India’s world famous cuisine is one of the most effective ways it has exported its culture. As part of the India by the Nile Festival, the Intercontinental Semiramis hosted an open buffet of delicious and fresh Indian food at one of its restaurants. The Indian Ambassador and his wife were both present, as well as the chefs, who all spoke a few words before everyone was invited to sample the food.
The cuisine India by the Nile presented is called Mughlai cuisine, famous for its generous use of ground spices and richness of flavour. It is said that the cuisine originated in the imperial kitchens of the Mughal era. The food included starters, salads, main courses and desserts, with some non-Indian options for those who wanted to try something different (including French pastries, sushi and a pasta station).
We started off with the salads and tried one that included a delicious mix of avocado, coloured bell peppers, orange and tomato; the avocado and orange mix was mouthwatering. We then tried an excellent dish of basmati rice served cold with fresh strawberries and some smoked turkey, as well as a green salad to which we added mint parsley sauce.
The main dishes were divided into several sections, one of which had ready-made dishes and others where the chefs made the food right in front of you, and both were delicious. One featured a chef grilling chicken and kofta and frying fish, while others offered freshly fried puff pastries and mashed green peas. The ready-made dishes included an assortment of vegetables like green peas and cauliflower, next to a delicious lentil paste, a lamb with bone stew, chicken masala, Biryani rice and shrimp in cashew sauce.
We opted for the shrimp in cashew sauce and Biryani rice, before going back to try the grilled options. We thought the sauce was excellent, both in texture and flavour, lending itself really well to almost everything else on the dish. While the shrimps were in abundance and fresh, we felt they were a little overcooked, but this may come down to personal taste. The mashed green peas were freshly pressed and an unforeseen treat; we did not expect green peas to pack this much flavour in them and we were pleasantly surprised.
The grilled kofta and chicken were the highlights of the evening. Deliciously cooked to a tender medium, both were juicy, succulent and came with no shortage of spices. The chefs and many of the Indian guests encouraged us to be adventurous and try different combinations and have a more relaxed attitude about the food, which enhanced our enjoyment.
Most of the Indian desserts had similar Middle Eastern counterparts, which encouraged Egyptian guests to try them; the selection included delicious offerings made from various ingredients, such as carrots, skimmed milk and an assortment of fresh fruits.
India by the Nile’s Food Fiesta proved they have something planned for everyone. We recommend reserving in advance at the InterContinental and trying the delicious food for a tantalising meal with excellent variety.