Imagine a table of delicate wine glasses, laid with beautiful red linens, decorated with intricate hand-carved figurines, and topped with warm and crisp papadums, begging to be snacked upon. Your host then presents a selection of different dishes, served in matching small bowls where every vessel smells of its own distinctive spices and preparation, presented on a round tray – a Thali. The Norfolk has yet again outdone themselves in bringing another striking dining experience to Nairobi – Jaipur Royal Cuisine Festival.
Hailing from Fairmont’s first hotel in India, The Tatu Restaurant and Lord Delamere Terrace are hosting guest chefs from Fairmont Jaipur, whom will be exciting Nairobi palettes with dishes fit for royalty.
Stemming from the land of many princely states, Jaipur’s cuisine is as rich in flavours as it is in culinary history. Known for it’s diverse array of flavourful vegetarian options, Jaipur’s cuisine has been popularized across the world as a vegetarian’s dream.
Served in a Thali, the Jaipur culinary experience at The Norfolk, which runs until June 10th, stays true to the rustic simplicity of traditional Jaipur flavours and embodies the elegance of what royals like The Maharajas would have enjoyed.
Eating from a Thali
A great way to sample an assortment of regional dishes at one time, eating a thali may seem intimidating at first, but upon being acquainted with proper thali-etiquette, the flavourful experience will be a memorable one.
The small bowls on the platter hold a variety of different dishes that provides a dining experience with diverse textures, flavours, colours and ultimately ensuring the diner a well-balanced meal, an important age-old aspect in Indian cuisine.
Usually accompanied with rice and naan, a thali platter usually includes an assortment of dal, curd (yoghurt), curries, a pickle dish and one sweet dish. The Jaipur experience at The Norfolk serves up seven dishes in the thali – smoked Lamb curry prepared with dry red chillies, yoghurt and spices; boneless chicken pieces cooked with a variety of spices; flour dumplings simmered in a yoghurt based curry tempered with dry red chillies; a Rajasthani delicacy of five lentils cooked together with spices; and potato and cauliflower cooked with tomato, tumeric, coriander and fried ginger – just to name a few.
Beginning with the vegetables and then continuing to the curries in a clockwise fashion, one can mix the curd with the rice to cool your palate and add the pickled items for balance. As one makes their way to the very last vessel, waiting patiently will finally be the sweet dish.
The Capital Lifestyle Magazine favourite was the sweet Rice Pudding – fragrant rice tempered with milk, saffron and cardamom, and topped with a dusting of chopped pistachios – a refreshing and sultry dessert, appropriate for the conclusion of a rich meal.