Gastronomic Tales - Part 1

On a lazy Sunday afternoon when Delhi was grappling with a severe humidity, I decided to lunch out, essentially to experiment some new things but more to drain out the week-long boredom that had creeped in.
After exploring on the Net for a while I zeroed down to Hotel Lalit at Barakhambha Road.
The Baluchi eating space on the second floor was dimly lit with stylish ambience. The hall resonated with soft instrumental music.
Before digging into the menu booklet, I asked the chef who was attending to a family on an adjacent table, on a dish that was unique to the restaurant. And prompt came his reply: Tulsi Paneer The Pe The and Karela and Ankuri Dal Ka Bajhar Parantha.
The names sounded innovative and adventurous. Within ten minutes the two dishes were before me. By this time the hunger hormones had well entrenched into me and I started gorging on the combo like a school child.
The Tulsi Paneer—a healthy fusion of herbs – was a perfect starter to a sumptuous spread that was to follow. The thick marinate of hung curd, yellow chilly coupled with the fragrance of garam masala and the aroma of freshly cut tulsi leaves blended together to give an end product different from the usual tandoori paneer.

My next ‘healthy’ dish —Karela and Ankura Dal Ka Bejad Paratha—was classy and unique. The Paratha made of stuffing of bitter gourd (Karela), thinly sliced with mashed sprouts, peppered with green chillies and chopped onions in the multigrain atta was crispy and blended well with the chutney.

Chef Satyabir Tyagi, the innovator of these two dishes told me that they were specifically designed for diabetic people and had low calories.

Soft ‘n’ Succulent

It soon descended on me that I am not a diabetic nor am I a calorie freak—so I decided to hop on to something that was not labelled as healthy and the first thing that struck me was pizza. The delicately garnished pizza was different from the ones that I have tasted at other places. The cheese, rocket lettuce and other ingredients were all familiar and it took me some time to guess that the caramalized onion sautéed in red wine and balsamic vinegar was the one that culled out the unique flavour.

While on an unconscious level, my stomach was sending out signals to pause, my mind continued to chase new things on the menu. Norweign Salmon and Mexican Roast chicken with Potato Wedges looked gastronomically exciting. The Salmon was flavoured with black pepper, French mustard and lemon juice and was accompanied with roasted garlic mashed potatoes. The chicken was smeared with garlic, thyme, salt, black pepper and French mustard. The potatoes with their peels intact amalgamated well with the chicken.

I wrapped up my lunch with the Chocolate Crunchy Mousse. The eggless dessert was topped lavishly with the butter scotch crunches.

A perfect end to a beautiful start.

Cook it at home

Tulsi Paneer Teh Pe The

Cow milk cheese 250 gm
Salt 10 gm
Coriander leaves - 5 gm
Ginger - 4 gm
Lemon - 1
Indian Basil leaves - 10 gm
Mint - 15 gm
Cow Milk Hung curd - 60 gm
Cumin powder - 4 gm

Cut the cow milk cheese and stuff with Indian Basil.
Marinate with hung curd along with crushed pepper, cumin powder, ginger chops, green chilly chops, salt, coriander leaves, and mix together.
Cook it in tandoor for 15 minutes
Serve with mint chutney.

Vital Stats: Hotel Lalit, New Delhi

- Dr Vanita Srivastava