The food is definitely amazing here which warranted another visit and this time I was invited to experience the Jashn – E – Biryani Festival.
It was a food tasting event organized by Creative Communications for the food bloggers in Muscat. Creative Communications is an Oman-based PR and advertising agency and I couldn’t thank them enough for giving me an opportunity to meet one of the greatest master chefs from India. Hailing from the famed Qureshi clan of cooks, the master of Awadhi cooking, Imtiaz Qureshi was present with his sons to make the evening more special.
And lucky that we were, Imtiaz Qureshi and his eldest son, Ashfaque Qureshi decided to dine with us! I was really thrilled to be seated opposite this living legend aged 86 years, his moustache as white as cotton and his eyes gleaming with a history of passionate cooking. He had a humble smile that brightened up his face.
Imtiaz Qureshi is a wonderful person to talk to. He began cooking at a very early age for the royal family of Awadh and he also mentioned about the time he catered for the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru. It was truly an honour for me to witness this legendary master chef’s presence.
All of us were gifted with a beautiful spice pot, a mix of spices coming from the kitchens of Qureshi’s packed into a clay matka and wrapped with a traditional elegance.
To begin with, we were served the Non Veg Trio Kebab Platter of the day which comprised of gorgeous pieces of Galouti kebab, Awadhi fish and Murgh Malai Tikka.
The Galouti kebab is originally from Awadh, the hometown of the Qureshis. I didn’t need a knife to cut this it was that soft. The reason that lies behind this flawless piece of succulence is the tendering technique used to create it. ‘Galouti’ or ‘Galawati’ means “melt in your mouth” and various tenderizers are used to make the meat soft. After being mixed with a few selected herbs and spices the very finely ground meat is shaped into patties and fried in pure ghee until they are browned.
My Galouti piece was excellently spiced and it worked very well with the mint chutney.
The Awadhi fish was a delicate and tasty appetizer. It reflects the cooking style traditionally used in Awadh to prepare this dish. The flavours were amazing; the flesh was cooked accurately with a thin crisp outer layer.
The Murgh malai tikka looked delicious but the flesh could have been softer. It tasted good although I liked the other delicacies on the platter more.
We were also served with Desi Shikanji, a lemonade-kind-of beverage with a subtle touch of jal-jeera I think. The drink was very revitalizing and also somehow appetizing.
Out of nowhere, Kavita of Creative Communications brought this little morsel of Dahi kandhari kebab infront of me and OMG I loved it. This kebab is made up of hung curd and pomegranate seeds, spices, herbs and fresh bread crumbs. I could taste delicate hints of chili in this delightful piece of food.
And finally it was time for the dish of the night, Biryani!
It’s the kind of dish that instantly creates a hunger craving, thanks to its fascinating aroma and delicious spice-infused mix of rice with succulent pieces of meat.
We were served first with the Motia Pulav Imtiazi. This vegetarian biryani consisted of basmati rice mixed with paneer and flavoured with saffron and jasmine. I got few delicate paneer cubes which were cooked beautifully. The biryani was delicious and I quickly finished my share; I couldn’t wait to taste the others.
To accompany the biryanis, Dal Qureshi was served. It still had its creamy texture and the magnificent taste. Loved it at my last visit too.
Next was the Murgh Rampur Biryani. Oh I loved this one. With its phenomenal flavours, this one was definitely my favourite and I highly recommend it for chicken biryani lovers. This biryani with its loose grains of fragrant rice mixed with the smooth textured chicken totally won my heart.
The Biryani Noor Mahal comprised of the rice mixed with minced meat dumplings covered in silver. The meat was a little dry so I helped myself to some delicious raita which worked splendidly with this dish. The Classical Burranhi tasted really great with the dish too with its strong garlic essence!
The Kacchi Gosht Biryani was a dish I was looking forward to. Usually the meat is pre-cooked and placed at the bottom of the pot layered with rice. The kacchi dum biryani is slow-cooked with raw lamb sandwiched between the rice to produce a succulent, fragrant, layered delight as explained by Mr. Shafaque Ahsan, the F&B Director at Hormuz Grand Hotel. Unfortunately I didn’t get any lamb pieces although the rice was really delish.
The Zeer-E-Multan Biyani was excellent. My share had a few pieces of steamed carrots and mint leaves in it. This mint infused rice was mixed with black cumin, green chilies and coriander. The combination of spices proved to be quite exotic. By this time, my plate got too messy and I couldn’t click a good picture of the biryani.
For desserts, a platter of 3 classic Indian desserts was served. I began with Gulab Ki Kheer, a rice pudding in which basmati rice is simmered in flavoured milk with rose petals and garnished with spices, nuts and silver. The kheer was creamy in texture and fabulous taste wise. There was just the perfect amount of sweetness and it was flawless.
The Gajar Halwa (sweet carrot confection), an all time favourite was so, so good. My only disappointed was the small quanity I got, haha. The halwa was warm and tasted superb.
The Shahi Tukra which didn’t make so happy at my last visit to Qureshi changed my mind this time definitely. I finished off my share in one bite and I wanted moreee. Rich in its quality of ingredients, this bread pudding had an amazing zing of sweet flavours.
Thanks to Creative Communications, I got the opportunity to meet the legends of the Qureshi family and experience few of their best recipes. Qureshi once again impressed me with its outstanding cooking. I really could not fault any of the food. The cook of the royal Awadhs has definitely lived up to its fame and reputation.
The service was pleasant and all in all, it was a very good dining experience!
- Ambience: 10/10
- Service: 9.5/10
- Food: 9.5/10
Restaurant: Qureshi Bab-Al-Hind
Location: Hormuz Grand Hotel, Seeb
Restaurant hours: 12.00 PM to 3.00 PM, 7.00 PM to 11.30 PM
Contact number: +968 24350500