Over the years, through the centuries and across the centuries – mankind’s love for food has been the only constant. You realise this once you experience the one-of-a-kind Rajoupacharam festival by Dakshin. As food has evolved largely with time, many of us have forgotten to cook and eat the amazing preparations that were an integral part of our history and culture. The Rajoupacharam festival takes you through a time travel, at least as far as food is concerned.
I experienced this amazing food festival, and here is what I have to say.
Set up in the heritage place of the ITC Windsor, Dakshin gives you the royal and cultural vibes from the moment you step in there. The decor and the ambiance of the restaurant have been perfectly aligned with the theme of the festival. Once I entered the place, I was warmly greeted by the staff, who I must say, were extremely courteous and professional. As far as the service and the ambiance of Dakshin is concerned, I don’t think I should say anything further – they are well known for being the best at it!
So let’s come directly to the food, and also the special menu for the Rajoupacharam festival. It was curated by Chef Shri Bala! Formerly a Company Secretary and now a food researcher and Chef, Chef Shri Bala’s curiosity got her to explore and turn her interest in foods into a fully-fledged career as a researcher of forgotten recipes. Through expansive researches online and numerous library visits across the Southern Peninsular and nearby countries, she has discovered many much-forgotten recipes, which she has decided she must bring forth to food lovers. Since then, she has been curating traditional forgotten recipes for food festivals across various hotels. She is also currently pursuing her PhD in Ancient Cuisines and Evolution of Food from Sangam Times to now.
I started with a welcome drink called ‘Nannari’ which the root extract juice of Sarsaparilla. It tasted different and refreshing. The other welcome drinks they offer is Pathimugan, which Sappan wood herb water, and is again something absolutely unique.
In starters, they have Masaleyukta Hasi Halasinakayi Undde (spiced up raw jackfruit dumplings fried with betel leaves) and Beyisida Bidiru Molake Kadubu (steamed bamboo sprout cakes). I had the first one, and I must say it left me spellbound and wanting for more! The Iyer’s trolley at Dakshin offers unique fusion recipes such as the Banana Dosa, Sarva Pindi, and Menthi Kadubu.
Next, in the Main Course, I had Ezhu Kari Kootu which is a curry made of select seven country vegetables and ‘motchai’ beans. I also had ‘Patchai Pulusu’ which was nothing but uncooked tamarind rasam with condiments, but it tasted amazing with the course. Amongst other offerings, they had Sennai Sepan Varuval, Uluva Charu, Badanekayi Palya, Bale, Bale Hoovina Huli, Iddalige, Benne Chikitse Anna, Kootan Soru, Mossuru Bhutti, and many other unique, unheard and forgotten delicacies from the past.
I topped up my so far amazing meal with an even more amazing dessert – Paruthipal Pongal. It is a cotton seed milk Pongal with palm jaggery – and I must say, I had not had anything like that before. There were two more desserts Akki Bele Payasa and Pathir Peni.
Rajoupacharam is one of those rare opportunities for the food enthusiasts to discover and experience something truly unique and unheard of. It makes one aware of the rich food heritage of our country, especially from the southern part of India, which we have almost forgotten.
So all food lovers like me, go and experience the foodie time travel once – you won’t regret it!
Where: Dakshin, ITC Windsor, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Bengaluru.
Cost of 2: 4,500 Approx..