UK:Altrincham’s award-winning Michelin-rated restaurant - Dilli - is to launch the town’s first festival of Indian food.
The month-long event will coincide with Holi - the Hindu "festival of lights" - which begins on March 22.
For four weeks Dilli will present a unique collection of regional specialities from the sub-continent’s 29 states - from the familiar Punjab to the less well-known Chettinad, Mangalore and Pondicherry.
Said chef director, Ravi Bajaj: "When Dilli opened three years ago many people, who thought they knew what Indian food tasted like, discovered they hadn’t known the real cuisine at all.
"They were used to dishes like Madras curry, Chicken Rogan Josh and others that don’t even exist in India. Since then they have come to know our food a lot better but there are still regions of the country that are unfamiliar or completely unknown to them.
"We want people to experience the halal specialities of Andhra, Assam, Himachal, Karnataka and Kerala along with the foods of minority communities like the Kayasths, Parsis, Brahmins and Syrian Christians."
The Dilli Food Festival will journey around the sub-continent – featuring rural dishes that have often never been written down but are passed by word of mouth from generation to generation.
From areas ranging from deserts and glacial mountains to tropical rainforests … dishes that span the tandoori style of the Punjab to mild west coast seafood curries and hot southern sauces … traditional family recipes from the days before invading nations introduced meat-eating to the vegetarian country … with an Ayurvedic approach that combats health threats by using particular ingredients to help maintain the body’s natural balance.
Dilli’s outside catering wing will dedicate one day to delivering pre-ordered lunches to the town’s businesses and homeworkers to celebrate the famous ‘tiffin-wallahs’ of Mumbai who distribute 175,000 homecooked meals a day to city workers.
Lunch thalis will present a selection of dishes on traditional steel trays with multiple compartments.
And food fans who fancy eating Indian-style, with their fingers instead of metal cutlery, can receive helpful tips from the Dilli staff.
The Dilli Food Festival will begin on the first day of Holi, the two-day Hindu ‘festival of colours’ which, along with Diwali, is one of India’s major religious festivals.
"It’s the perfect time to start a food festival like this," says Ravi, "and to introduce customers to the real taste of a country that is more than a third as big as the United States."
Dilli – the original name for India’s capital city New Delhi - is open every day from 12 noon to 3pm, and 5.30pm to 11pm (10pm on Sunday) at 60 Stamford New Road, Altrincham, Cheshire WA14 1EE. Telephone 0161 929 7484. Website: www.dilli.co.uk
Edited & Published By Raj Francis Pereira