A Satvik Feast At Masala Bay, Taj Land’s End

By Mallika Dabke October 16, 2018
The Satvik Thali at Masala Bay, Taj Lands End.

The festive season has begun in all its colourful, joyous glory. Even though we’re looking at a month full of motichoor laddoos and kaju katlis, there is so much festive food that doesn’t get much press. I visited Taj Land’s End’s Masala Bay last weekend, to try out their short satvik food thali. Now, if anybody who knows me knows that beyond pani puri and vada pav, my vegetarian palate is rather limited. Still, this was something I wanted to experience: a side to Indian cuisine I hadn’t taken an effort to understand before.

Centuries ago, the study of Ayurveda lead rishis of the time to segregate between three kinds of diets: rajasic, satvic and tamasic. While rajasic foods are stimulants, and tamasic foods are sedatives, satvik food is the perfect balance between the two. Satvik is a Sanskrit word for something which has sattva, or goodness. A satvic diet, therefore, consists of all things organic, wholesome, pure, essential and conscious. Such a diet is followed by yogis across India, and its origins lie in Varanasi. From the Taj Ganges Varanasi, Chef Maqbool Subhani has specially flown in to create a satvik food thali, which is a staple in most homes in the holy city. There are two thalis available, which are served on alternating days.

The roaring heat of the afternoon had left me flushed, and I almost chugged down the tall glass of thandai that came to my table to begin my satvik food tasting. The mild drink was subtly infused with spices and dry fruits, and was at the perfect temperature (not chilled, but colder than room-temperature) for me to down it.

 

Matar Adrak Ki Aloo Tikki - Satvik Bhojan Thali Taj Lands End Masala Bay

Matar Adrak Ki Aloo Tikki.

Our meal began with an appetizer: the Matar Adrak Ki Aloo Tikki. The simple peas and potato tikki was topped with sweetened yogurt and sev, like a typical chaat dish.

After the quick appetizer, we were presented with our gorgeous looking thali. The leaf-shaped brass thali was decorated with the following: Lal Peda, Bhindi Bhujia, Hing-Jeere Ki Dal, Khoya Paneer Kali Mirch, Nimona, Kesariya Pulao, along with a Ramdane Ki Chapati, and Mango Rasmalai for dessert.  

I started by eating the bite-sized Lal Peda, which Chef Maqbool had brought all the way from Varanasi. It was a lovely little sweet mouthful before I got into the heavier part of my meal. The Ramdane Ki Chapati went well with the Nimona, a curry made of mashed green peas. I’m usually averse to peas, but this thick curry was seasoned with cumin, asafoetida (hing) and loaded with ghee, which gave something as humble as peas a very rich transformation.

The Bhindi Bhujia was a rather simple bhindi ki sabzi, which was lightly flavoured with a dry mango powder. I particularly enjoyed the luscious Khoya Paneer Kali Mirch- every bite was a buttery flavour bomb, and it didn’t even matter if you didn’t get a piece of paneer. The Hing Jeere Ki Dal was great on its own, and I didn’t even need to have it with the Kesariya Pulao. Gently spiced with saffron, I thought the pulao was a little bland and dry, but it had the dal to balance that out. Lastly, the Mango Rasmalai literally melted in my mouth (also, mango in October? I’m down for that!).

In general, my favourite part about most of the dishes was the pure and rich desi ghee that was poured on top of everything. Thanks to the ghee, it didn’t even feel like I was eating something super healthy. It was a thali experience unlike any I’d had before. The thalis are being served only till the 18th, after which you might have to travel to Varanasi to try Chef Maqbool’s magic again. But, until it’s here, I highly recommend you check out Taj Land’s End’s Masala Bay kitchen for their Satvik Bhojan!