Master Chef Chronicles – Chef Velu, ITC Kakatiya

We are back with the second segment of the Master Chef Chronicles. If you aren’t sure of this, please search for master chef Chronicles by Chef Sakala Sankara from the blog list.

Chef Velu is the kitchen executive ( Chef de cuisine) of Dakshin , ITC Sheraton, Delhi. Chef Velu hails from the south and has started exploring food that belongs to a very secretive tribal group, the Muthuvan Hill Tribe.

How did this community come into existence?

The people who formed this group were residents of Madurai, Kannagi and a few other nearby regions covering the border towns and villages of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. When the sultan was ruling them it lead to a lot of differences between the Hindus and Muslims, to avoid this people started moving deep into the forests where they aren’t affected by these. They started their own cultivation like ragi, other millets and had access to natural ingredients like turmeric , spices etc.

Every year they visit to the Meenakshi amma temple in madurai and have a grand feast along with their pooja rituals. They are considered to be royal tribes with white and white clothing and have their hair tied. A lot of struggle went in to get out a few dishes and Chef Velu still says there is a lot to be explored and he shall work on it.

Lets get started. #hyderabadfoodexplorer #ITCKakatiya #MasterchefChronicles


The restaurant has a stunning ambience. Extremely well lit and walls filled with art work. The covers are beautifully set with silverware. Its always like a royal dine feel at dakshin. (from the previous post)


One good part about their fest is their menu. They have 3 different thalis. Vegetarian, Lamb and poultry and seafood. This way you can taste everything in smaller quantities rather going for a Ala carte menu.

We started the meal with Sambaram , a spiced buttermilk with lemon grass. It had a tempering of curry leaves and mustard seeds.

Setsoop was the soup course. It isn’t something the tribes had but was made in the nearby areas which might have a few similarities. This was one of its kind, in between a sambar and something else. Its made with fresh turmeric, coconut milk, cumin seeds, mixed vegetables and a tempering.


The next course is one of my favorites at Dakshin. You have mini versions of some classics along with some pachadis ( chutneys). We had beetroot uttapam, paniyaram and their specialty and one of my favorite the banana dosa ( coin shaped).


We opted for the Non veg thali with a few seafood options. Every dish was individually portioned and arranged in the thali. To be frank each dish has its own basic ingredients and taste different from the rest. Basic preparations but these were done extremely well.

For the appetizers we had Meen Varthad, a shallow fried fish with a fresh marinade. Kozhi Uppukari was another star. Uppu kari is a basic preparation which translates to a stir fry with salt and has a few basics like pepper powder and is found in most parts of Tamil Nadu and its borders. Kozhukkatta was a new dish all together. Its a rice cake with okra (veg) or lamb (non veg) in it and is steamed. This went extremely good with the main curries especially the Puzha meen curry.


Cheeni Kizhangu peratti was also a favorite. Sweet potatoes were tossed with shallots , pepper and a few chillies. Njandu peera had an interesting taste to it. Deshelled crab or crab meat was tossed semi dry curried form. Erachi melagu curry and kozhi paravai were equally good.

Appam, Aatu kari choru and nei choru were the staples. Aatu kari choru was a minced mutton rice and nei choru was ghee rice.

For the desserts we had Neyyi payasam, Neyyi is ghee , generally used in most of our desserts. This was a pongal like dessert with red rice which was sweetened with jaggery. The other dessert was Kalli, a dish with rice dumplings simmered in coconut milk and sugar. This has various names and shapes of dumpling which vary according to the regions.


Ending it with filter coffee.


Service, Location and Pricing:

The service was extremely smooth, luxury dining with equally good service.

The fest is on till 24th November. Pricing as follows

Vegetarian: 2000 ++, Non Vegetarian (chicken and mutton): 2200++ and Seafood at 2400++

Address: ITC Kakatiya, 6-3-1187, Begumpet, Hyderabad

Chef Velu and Chef Sakala Sankara, Masterchefs at Dakshin.


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