3 States at Jamavar The Leela Mumbai
Today, as a major part of the nation brings in their new year with a lot of fervour and zest, am taken back to the wonderful meal that we had at The Leela celebrating food from 3 of the 4 states that celebrate their new year today: Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
The “3 States Festival” as it is called, is an annual affair and the brainchild of Chef Surender Mohan who is the Corporate Chef, Indian Cuisine, The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts and Culinary Director of Jamavar and Bombay Bustle, London where he brings in his recipes of regional dishes of the cuisine, accompanied by years of experience and his undying passion to give you nothing but the best on your plate.
Amongst my best dining experience at The Leela, Mumbai till date; the food from the ongoing 3 States festival was mesmerising to say the least!
While Chef insisted we sample dishes from all the three regions, my inner Punjaban refused and insisted on the Punjabi fare from the festival and after my meal, I was sure of one thing, no regrets, stuffed enough to wonder if I could walk out to the lobby and satisfied enough to know that I was leaving with an experience of a lifetime!
What we had:
Pedha Lassi: Originating in Amritsar, the Pedhewaali Lassi is a summer favourite; rich, thick and luscious lassi flavoured with generous portions of saffron, dry fruits and an addition of malai pedha; this one truly was royalty in every sip, and definitely the perfect way to beat the crazy heat that we are facing. Couldn’t have asked for a better way to begin our meal.
Multani Paneer Tikka: The first dish to come to our table, the Multani Paneer Tikka was accompanied by a quenelle of hand churned garlic chutney. Marinated in green spices and stuffed with dry fruits, the perfect combination of melt in mouth paneer and the spicy-sweet flavours left us asking for more.
Kerala Samosa: Our only South Indian dish for the evening, this samosas came with fresh coconut chutney as an accompaniment. Stuffed with cabbage cooked with mustard seeds and turmeric this was very different compared to the usual samosa that we eat and definitely a welcome change!
Aloo Tikki Chaat: Ghee fried Aloo Tikki stuffed with Fresh Peas on a bed of ragda (as we Mumbaikars call it) and topped generously with curds, tamarind chutney, pomegranate seeds and salad, this was the dish of the evening for me! There was something about the tikki that was so magical that I actually fought to finish it off!
Punjabi Pakoda Kadhi: Another favourite from Punjab, the pakoda kadhi, unlike the Gujarati Kadhi that we usually make is a little on the sour side. I recently fell in love with this particular dish when I had it at my bhabhi’s place last year and haven’t let go of an opportunity to relish this dish ever since!
Paneer Makhanwala: The good old Paneer Makhanwala, and as it is rightly said, the simplest of dishes are the most difficult to master, but Chef Surender Mohan’s recipe is definitely something that can be passed down generations (makes a mental note of trying to get the recipe out of him the next time I meet him). Delicious and not very sweet; just some hot naan with this and you are all set to experience heaven on your plate!
Sarson Da Saag: What is a meal celebrating Baisakhi like without any Sarson Da Saag and MAkki Di Roti and some Gud (jaggery) and generous amounts of Makkhan! The very thought of it takes me back to my multiple visits to Punjab and experiencing life, the way one can only experience it there! The Saag that Chef Surender made was creamy, smooth and mouth watering. So good that it was difficult to stop going back to it for seconds and thirds!
Dal Jamavar: No meal at Jamavar is complete without their signature Dal Jamavar; a small portion of this at the end of the meal was all that I needed to end a tiring day and ensure a good night’s sleep!
Stuffed and satisfied, we decided to give dessert a miss and walked out of Jamavar with a smile of joy on our faces.
The 3 States festival at Jamavar is on till the 18th of April and can be relished every evening till then!
Go enjoy, a royal dining experience where your meal is definitely going to be unlike any other experience that you may have ever had!