Shahi Mughal Dastarkhwan Food Festival

Jun 06 2024.

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Experience the Shahi Mughal Dastarkhwan Food Festival at the Courtyard by Marriott Colombo, running until June 9, 2024. This grand celebration of Mughlai cuisine, curated by Chef Asif Qureshi from Courtyard by Marriott Bhopal, India, offers a rich journey into the flavours and traditions of this historic culinary art. As a prelude to the main event, an exclusive Chef’s Table was held, offering guests a sneak peek into the culinary delights of the festival.

Mughlai cuisine, known for its aromatic spices, succulent meats, and fragrant rice dishes, is a culinary fusion from the Mughal Empire era. Chef Qureshi, who hails from a distinguished lineage of chefs in India, has carefully crafted a menu that blends tradition with innovation. Chef Asif Qureshi, with 17 years of experience in Mughlai cuisine, brings his expertise to Colombo. The Chef’s Table showcased an array of dishes.

The menu at the Shahi Mughal Dastarkhwan Food Festival is extensive, featuring both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. The dishes include a variety of appetisers, main courses, and desserts, all crafted to showcase the richness of Mughlai cuisine. Throughout the evening, Chef Qureshi shared anecdotes and insights into the culinary traditions that inspire his dishes. This engagement added a cultural dimension to the festival, making it an enriching experience for the mind. The meal began with Shorba e Khass, a rich mutton Yakhni Shorba, delicately flavoured with saffron. This soup is a comforting introduction that warms the palate.  

Appetisers like Nawabi Paneer Tikka, marinated with Indian spices and yoghurt, are perfectly grilled, offering a balance of smokiness and tenderness. The Chukandar Khas Khas Ki Tikki, with beetroot and poppy seeds cooked in desi ghee, was an interesting flavour. Non-vegetarian kebab enthusiasts will enjoy the Awadhi Murgh Tangdi Kebab, chicken drumsticks marinated in yoghurt and spices, cooked over charcoal to give them a deliciously smoky flavour. The Mutton Galouti Kebab, served with Khasta Paratha, features soft mutton patties that melt in the mouth - with a texture akin to a pate - complemented by a flaky paratha. Moving on to the main courses, the festival offers an interesting variety of dishes.

The rice dishes, Kathal Ki Biryani with tender jackfruit pieces and Awadhi Murgh Dum Biryani with aromatic spices offer hearty options. Non-vegetarian main courses like Murgh Nawabi Korma, an aromatic royal chicken dish, and Mutton Rogan Josh, a traditional slow-cooked mutton stew, stand out for their tender meat. The vegetarian Dum Ki Subziya features assorted vegetables cooked with aromatic Indian spices in a sealed pot, a testament to the art of slow cooking. The Shahi Paneer Pasanda, with cottage cheese stuffed with dry nuts and fruits in a creamy gravy, adds a luxurious touch. The Dal E Khaas (Dal Bukhara), a slow-cooked lentil dish prepared overnight with butter, tomato, and cream, complements the main courses perfectly.

The variety of Mughlai bread, including Sheermal, a saffron and nut-infused soft flatbread, and Varaky Tawa Paratha, a layered Indian bread traditionally cooked with butter, are perfect accompaniments to the rich and flavourful gravies. Tandoori Roti, served with garlic naan and fresh mint chutney, adds another layer of flavour to the meal. The festival culminates with decadent desserts like Bahl Tukde, providing a perfectly sweet ending to the meal. Its rich and balanced flavours leave a lasting impression on the palate.

The Shahi Mughal Dastarkhwan Food Festival will captivate food enthusiasts from May 31 to June 09, 2024, for a 10-day long odyssey through the world of Mughlai cuisine. Taking place at the Beira Kitchen, Courtyard by Marriott Colombo, starting from 7:00 PM onwards. Tickets are priced at LKR 5,800++ for the dinner buffet and LKR 8,500++ for the buffet with free-flowing beverages.


Rihaab Mowlana

Rihaab Mowlana is the Deputy Features Editor of Life Plus and a journalist with a passion for crafting captivating narratives. Her expertise lies in feature writing, where she brings a commitment to authenticity and a keen eye for unique perspectives. Follow Rihaab on Twitter & Instagram: @rihaabmowlana


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