Travel Coffee Vogue is back at Jyran restaurant at Sofitel BKC to experience the flavours of Amritsar for the Baisakhi special Amritsari Food Festival.
Jyran makes sure that your journey to Amritsar starts right at the entrance of the restaurant with the reception designed to look like a decked up Punjab Di Truck. As a cheerful hostess guides us to the restaurant we notice the colourful Firkis and the thatched roof held by the bamboos as we walk towards the restaurant doors. And once inside, right from the chhach-lassi counter to the traditionally dressed servers, everything reminds you of the rustic charm of Amritsar.
We settle down and find ourselves the best seats right in the middle of the restaurant to witness all the action around us. We decided to beat the summer heat with Shikanji, recommended by the restaurant manager. This refreshing drink is a blend of fresh mint, lemon, black salt and rose water.
The menu left us in a fix and tempted us, but after some contemplation we decided to toss our diet plans and order every special dish off the menu. We thought we’d explode if we consumed so much in a day and to our surprise and delight, this festival shook up our pre conceived notion that North Indian food or rather Punjabi Fare is a heavy affair. For the appetizers we tried Bhatti ka Murgh, Amritsari Boti, Tandoori Machchi, Jinga Patiala, Murgh Kasoori Kebab and Amritsari Machchi.
As we were busy polishing off these distinctly flavoured meat delicacies we were joined by Jyran’s Master Chef Shauqat Ali Qureshi for a chat. He took us through his journey by recounting fascinating and captivating tales of his career as he reminisced about serving the Nawab royalties, international conglomerates, Sports and Bollywood celebrities alike. We were told; Chef Qureshi specially invited Master Chef India Contestant Chef Jyoti Arora to lend her culinary expertise to this festival. A hearty Amritsari herself, she is currently working on a book that features the forgotten recipes of the Punjab households to trace the Punjabi cuisines to its roots. You can catch her on her shows, The Rasoi Show(Fastway Punjab) and Zaika(DD Punjabi) where she showcases local talent.
We then proceeded to the main course (YES! Even after gorging on all the yummy starters). We called for Maa Ki Daal, Amritsari Chhole, Gajar-Matar Ki Sabzi, Gobi-Matar Ki Sabzis, Naan Makhani and (the highlight of the main course)Rahra Gosht. Rahra Gosht, the minced meat dish had absolutely no layer of fat, meat so tender but perfectly cooked and soaked in all the minimal spices and juices was the winner of all the sabzis. Even the aroma was deceptive and left us wondering whether we were really consuming meat. This was washed down by Masaala Chaach. We ended our elaborate meal with the super healthy Gud Halwa.
Chef Jyoti Arora explained to us that contrary to popular belief a perfectly cooked meat dish is not one that has been prepared with too many ingredients or spices to bring in the right flavour and cancel the meat’s flavour. It is one that lets few, but the right spices that work in unison and let the meat retain its flavour which is what we noticed in every distinct dish. She broke another myth that the usually heavy affair that is served in the name of Punjabi Cuisine is a twisted and unhealthy version of the originally light and nourishing North Indian fare. So all in all, tummy happy, body happy! WIN-WIN!