Shahjahanabad ki Sair- A shahi Dawat by food enthusiast Osama Jalali & his mother Nazish Jalali

Osama Jalali & Nazish Jalali

Osama Jalali & Nazish Jalali

What: Shahjahanabad ki Sair food festival

Where: Ssence, Hotel The Suryaa

The Suryaa Hotel is proud to announce their week long food festival SHAHJAHANABAD, a journey through authentic Mughlai cuisine. The event is being curated by food enthusiast Osama Jalali along with his mother Nazish Jalali, hosting a fabulous dawat.

Now let me take on a joy ride of Osama’s life and his affair with food along with his Ammi jaan Nazish ji who not only cooks delicious food but is also a very warm and loving female like all mothers are but i must say she’s a special one, since she’s been feeding so many kids from so long.

Osama Jalali is a seasoned food critic and consultant, who contribute mainly for The Hindu along with other publications. He comes from a non-hospitality background and has reviewed over more than 2000 restaurants. Osama is one of the few writers who have not restrained himself to just writing but loves to work on the other side of the kitchen as he cooks and curates community/Khandaan (Awadhi, Rampuri, Shahjahani, Nizami)-based menus with her mother Nazish Jalali for hotels and private Daawat’s. Born and brought up in the bylanes of Old Delhi / Purani Dilli his parental roots belong to a princely estate in Uttar Pradesh called Rampur which is famous for its unique Rampuri cuisine.

Osama’s passion for food began at an early age when he used to witness his mother cooking meals in huge amounts in deghs at the feasts organized at their home very often. The flavors and ingredients used by his mother made him curious to earn more knowledge on how these delicacies are prepared. He spent his childhood among Khansamas of Delhi & Rampur gharana. That was the time when his mother learnt a lot from royal Khansamas which eventually got transferred to Osama. He loves to pass his day treating people, sharing his food and talking about the joy of eating together.

Osama Jalali

Osama Jalali

Osama Jalali is the natural inheritor to this rich legacy. His grandfather was the head Mufti in the Fatehpuri Mosque who had performed the dastarbandi when Shahi Imam Abdullah Bukhari was installed in office. His father graduated as a doctor in the first batch of students from the medical college set up by legendary Hakim and nationalist Ajmal Khan. He practiced medicine lifelong in the walled city called shehar lovingly by the residents. Many of the gifted karigars , khansamas and most of the owners and their families were his patients. It is from these friends and acquaintances that his mother Nazish Jalali collected rare recipes that are now being showcased at this festival.

The Jalali’s trace their ancestral roots to the riyasat of Rampur that lies halfway between Delhi and Lucknow. It was this principality that provided refuge and patronage to master chefs, musicians and painters whenever Delhi was ravaged by invaders and finally lost its Imperial luster after the tumultuous aftermath of 1857. Before his ancestors migrated to Delhi they had imbibed a taste of Royal Rampur – a harmonious blend of Robust Rohila and Delicate Awadhi temperaments. Osama’s mother is exceptionally gifted to prepare and serve food to her guests who are truly blessed.

I feel blessed to be a part of such an extravagant food festival where not only I was served great food but also was taken back to my childhood days of Old Delhi, yes Nazish ji and I have same memories and love for “Purani Dilli” and that’s what made me closer to her on the dinner table. She not only described me how a perfect piece of mutton is chosen for Kebabs and Biryani but also told me how she lived in those narrow lanes of Old Delhi which made me feel at home even when I was sitting in a restaurant of a plush 5- star Hotel of Delhi. It was truly ” A home away from home.” experience for me.

Now let’s get onto the food. Oh well till now you guys must have realised how extra ordinary the food was at the Shahjahanabad ki Sair. This extravagant food festival will see both veg & non veg, Mughlai delicacies ranging from varieties of kebabs and qeemas to ghosht and tikkas. The event will have classic dishes like Mutton Qorma and Biryani as well as new variants such as Hari Mirch Qeema and Shah Zarda, which are integral to this cuisine.

Aloo Gosht

Aloo Gosht

Biryani

Biryani

Hari Mirch Qeema

Hari Mirch Qeema

First Thing first,  the food as I mentioned above was something I had never had. Yes! Even after spending 24years of my life in Delhi I’ve hardly had tasted such soft Kebabs or so smooth and flavorful Biryani. The Hari Mirch Qeema was introduced to me first time and i was flattered by the taste. Aloo Gosht though sounds very basic was a surprise with strong essence of spices and perfectly cooked potatoes with Mutton.

kebab Platter

kebab Platter

Nihari

Nihari

Nihari was to die for out of all the dishes, ask me why? Because you don’t get that taste anywhere except from a Muslim household that hails from Old Delhi and is still stuck on the old style or rather authentic cooking. Nazish ji makes all these delicacies herself in the kitchen of Ssence, Hotel Suryaa and of course the courteous staff that they have helps her all this while and learns a trick or two from her. For desserts we had “Zarda” and “Imarti in Kullhad wala doodh” one can actually count the rice lentils in the bowl while eating zarda, a dessert served with cashew nuts, mawa and chironji. While discussing about the zarda Nazish ji told me that she has kept the amount of sugar a little low as compared to what they serve in Rampur because people these days are either health conscious or have Diabetes. And she too likes it low as too uch sweetness kills the dish. Next on the table was “Imarti in Kullhad wala Doodh” the moment this arrived on my table I went back to my childhood where my grandfather used to get Kullhad or clay glass filled with milk in winters for us.

Shahi Zarda

Shahi Zarda

Imarti in Kullhad wala doodh

Imarti in Kullhad wala doodh

All the utensils are embossed copper that has been tinned a la Kashmir. I don’t often say this but if you are a meat eater, just go. It’s on till the 21st of December at Ssence, The Suryaa. Rs 1950 for the entire buffet, of which four starters, four main courses and two desserts are made by the Jalalis.

Osama Jalali and his mother Nazish Jalali and me

Osama Jalali and his mother Nazish Jalali and me

If you call yourself a food lover or a foodie then i would insist you to go visit and taste the delicacies yourself!!

Happy eating & Happy reading!!!

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. vivekexpo
    Dec 16, 2014 @ 18:34:29

    so yumm….. and nice one…..

    Reply

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