After exploring some classic non veg recipes that have been a part of the menu at Shervani since its inception, we joined the genial team at the resort for a gratifying Kumaoni bhoj. It is a set platter that brings together the traditional flavours from this region. We were excited to try the rustic style dishes made with locally sourced veggies and meat.
Before the meal we joined Chef Gopal and Chef Negi at the makeshift outdoor kitchen to learn about the preparation of some of the quintessential recipes. First was the turn of bhutwa, a dish made of goat's offal. It was a spicy dish prepared with onion tomato masala and everyday spices. While it simmered away on low heat, Chef Negi prepared a green chilli flavoured salt called pisi loon. It is a common condiment in this region and the flavours vary from herbs to spices.
Sensing our curiosity for the local veggies kept aside in the baskets, Chef Gopal introduced us to them. The two vegetables among the lot that were somewhat new to us were gaderi and gaithi.
Next we went ahead to prepare shallow fried red lentil cakes called badeel. These diamond shaped snacks were spicy, crunchy and fluffy. This was followed by a very special wintertime dish called Bhanga chicken. It was a creamy and nutty chicken curry made of hemp seeds paste that grows in abundance in this region. The process was simple and interesting.
Finally we wrapped up the cooking spree with madua ke jamun. It is a healthy twist to the regular gulab jamun where all purpose flour is replaced with finger millet flour. They were delicious.
Finally it was time to head inside and enjoy the kumaoni meal in the traditional manner that is sitting on the floor. The miscellaneous spread consisted of fritters, condiments, soup, main course dishes and desserts. The eating experience was enriched with various culinary anecdotes and stories. A local folk song marked the perfect end to this bhoj.