Review: Jamavar, The Leela Palace, New Delhi

So after last week’s review of The Food Mill or as some would say attempt of a review, I was asked by my sister to do this on a weekly basis. She doesn’t admit it but I am sure Stylecity.in got the highest number of hits that day. Anyway, this time she was extremely kind in that she wanted me to review Jamavar – the Indian restaurant at The Leela Palace in Chanakyapuri. This restaurant has been operational for a couple of years now and this week they had their first ever Kashmiri Food festival. Master Chef Vinod Saini assured me that there would be many such themed food festivals in the coming year. Why was I excited? Well even though I was born and raised in Delhi, my ancestors are from Himachal Pradesh which would make me a ‘Pahari’ and a proud one at that. And so from a young age I have had an extreme fondness for mutton. For those who do not know Kashmiri cuisine is mostly mutton based and the Wazwan (a multi course meal) preparation of that cuisine is considered a delicacy due to its tedious preparation that is considered an art form in itself.

Jamavar, Leela Palace, New Delhi

And so I walked into Jamavar and was highly impressed by its ambience and decor. Finally an Indian restaurant in Delhi that can give the other restaurants a run for their money solely based on grandeur. Honestly, with more and more hotels in Delhi going for restaurants with a Mediterranean base for their cuisine I feared that good Indian restaurants would cease to exist, being a huge Indian cuisine enthusiast I am so relieved that isn’t the case. So I asked a friend to accompany me for this review and even though she is vegetarian she claimed to have enjoyed the Kashmiri version of vegetarian food (don’t worry, the status of this friendship is being reviewed as I type this – I am embarrassed to have a vegetarian acquaintance who isn’t family).Now I am no stranger to Kashmiri food, I have been to Srinagar and eaten at Ahdoos, quite rightly proclaimed to be the connoisseur of the Kashmiri Wazwan cuisine. And in Delhi I have eaten at Ahad and Sons and Chor Bizzare, so little did the folks at Jamavar know whom they were dealing with. Having said that, Jamavar did not disappoint, as the quality, opulence and sumptuousness of our experience was remarkable. I would definitely return to this restaurant and try their usual Mughlai menu and hope for many more exotic food festivals that give us a taste of the various cuisines of our country.

Jamavar at The Leela Palace New Delhi

Now before reading further I should point out that this is exactly the kind of place where I feel a little intimidated, based solely on the grandeur. The place has modern interiors with traditional elements seamlessly imbibed together; with gold and brown colour scheme that is almost royal to the crystal chandeliers and grand couches- you instantly know you are in for a majestic experience.They started us off with a ghaant gobi ka achaar, and akhrot and mooley ki chutney to accompany our papad (papadam) and onions. My friend eloquently asked what is ghaant gobi to which all I could muster up was, it’s not really a gobi and doesn’t really have any knots. Not wanting to ruin my appetite by the unusual condiments they served, I eagerly awaited the mutton and specifically the Tabak maaz – a traditional Wazwan dish that is essentially deep-fried ribs. The Tabak Maaz did not disappoint and the Tali Machchi was supreme to say the least. On the vegetarian side of the table (yes, we drew a border) the Nadru Gular and Paneer Tikka was much appreciated. Moving onto the main course the Rista and Gushtaba have always been a favourite of mine. These are essentially finely kneaded minced meatballs and are extremely difficult to get right. Jamavar did a decent job on them but their Maaz Yakhni and Dhaniwaali korma were particularly good. On the other side as expected Jamavar provided a brilliant Haaq ka saag and Kashmiri Rajma, all of which went really well with the rice. Finally for dessert we were served a couple of types of halwas but my favourite by far was the phirni. Not too sweet and truly fresh – just the way I like it.

Now, after a quick chat with the Head Chef and Restaurant Manager we made our way out not before stopping for some meetha paan at the exit. The Manager made us aware that Jamavar has recently changed its children policy and now families are welcome to enjoy this delectable experience with the entire family. So in wrapping up it was quite a satisfying experience and I definitely plan on taking my family there, hope you do the same.

PS: There was a poem I penned for this review that did not make the final cut, I hope this comment does…

Price: Meal for two- Rs.3,000 without alcohol
Rating: Butter Chicken
Rating Scale: Tinda – 0, Idli – 1, Salad – 2, Butter Chicken – 3, Kakori Kebabs – 4, Grandmother’s cooking – 5

Jamavar, The Leela Palace, New Delhi

Dum aloo Kashmiri for 5 portions

Ingredients

Qty

Unit

Small baby potatoes

600

Grams

Asafetida

1

Pinch

Turmeric powder

1/2

Tsp

Kashmiri chilli powder

1

Tsp

Onion ( medium size)

2

No

Yogurt

2

Cup

Garlic paste

1 1/2

Tsp

Ginger paste

1

Tsp

Refined oil (for frying)

100

Ml

Salt

To taste

Fresh milk

1

Cup

For Masala
 Green cardamoms

3-4

No

 Clove

2-3

No

Coriander seed

1

Tbsp

Black cardamom

1

No

Black pepper corn

8-10

No

Saunf whole

1

Tsp

Cinnamon stick

1

No

Method:

  • Make a fine powder of all masala ingredients and keep aside
  • Remove the peels from potatoes and prick them
  • Fry all the potatoes till become golden brown
  • Add grated onion, Asafetida, Ginger and garlic paste till cook well.
  • Fry the mixture till the paste turns brown, add turmeric, chilli powder and salt.
  • Now pour the milk to make gravee followed by adding beaten yogurt
  • Stir continuously and add water if the gravee become thick
  • Add pricked and fried potatoes, simmer few minutes and serve with fresh coriander garnish

Tabak maaz for 5 portions

Ingredients

Qty

Unit

Mutton ribs

800

Grams

Water

750

Ml

Milk

750

Ml

Clove

2-3

No

Cinnamon stick( medium   size)

2

No

Turmeric

1

Pinch

Green cardamom

5-6

No

Black cardamom

2

No

Saunf powder

3

Tsp

Saunth powder

2

Tsp

Cloves of whole garlic

2-3

No

Desi ghee

200

Ml

Salt

As to taste

 

Method:

  • Cut the mutton ribs into the rectangle pieces and wash properly.
  • In a deep vessel pour milk and water.
  • Add clove, cinnamon ,green cardamom, black cardamom, black peppers, whole garlic ( Give a slight crush to all these spice) and put into the vessel with dry ginger, turmeric and Saunf powder.
  • Now add mutton ribs and give a proper boil.
  • Cook on medium heat till Ribs become very soft and cook well.
  • Once the ribs cook well remove the meat pieces one by one with the tong that they don’t break.
  • Take a separate frying pan  heat the desi ghee and shallow fry one by one till it become crisp and golden in color

Nadru Yakhani for 5 portions

Ingredients

Qty

Unit

Lotus stem

800

Grams

Plain yogurt

600

Grams

Mustard oil

100

Ml

Black cardamom

4-5

No

Green cardamom

4-5

No

Green chilli slit

2-3

No

Shahi jeera

1

Tsp

Saunf powder

2

Tsp

Bay leafs

2

No

Cinnamon

2(medium size)

No

Clove

2-3

No

Ginger powder

1

Tsp

Sugar

1

Pinch

Salt

As to taste

Water 200(for boiling)

Ml

Method:

  • Heat the oil in a thick bottom pan add bay leaf, green cardamom, black cardamom, Shahi jeera, cinnamon and water .
  • Add lotus stem simmer around five to eight minute
  • Whisk the yogurt, add into the boiled lotus stem give a proper boil till it become ticker, add salt and a pinch of sugar if need.

Review: Poush

A well-known fact about me is that I am a Delhi girl living in Mumbai. While a less known fact about me is that my lineage from my Dad’s side goes all the way back to Himachal Pradesh. The reason I am taking you people down my family history is cause I love food from up north, especially Himachal and Kashmir, but since I moved to Mumbai I really haven’t had a chance to have from either places. So last week when I got the chance to visit Poush, an authentic Kashmiri food place in Mumbai I jumped at the opportunity. Poush is originally a resort situated on the Mumbai-Ahemdabad expressway. It serves authentic Kashmiri cuisine and takes inspiration from Kashmiri decor. In Mumbai it is situated at World Trade Centre at Cuffe Parade. Poush promises you the essence of Kashmir up till your door-step, atleast if you live within a 2 km radius.

Poush

The restaurant itself is a cosy two level place situated in the Arcade tower at the world trade centre. With over all very simple decor and basic simple wooden chairs and tables, the top floor does have two low seating areas where you can go with a party of six.What I loved was the absolute attention to detail in terms of certain design details. These low seated beds on the top floor are covered by colourful curtains on two sides and display Kashmiri rugs on the other two walls. They have lots of cushions with Kashmiri embroidery. The tableware is authentic Kashmiri carved copper and silver with the patron first washing our hands with a copper jug. The food is then served in silver dishes.

In terms of the taste, the food was delicious. We started with the Kashmiri Spicy Chaman, which is Paneer slices along with tomato, capsicum, onion tossed in Kashmiri red chilli and herbs. This is a dish which was often cooked in my grandparents house so something I am super familiar with and love. Then we got Rajma, which is Rajma beans stewed and cooked in Kashmiri herbs, Dum Aloo, which is boiled potato cooked in red-hot gravy. We called for Roganjosh,which is lamb cooked in its juices on a slow fire with red chili, ginger powder and cloves. This was definitely the dish of the day. The lamb was soft and the gravy was out of this world, with each flavour coming across nice and strong. And finally the Chictaba, which is an authentic Kashmiri dish, that is skillfully pounded chicken pieces made into soft, spongy meatballs, cooked in a curd based gravy and flavoured with saffron. This was the only dish on the menu which may require for you to develop a palate. Like I said I love Kashmiri food so I loved it, but my friend who was a first timer did not quite enjoy it. Oh! I have to mention, we finished our plate of rice and moved onto Tawa chapatis, which has to be the softest chapatis I have ever eaten in a restaurant. We finally rounded off the meal with an authentic Kashmiri dessert-Phirni.
The over all experience was great with the highlight being the authenticity of the Cuisine, so if you happen to be in the area I definitely suggest you stop and try the food. Like I said if you live around the area they also do home-delivery. For me, any time I plan to have an Indian party, especially over Diwali time I plan to call in for catering by Poush for an authentic experience.
Price- Rs.1,500 for a meal for two minus alcohol.
Address- shop 27,Tower 4, WTC, Cuffe Parade,Mumbai 400005
Tel:022-67431114/15.

Roganjoshdum aloo

Recipes- Roganjosh

COOKING TIME 1 1/2 HOUR
YIELD 1 KG 200 GM
INGREDIENT QTY GM QTY NUMBER
MUTTON WITH BONE 1 KG 16 PCS
OIL 267 GM
HING WATER 15 GM
LAUNG 2 GM
SALT 16 GM
GREEN ELAICHI 3 GM
BLACK ELAICHI 1 GM 2 NOS
CHILLI POWDER 67 GMS
WATER
CURDS, WHISKED 125 GMS
SAUNF POWDER 16 GM
GREEN ELAICHI POWDER 1 GM
SOONTH POWDER 2 GM
JEERA POWDER 14 GM
BLACK ELAICHI POWDER 1 GM
TEJ PATTA 1 GM 04 TO 5 PCS

Method

  • POUND LAUNG,   GREEN ELAICHI AND BADA ELAICHI. KEEP ASIDE
  • HEAT OIL IN A VESSEL
  • AFTER 8 MINS, . ADD HING WATER
  • AFTER 1 MIN, ADD MUTTON, SAUTE
  • AFTER 3 MINS, ADD POUNDED MIX, AND   SALT. CONTINUE SAUTEING.
  • AFTER 14 MINS, ADD CHILLI POWDER.
  • IMMEDIATELY ADD 250 ML WATER AND MIX
  • ADD 450 ML WATER LITTLE BY LITTLE.
  • AFTER 2 MINS, ADD CURDS
  • AFTER 2 MORE MINS, ADD 1700 ML WATER
  • CONTINUE SAUTEING.
  • ADD SAUNF POWDER, GREEN ELAICHI   POWDER, SOONTH POWDER, JEERA POWDER, BLACK ELAICHI POWDER,   BAY LEAF.
  • PUT LID AND CONTINUE COOKING ON LOW   FLAME.
  • AFTER 1 HR , REMOVE FROM FLAME.

Recipe- Dum Aloo

INGREDIENT QTY GM
ALOO 500 GM
MUSTARD OIL 50 GM
HING WATER 18 GM
CHILLI POWDER 14 GM
WATER GM
GREEN ELAICHI POWDER 5 GM
LAUNG 1 GM
DAHI 40 GM
SALT 6 GM
SOONTH POWDER 2 GM
JEERA POWDER 3 GM
BLACK ELAICHI POWDER 0.5 GM
SAUNF POWDER 10 GM

Method

  • PUT POTATOES   IN A VESSELFUL OF WATER AND COOK FOR 50 MINS TILL DONE
  • STRAIN , PEEL DEEPFRY IN OIL TILL CRISP.. 40 MINS
  • FOR THE GRAVY, HEAT MUSTARD OIL
  • AFTER 2 MINS, ADD HING WATER, CHILLI   POWDER, 50 GM WATER
  • ADD GREEN ELAICHI POWDER, LAUNG….   STIR FOR 1 MIN, ADD 120 ML WATER
  • AFTER 5 MINS, ADD DAHI, MIX.. KEEP   ADDING 100 ML WATER
  • AFTER 5 MINS ADD 100 ML WATER
  • AFTER 5 MINS, ADD SALT, SOONTH   POWDER, JEERA POWDER,GREEN ELAICHI POWDER, BLACK ELAICHI POWDER, SAUNF   POWDER
  • AFTER 2 MINS, ADD FRIED ALOO , MIX,   COVER WITH LID AND CONTINUE COOKING FOR HALF HOUR ADDING WATER   AT REGULAR INTERVALS.

500 gms aloo gives 250 gms fried aloo