|Galouti Kabab with Ulta Tawa Parantha at The Great Kebab Factory,Radission Blu Plaza
Gorging at kayashta food festival that too curated by Anoothi Vishal (Renowned restaurant critic and lifestyle writer, brilliant cook and she is kayastha too J ) was like coming home. Being a kayastha myself, I have been cooking and eating these dishes for very long.
The invitation from The Great Kebab factory at Radission blu, Mahipalpur, which I consider to be one of the most consistent restaurant in five star category – I couldn’t have missed it! I have been to the great kebab factory many times in past. Here is my review of the place.
This time it was different as the invitation was for kayastha food festival curated by Famous food critic and writer Anoothi Vishal and her aunt. Kayastha food has long history and largely influenced by Muslim cuisines, known for their lavish spread and sophisticated lifestyle. They have also been known for their rich culture, tradition. Be it the famous singer Mukesh, or the Superstar Amitabh Bachchan, also his great father Harivanshrai Bachchan, Mahadevi Verma or the famous Urdu and English poet and writer Raghupat Sahay, aka Firaq Gorakhpuri, popular in University of Allahabad for his excellent command over literature.
To understand the history of kayastha food, we also need to understand their history and how they changed over the period. They are majorly found in north india specially in UP and larger parts of bihar(both were part of bengal state then). Trace their root, their decedent, “Chitragupta” who was “accountant” of Yama, the god of death. This clearly reflects their profession, book keeping and accounting. They also worship their book and pens on chitagupta puja. Most of the north India people always accept that if you belong to kayastha family then it simply means education is your first priority. Highly educated and very sophisticated kayastha community have very strong Muslim influence, not only Mughals but also nawab of awadhs. As an example, Birbal – One of the nine jewels of Great Akbar court.
During Mughal period in India kayashta were very well placed and part of Mughal administration, one the most active community. Decline of Mughals and rise of nawabs and other dynasty had also impacted a lot on there ever evolving cuisines of kayastha. Infact, they were known to be very close to all the Muslims khansamas, because of their love for non-veg and were always invited by mughal’s khansamas to taste their food.
Kayastha were sometimes also called as half Muslims because they were perhaps the only community in hind who were never afraid of eating non-veg. They have very unique and distinct amalgamation of upper Muslim and upper Hindu caste. It is also reflected in their dress as they prefer to wear sherwani like Muslims unlike dhoti and kurta which is traditionally Hindu.
Their cuisines never came out and it has always been confined to the four walls. One of the reasons you will not find kayastha food in any restaurant. Kayastha has nine subcastes and each has their own distinct food, flavor and cuisine. Kayastha food is lavish spread that focusses more on slow cooking and unlike the typical north Indian food where butter and cream are extensively used.
The Great Kebab factory, is probably India’s first restaurant where grilled food or Kebabs are extensively served. I have been told that they have more than 450 variety of kebabs to offer on their daily changing menu. I have already shared my review on this.
Kalmi vade, butte ki chakri in veg starter or shami kebab and fried fish in non-veg starters – every bite is heaven!
Shami kebab has typical Awadhi influence that is and so are the other starters. For mains, we had daal aamchori, my favourite arhar daal with dash of amchoor powder that makes it tangy and delicious. “Take paise” which is like gate ki sabji, cooked in gravy of onion and garlic is sheer bliss. Bhuna gosht was perfectly cooked and is great example of slow cooking. We finished our meal with lauki ki lunj which was perfect, but makhane ki kheer wasn’t that impressive and I felt it should have been on fire little longer.
This experience I must say, you shouldn’t miss, for simple reason – You will never get it in any restaurant.
On Wednesdays and Thursdays, through November, savor the select culinary vegetarian and non-vegetarian favorites of these connoisseurs of fine dining.
Timings: 7.00pm –midnight
Price : Rs. 1300 plus taxes for vegetarians
: Rs.1500 plus taxes for non-vegetarians
Picture Courtesy – Radisson Blu Plaza Delhi