Singh Sahib at Delhi’s Eros Hotel has organised a unique food festival, called Taseer-E-Hararat, where all the spotlights are trained on seven commonly used ingredients in our kitchens. The festival, which ends this Sunday, features eight main counters, each preparing dishes based only on one ingredient out of Kesar, Laung, Pista, Lahsun, Gosht, Makai and Mirchi—the seven stars of the festival.
The word taseer is the Urdu translation for “effect of”, and hararat means “warmth”. So Taseer-E-Hararat means “Effect of Warmth”, which is the perfectly title for a winter fest. But it’s also a reference to these seven ingredients , which provide the effect of warmth to our bodies through their unique taste.
Executive Chef Nikhil Rastogi spoke to Guardian 20 about the idea behind the festival. “Food for thought nowadays is the new thought for food,” he said. “Singh Sahib at Eros Hotel is a place where we constantly strive for evolvement in our dishes. This winter, we thought of using certain ingredients from our rich reserve. With so much of therapeutical values attached to our spices and ingredients since ancient times, we have created some recipes that bring about warmth in our bodies in this chilly winter of Delhi. The individual kiosks have been structured around seven different ingredients constituting of three different dishes which can be a soup, a starter, a main or an even a dessert.”
He added, “There’s a separate dessert counter with the usual suspects like Phirni and Kesar Milk. This thought was a brainchild of a casual discussion with the senior chefs of our hotel some three months back wherein the importance of highlighting and taking pride in our own ingredients was stressed on. It finally culminated in this festival being the talk of the town in just a week’s time.”
The festival offers eight counters, and at each counter the dishes range from starters to dessert—everything made from only one ingredient.
The counter titled “Kesar ki Rangat” includes dishes like “Kahwah” which is a traditional green tea preparation from Kashmir. In this beverage green tea is infused with a range of spices including cinnamon and cardamom and served with a touch of saffron. Then there is “Zaffrani badam ka shorba” which is a saffron flavoured, thick almond soup seasoned with Indian spices. “Keseri Subz Biryani” at this counter is a vegetarian biryani—a delicious and aromatic preparation of rice, saffron-flavoured vegetables and spices cooked in a traditional Afghani style.
The second counter, which offers dishes made primarily with chilly is called “Mirchi Da Chuank”. It includes “Gosht Nurani Shorba” and “Khameeri Roti” (Lamb broth seasoned with Indian spices, served with fermented bread); “Adana Kebab” (Adana kebabı is a long, hand-minced meat kebab mounted on a wide iron skewer and grilled on an open barbeque filled with burning charcoal); “Hari Singh Nalwa Ki Raan Pasand” (Marinated lamb leg cooked in clay oven and served with fragrant rice); “Marchwangan Korma” (Spicy Kashmiri lamb curry).
On the third counter was pista. Here, visitors can find “Rawalpindi Murgh musallam” (chicken roulade served with velvety pistachio gravy and seasoned with aromatic spices); “Piste Kukad Ka Salan” (chicken cooked with thin pistachio gravy); “Pista Mawe Di Seekh” (combination of khoa, pistachio, spices and creamy cheese mounted on an iron skewer and cooked on charcoal); “Chudidar Pista Aloo” (batter fried spring cut potato seasoned with salt and pepper, and served with pista chutney).
The fourth counter is “Lahsoon ki Mahak” where the main ingredient is garlic. The fifth counter is called “Lavaung ki Dungar”, which includes all dishes cooked with clove. The sixth is “Makai Ki Ronak” where the highlight is corn. The seventh counter is “Roti ki Tokri” and this includes all kind of breads. In addition, there’s one last counter, called “Meetha” meant for dessert.
In total, there are eight counters, seven for ingredient-specific food and the last for dessert. Another highlight of the festival is that the counters are not limited to a particular course like soups, appetizers or main course. In fact, each counter may serve them all. So the diners get the chance to explore each counter and choose delicacies that suit their palate.
The dessert counter caters to the sweet tooth and will tempt a foodie with delectable dishes like “Akhrot Ka Halwa” (walnut and sugar syrup dessert flavored with cardamom and garnished with almonds and pistachio); “Zarda” (Rice dessert made with milk and sugar, and flavoured with cardamoms, raisins, saffron, pistachios or almonds); and “Dudh Ki Kadhai” (Milk heated in deep kadhai with saffon and cardamom) to name a few.
Offering indoor and outdoor sitting, the Singh Sahib restaurant is an excellent venue when it comes to décor. The simplicity in the ambiance, the aromas of the food cooked in the live kitchen and the soothing tones of ghazals enhance the overall dining experience and send it to another level.