KATHMANDU: We had a Personage amongst our company of four, the conversation was as erudite as the food was delicious. We interrupted our wanderings in Jhamel for a leisurely dinner at Ghar-E-Kebab where comfort food brought out the best in conversational sparkle.
Starters were Seekh kebabs which originated in the Middle-East and were being served in India before the Mughals, a fact recorded by the traveller Ibn Battuta. The Seekh kebab is minced meat on a skewer dusted with condiments and cooked in a Tandoor. Having said which let it be recorded that it is my favourite dish ever. The menu says it’s the tenderest lamb minced mixed with Chef’s special spices and oh how wonderful the product was. Chef Govinda K C was at his best.
We also had Murgh Reshmi Seekh which is somewhat similar but finished with cream, saffron and butter, the Jinga Til Tinka was jumbo prawns marinated in yoghurt and sesame seeds paste with Indian spices, one amongst our number who was a chef thought the marination was not enough. I personally loved it.
Yet another of us was vegetarian who went ecstatic over the Pudina Kaju Kebab which was like a hamburger patty filled with the goodness of mint and crushed cashew nuts.
My vegetarian friend had a main course that I envied. It was called a Leshuni Loung Lata. It was exquisite. Imagine a blanket of cottage cheese stuffed with spinach with hints of fenugreek seeds and asfoteida. Either Indian food is going back to its roots or, like the rest of the world, chefs are inventing new delicacies.
A familiar taste was a Mushroom Hara Pyaz which was mushroom, spring onions, herbs, spices combined to have you salivating.
We robust non-vegetarians had a Murgh Kadai which is described as chicken cooked with bell pepper, onions chunks and spices which description just doesn’t do it justice. Madhur Jaffrey calls it an uncommon delicious dish adding that the onion, garlic and ginger need to be very very finely chopped. She talks about 15 other ingredients but I urge you to sample it yourself.
The Punjabi Rara Ghost is mutton chops cooked in the gravy of minced lamb and spices. The Punjabi dish in both India and Pakistan needs, very manly men, to assert their culinary skills and Rara Ghost brings out the best. Says Jiggs Kalra, “To establish their credentials as amateur chefs, the men of the Punjab love to prepare this lamb delicacy. It is also a classic example of the art of bhunao or reduction in Indian cooking ”. It is of course gorgeous but the chops presented an etiquette problem — can you eat them without dripping the minced gravy. Because you don’t want to miss even the slightest bit of taste.
We finished with Kong Kaliya which is a version of Hyderabadi lamb with tomatoes which Madhur Jeffrey describes as a light, simple dish that may be eaten with Indian bread or rice, but is also wonderful with all kinds of pasta, Asian or Italian. One should eat the Hyderabadi lamb before one does the Rara Ghost. But we had mixed (after initial individual tastings) all our orders together and it was wonderful.
We were helped by Rudranath Rimal who has been the Restaurant Manger of Ghar-E-Kebab ever since I can remember and the waiter Ganesh Gurung filled in explanations when Mr Rimal was elsewhere.
The embarrassment came when the bill was presented. Credit cards were rejected but the Personage’s signature was accepted.
We settled later and a great evening was saved. Don’t leave home without a Personage, they’re wonderful. Contact 422171.