To start off with what exactly is MasterChef chronicles, firstly this is a brilliant idea to come up with. The MasterChef chronicles is like a series across all Dakshins of ITC hotels. The head chefs of the 4 Dakshin restaurants (ITC Maratha, Mumbai, ITC Windsor Bangalore, Sheraton , New Delhi and ITC Kakatiya, Hyderabad) travel to the other Dakshins to showcase food from their hometown.
The first one at ITC Kakatiya is by Chef Sakala Sankara. Chef Sankara who hails from Madanapalli, Rayalaseema is a true master of the cuisine and heads the Kitchen of Dakshin. Commonly referred as a dry land , lack of fertile soil and water. Some of the produce include tomatoes, mango ,groundnut, millets , tamarind etc. These are some common ingredients which play a major role in the food.
Unlike North Indian cuisine , the food here is light and wholesome. The gravies are coarser with no use or minimal use of nut pastes making it lighter when compared. The flavours are rustic and bold because of the fresh ground spices that go in.
So lets get started. #Hyderabadfoodexplorer #ITCKakatiya
The restaurant has a stunning ambience. Extremely well lit and walls filled with art work. The covers are beautifully set with silverware. Every table has a bowl with jasmine , a natural freshener.
Lets get straight to the food.
The ongoing festival has 3 set menus. Vegetarian , Non Vegetarian (chciken and mutton) and Seafood. Although the mains and appetizers are slightly different , a few of them remain constant in all of them.
We started with the welcome drink, Allam Nimakaya rasam, a fragrant , refreshing drink with medicinal properties. The soup , Tellagadda Kodi Charu. Its a slightly spicy chicken soup with a prominent flavour of garlic. Extremely light, soothing and perfect for a rainy day , actually any day. The bits of chicken were the best part. One of the star dishes of the day.
For the appetizers we had Alasanda Vada – Black eyed beans (lobiya in hindi) mashed and mixed along with onion , chillies , lentil and basic masalas , made into flat coin shaped fritters and fried until crisp and golden brown. Went really well along with the chutneys. Pullantu with Urimindi is made with rice and lentils again, they have a slight sour aftertaste due to the fermentation process. Naatu kodi Vepudu was another star dish. The masala in which the county chicken was cooked was the main reason. Not too spicy , a good amount of onions made it much better. Can definitely go for repeated servings , skipping the rest. Koorina kakarakai , can be considered as a appetizer or a main course. This was steamed bitter gourd with a slightly sweet and spicy filling. The use of jaggery in the filling worked beautifully in cutting down the slight natural bitterness of the bitter gourd.
Endrakaya Tellagadda vepudu was made using fresh mud crabs. You always have to work an extra bit to relish crab. If you are patient enough and like crabs then this could be your dish. Maamsam Vepudu was another favourite of mine. Nothing fancy. Basic good home style food. Pandu Gappa fry was made using dried anchovies. Rayalaseema doesn’t have much access to fresh fish, hence you see a lot of dried seafood in the preparations.
It was time for Mains. We had quite a lot again. From the Vegetarian ones Perthi Chikudukaya Thalimphu and Chinna erragadala karam. Broad beans cooked in a Tomato and onion base. Minimal spices, simple flavours. The curry with small onions was also similar in its own way. Endu Chapa Vankaya pulusu needs an acquired taste. Its because of the dried fish. Not everyone will like it at the first try. It has a robust flavour that becomes acceptable or liked after a few tries.
Nethi Beerakaya pappu ( ridge gourd dal) and Batani Urlagadda (white peas and potato curry) were equally good. What went well with the Nookala Saddha Sanghati was the Boyakonda Kodi kura. A home style , common dish from the district of Boyakonda Gangamma.
We also tried the pulaos. The best one of them was the Gurram Konda Vetamaamsam Pulao. Absolutely loved it. The mutton was cooked to perfection and the flavored rice was really good as well. Chinna Royyala pulao and chicken pulao were good as well.
We were stuffed already but then you can always make space for desserts. That’s a super power. We had 3 desserts. Sanaga Pappu Payasam was a good one, it had chana dal , sago , coconut and sweetned with jaggery. Chelimindi was a star dessert. Thick and creamy , slight similarities of basundi. Thickned with rice flour and has a hint of cardomom. Suganthu , a batter fried dumpling stuffed with chana dal and jaggery mixture.
A end to a meal is complete with some paan and filter coffee. Couldn’t take a picture of the filter coffee but this has to be one of the best in the city.
Service, Location and Pricing:
The service was extremely smooth, luxury dining with a equally good service.
The fest is on till 21st July. This is on only for Lunches. The best part has to be the pricing.
Vegetarian: 1300 ++, Non Vegetarian (chicken and mutton): 1300++ and Seafood at 1500++
Address: ITC Kakatiya, 6-3-1187, Begumpet, Hyderabad
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