Established in the 14th century AD by two brothers from the Sangama Dynasty, the Vijayanagara empire was based in the Deccan Plateau region of southern India.
The empire was a prominent and powerful; one whose reign lasted well over 200 years, before it was defeated at the battle of Talikota. Remains of the capital city of Vijayanagara can be found surrounding present day Hampi.
Rice and wheat were staples, along with an abundant supply of pulses, fruits(Mango, grapes, oranges) and vegetables.
At a recent preview, I was both delighted and astounded to see the variety of offerings yet how simple and delicious the food was.
Balakkai Vada- Fried dumplings of raw banana
Koli Menasakai– Dry chicken preparation with red chilies and spices
Kaima Unde Bartad-Dumplings of lamb and coriander
Tondakai Pallya– Dry preparation of Ivy gourd with fresh coconut and red chilly
Bele Menthe– Yellow lentil with fenugreek leaves
Kothimiri Koli Saaru– Chicken in a coriander and coconut gravy
Chappati– Flatbread of whole wheat flour
Akki Payasa- Rice and milk flavored with cardamom
I am told that a LOT of research has gone into curating this menu by the expert line of cooks at the ITC Gardenia, and they have done their best to keep it as authentic it can be, today.
While many would question the use of Tomatoes in the Meen Huli (since tomatoes were introduced to India much later by the Portuguese in the 16th Century), I’d like to think of this passing down of recipes as a game of Chinese Whisper- there is bound to some change with passage of time, but the basic ethos remains true to the Vijayanagara style of cooking.
A warm note of thanks to Executive Chef Yogen, Ms. Simonti, Ms. Ayesha and the F&B team at Cubbon Pavilion for this experience.
Reservations are recommended and can be made on tel:+918043455000.