Starting today, The Eatery – Four Points by Sheraton presents Bhog- The temple cuisine of India. Intrigued? Well, we were too. How can one have an entire food festival dedicated to temple food? It turns out there is much more to the holy prasadam. Executive chef Sanjay Mitra brought in the concept of Bhog, the temple cuisine festival three years ago. “During a discussion with my general manager we realised not many hotels do anything during Navratri. So, we thought of having a pure vegetarian festival for our guests,” smiles chef Mitra. The next step was zeroing down on recipes and items. During many temple visits he noticed specialist food in most of them. “This is what we decided to bring to our guests. We approached many temples, out of which many were kind enough to share recipes,” adds the chef who emphasises that temple food has less spices and use of non-stimulant ingredients.
The cooking method refrains from anything pungent but the food is still tasty and sometimes chatpata too. “We got in touch with temple cooks but they did not want to be commercialised so we got our in-house chefs to learn the dishes. We have segregated a kitchen for vegetarian food. The spread stresses on less masalas and many sweets. Chef’s personal favourites include khichadi which is served in East and North. They are made in big handis over wood fire which brings in a distinct flavour. It is mostly made of moong dal but there are masoor and tur variants too. The langarwali dal, Gaja and dal vadi also feature on his list.
Being brought up in Calcutta, chef has fond memories of bhog. He recalls, “During Durga Puja we were to hold our hunger till Pushpanjali, after which we were served Bhog. Bhog would be baigan fry or potato fried with khichahi served in a banana leaf. We used to slurp it down. We really looked forward to bhog,” says chef Mitra.
Patrail, Adraki bati as starters; Chana sundal, Chena poda, Radha ashtami arbi, Bejar ki roti, Kashi phal ki sabji, Muniyodharan pongal, Bhog Khichdi, Uti, Thoran avial in the main course followed by enticing delights like Makhan mishri, Mathura ke pedhe, Sakkara pongal, Khaja and more. (Relish authentic Bhog dishes and share Bhog pictures with the hashtag #Navrathri with Bhog on facebook and instagram and win exciting prizes.)
Where: The Eatery, Four Points by Sheraton & Serviced Apartments Pune.
When: October 12- 22, 2015, 7-11pm
Price: 675 + Taxes for veg buffet.