Chennai restaurants gear up to welcome plethora of New Years (Foodie Trail)
Restaurants in star hotels here have chalked out elaborate dining plans to welcome different New Years ranging from Thai or Songkran to Bengali, Tamil and Malayalam between April 11-20.
"At Chap Chay Asian stir-fry restaurant, the Thai New Year food festival is for 10 days beginning from the first day of Songkran - April 11 - and continues till April 20. The festival focuses on the ethnicity of the dishes," executive sous chef Peter Tseng told IANS.
He said the chefs at Chap Chay would whip out dishes like seekhrong Moo Nam Makham -roast pork baby back ribs topped with tamarind and chilli; Pla Ob Lard Kheemao - baked seabass marinated in Thai spice blend in banana leaves and Koong Sod Phad Khing - Scampi stir fried with black fungus mushrooms, ginger and fresh red chillies.
For vegans, the delicacies includes Khanom Phad Ga - stir fried radish cake with beansprouts and chilli and Fakthong Ob Saus Salane - baked yellow pumpkin topped with chilli and mint sauce.
Tseng said for those who don't fancy and a-la-carte menu, a four course tasting set menu is available at Rs.1,250 plus.
Lotus, the Thai specialty restaurant at The Park Hotel here, has also planned a Songkran festival.
According to the hotel spokesperson, the Thai New Year is traditionally a time to visit and pay respects to elders including family members, friends, neighbours and monks.
Throwing of water at each other is one of the major elements of the celebrations.
Some of the specialties that the chefs at the Lotus would offer April 11-20 are: Steamed kaffir lime scented crab cakes wrapped in banana leaves, Drunken style asparagus with shimeji mushrooms and baby corn, Mango and rice pudding in banana leaf cups and Jackfruit and black pepper gelato and caramelized cashewnuts.
The hotel will also offer a special spread of Bengali dishes at its round-the-clock restaurant 601. Some of the items include: Kolkata-style Chicken Biryani, Bhetki Maacher Fry, Ghee Bhaat, Misthi Doi and Langcha.
At the Taj Coramandel's Southern Spice restaurant, the food spread on Tamil New Year April 14 comprises of Vaazhai Thandu Chaaru (a flavorful extract of banana stem spiked with fenugreek, cilantro and pepper), Kaaraikudi Kozhi Jeeragam (a cumin and cilantro flavored chicken curry from the houses of Chettiyars), Thanjavur Kari Varuval (lamb morsels cooked with shallots, chillies and deep fried with a coat of egg), Naatukkai Yeral Kozhambu (prawns cooked with country vegetables), Kaaikari Mandi (A melange of seasonal vegetables simmered in starch water and traditional spices), among others.
All this can be accompanied by Parota (flaky Malabar-style bread), Masala Uttappam (rice and lentil pancakes topped with onion, tomato and chilli), Thakkali Pudhina Saadam (tomato and mint-flavored rice) and Steamed Ponni Rice.
The traditional deserts include Semiya Javarisi Payasam (vermicelli and sago reduced milk pudding) and Godhumai Halwa (whole wheat confection from the hamlets of Tirunelveli).
The next day, April 15, lovers of Kerala food can enjoy the special Vishu menu that includes several vegetarian and non-vegetarian items like Pineapple Rasam (a flavorful extract of pineapple spiked with cumin and pepper), Chemeen Kakkathil (prawn in fiery chilly and tomatoes cooked dry with coconut oil), Neimeen Vattichadhu (seer fish cubes slow simmered in a tangy and spicy curry spiked with kodumpulli), Naadan Kozhi Curry (country style chicken curry flavored with cumin and coconut milk), Avial (a medley of vegetables slow simmered with yoghurt and a home-ground mix of chillies, coconut and cumin), Olan (string beans stewed with onions in coconut milk) and others.
All this goes well with Idiyappam (string hoppers), Parota, Appam, Steamed Ponni Rice and Red Rice.
The meal ends with traditional desserts - Paal Ada Payasam ((rice flakes simmered in sugar and reduced milk with a hint of green cardamom) and Chakka Pradhaman (jackfruit and coconut milk delicacy).
The Raintree restaurant at Vivanta by Taj-Connemara will offer traditional food items on a banana leaf that can be savoured with steamed rice, Applam/Vadam/Vathal and Thayir Sadam.
The delectable desserts include Palaplham Halwa (jackfruit Halwa), Semiya Paysam and Banana Appam.
(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
(Posted on 11-04-2014)