It had completely escaped me that the ECR actually stretches all the way to Cuddalore and beyond including Pondicherry too. These areas have been port cities from ancient times. The famed Creole cuisine of Pondicherry unlike popular perception goes further than Franco – Indian cuisine. There are Portuguese and Dutch influences as well since Pondicherry has had a history of colonization by the Dutch, French and the English prior to its Independence.
I have listed out some of my favourites of the dinner buffet at the Madras Pavilion as part of the ECR Route 49 festival which is on for a short while. Needless to say they have their usual humungous buffet fare as well.
included a lot of traditional Tamil fare along with some seafood favourites.
Spiced raw mango
Nandu Rawa fry
Kalan melagu roast
Vadavam masala lamb chops
Kavapu : These are a commonly found in the roadside eateries of Pondicherry, where either eggs, chicken or Prawns are deep fried in a batter and served hot. In other words, a Pondy version of our good old bonda. The Chefs have presented lamb brain filling in the Kavapu and it definitely hit the sweet spot with the crispy batter and the soft texture of the brain filling.
The Vadavum Masala lamb chops were also different. In that Vadavum is usually used for tempering traditional vegetarian dishes and curries and is made of small onions, garlic, jeera, mustard, methi seeds, salt, turmeric and gingely oil. The choice of having a Vadavam coating on the lamb chops was definitely inspired one!
The Nandu Rawa fry was an absolute winner in my opinion!
- Kadal meen Pouillabaisse
- Jackfruit curry(palapalam masala)
- Keerai Molagutal
- Manga kootu
- Kassa Kassa kozhi curry
- Pondicherry Pork roast
- Chicken Vindaloo
- Urulai Kola Urandai
- Pondicherry kaladal meen biryani
- Thengapaal Rasam
Kadal meen Pouillabaisse: Is the Pondicherry version of the traditional Bouillabaisse, which is a tradiitional fish stew orinating from the Marseiles region of France. The Sea food is traditionally served separately and the stew/broth is poured into it.
Chicken Vindalloo: is another dish which I had not associated with the ECR region, but is apparently accounted for by the erstwhile Portuguese influence (vinh d’alho, literally wine of garlic, from Portuguese vinho de alho). The use of chicken unlike pork in the Goan version makes it more acceptable to a wider set of patrons while maintaining its taste.
I am a great fan of the Chefs at the ITC for their region specific offerings and the amount of research they do to bring us the authentic flavours of different regions is really something that deserves a special mention, which in the normal course we may not be fortunate enough to savour. This particular festival was a definite surprise package and I look forward to many more such pleasant surprises from the Grand Chola.
This festival is on till the 26th of June only..But I suspect you will find many of these dishes recurring in their regular buffet menu in the future !!