The aromas of mitti waft into Nawab Saheb — the Indian restaurant at Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel — as the chefs prepare a special menu for the ongoing food festival Mitti Ki Khushboo.
The festival presents food that’s infused with earthy scents — the kind you’d experience if you visited a village where they still follow classic cooking practices, such as, using the earthen kadhai, wood fire and chulaah.
To achieve this, the team at Nawab Saheb has brought in earthenware all the way from Khurja, a city in UP that’s known for its pottery that dates back to the 14th century.
They’ve also got a mitti ka tandoor, balti ki bhatti (a mud-plastered makeshift tandoor), deg (a large earthen pot used to cook curries), mattheri (a clay bowl used for marinating meats) and kullads (clay cups).
Speaking about the new menu, which is available until the end of the week, executive chef Sahil Arora says, “The food is not from a specific region. It’s Pan-Indian, with influences from regions like Rajasthan, Lucknow, and Kolkata. It’s all about reviving old-school cooking methods and recipes.”
You can look forward to a variety of Indian kebabs and curries in vegetarian, meat and seafood variants, including dishes you may never have heard about because they come from the nooks and crannies of old towns in India.
The use of mud and clay utensils gives a distinctive flavour to the food, and chef Sahil believes it also soaks up the excess grease, making the food lighter. We’ll take any excuse to be healthy while gorging on good Indian food (which is usually quite heavy)!
Sojati Mutton Ka Kaleri Kebab: This stone-pounded minced lamb kebab simply melts in the mouth. Marinated with roasted ground spices and cooked on a tawa, it’s way spicier than your usual galouti.
Gokarna Lobster: Nawab Saheb makes no compromise on the quality and freshness of its ingredients as is seen with its seafood preparation. This grand lobster kebab is lightly marinated with ajwain and mustard so the flavour of the lobster comes through.
Beawar Murg Ke Pasande: A mildly spiced chicken kebab with flavours of Mathania chilli, ajwain and coriander, this kebab is quite succulent and tasty.
Gulbergi Paneer Tikka: Vegetarians will enjoy this paneer tikka with hints of mustard, cashew and mango chunda. It’s cooked on a hot mitti ka tawa.
Jhinga Kadhai: Spicy, tangy and delicious, this prawn curry with notes of fennel and coriander is a must-try if you love seafood. It’s done in a thick tomato-based gravy and goes well with piping hot naans as well as basmati rice.
Adla Ki Nihari: Don’t miss the lamb shanks curry cooked in a traditional Yakhni preparation with mild but aromatic flavours. They also have a Yakhni biryani finished with lamb, spices, and caramelised onions.
The dessert buffet has lots to choose from; try the soft and sumptuous rasmalai, the gulab jamun, and the moong dal halwa.
Mitti Ki Khushboo will be on through March 25, from 7 pm to 11.30 pm at Nawab Saheb. For details, call 6692 7558.
Image Credit: Nawab Saheb