Monday, 7 September 2015

Spice Island Flavors of Tamil Nadu

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Dakshin at ITC Windsor is known to celebrate the rich heritage of the four Southern states of South India. The offering is diverse spanning from Kerala's Meen Moilee, Chettiyar's Chettinad lamb chops, Kori Gassi of the Karnataka bunts and Andhra Pradesh's Mamsam Koora. 

ITC Hotels under the aegis of 'Kitchens of India' has been consistently showcasing the unique and undiscovered cuisines or cooking styles of India. This time around at ITC Windsor's Dakshin, the theme was 'Discover a heritage dived by ocean' but united by History'. At the helm of the Kitchen was Priya Bala - an eminent writer of food and travel, a home cook to say the least. Her food speaks stories of how her cooking skills have been inspired by her childhood in Sri Lanka, cuisine of Madurai and the deep south of Tamil Nadu.

In short, this is an undiscovered cuisine of Southern Tamil Nadu melded with the fabulous, fragrant and famous cuisine of Sri Lanka. Over the course of the evening, it was only getting clearer that food is not just about History but also about geography. We were able to notice similarities and influences of even the South-East Asian countries in this cuisine. 

The menu composed of a wide array of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. These were simple home style preparations. In appetisers or 'Prambham' as Dakshin categorises my favourite were 'Fish Cutlets' which were drum-fried parcels of flaked fish in a really mild seasoning. The texture and flavor of the fish was exquisite and a dish that really had 'comfort food' written all over it. Had it not been for an extravagant affair that awaited us, I would have indulged in more of these beauties.

In the mains, We loved the burst of flavors presented by 'Annasi Perattal' a pineapple curry scented with cinnamon and fennel. It was sweet, tangy, had a hint of spice and really robust in flavor. The flavor was addictive and I did not leave the cup down until it was all polished off. There was also a delicious Lamb curry called 'Errachi Curry' which was also nice but the the winner clearly was the pineapple curry.

'Lamprais' was for me a clear winner in meat dishes. It was a delicious banana leaf parcel of fragrant rice topped with curried chicken cutlet, sambol and vegetables. It was a complete meal wrapped and baked in banana leaf. 

What also shined bright was the combination of Iddiypam Kothu with Sodhi; a mild and fragrant coconut curry. This combination was a star.

In desserts, we absolutely loved the simple 'Kiri Pani' - thick yogurt topped with palm jaggery syrup. After a heavy meal, a simple and light dessert like this can only take the dining experience a notch higher. Close second was 'Love Cake' - cashew meal cake scented with rose water and spices.

It was yet another memorable meal at ITC Hotels and this time exploring a unique cuisine or cooking style.

Address: Dakshin, ITC Windsor, 25 Windsor Square, Golf Course Road, Near Sankey Road, Bangalore
Phone Number: +91 80 2226 9898