxes inclusive)
A seasoned journalist, Jagmeeta has worked with The Indian Express for 16 years writing extensively on food, popular culture and fashion. A Master's in English, she completed her honours in Journalism from Delhi University and started her career in journalism with New Delhi Television (NDTV) as a reporter. She was part of the launch team for NDTV.com. Having turned a freelance writer and editor in 2016, she has been writing for The Hindustan Times, Chandigarh and is also a contributor for The Voice of Fashion steered by IMG Reliance Ltd as well as Chandigarh's popular lifestyle portal - simplythecity.com. When she's not reviewing food or dissecting the season's trends, she likes to travel with her daughter and husband, a professional photographer. A photography enthusiast herself, Jagmeeta has also curated photo exhibitions and calls herself a collector of cookbooks and recipes and a proud 'fauji' daughter and sister.