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ZAIKA – REFLECTS THE NAWABI FARE

Adorned with decor that takes you back to the time of Nawabs. Its ambience makes you feel like one, we arrived at Zaika Palace for our much-awaited review. Mesmerized by the decor, we couldn’t help but imagine that if the decor is this good, then how amazing would be the food? With interior giving you Nawabi vibes, we decided on trying on their speciality- Odisha rendition of Nawabi cuisine!

Awadhi cuisine is a pure delight for non-vegetarian lovers. With an assortment of kebabs, naans, kormas and biryanis, Awadhi cuisine focuses on “dum-style” cooking. This slow cooking style is one of the main reasons how it gets its rich, flavourful, signature taste. When we talked to Chef Ashutosh Panda at Zaika Palace, he said people loved to try more and more Nawabi cuisine infused with Odisha’s palette. We tried Zaika Palace’s signature dish and some of the crowd favourites as well.

Nargisi Kofta: Nargisi Kofta is one of those delicious dishes in Mughlai cuisine, which gives the goodness of egg, and minced meat in one bite! This dish takes inspiration from the winter flower-Narcissus. Hard-boiled eggs were coated with juicy cooked minced meat and then deep-fried. To make the Nargisi kofta complete, it is cooked in a gravy comprising of yoghurt, cashews, almond and tomatoes. Such rich taste and deliciousness paired with butter naan can transcend you to gastronomical paradise.

Chicken Dilruba: Now, this is an interesting dish. It also happens to be Zaika Palace’s signature dish. For this dish, the breast piece of the chicken is cut into a heart shape. It is stuffed with almond, cashews, pistachios and some secret spices. It is then fried and cooked in almond, tomato gravy. Chicken Dilruba is made from love and utter deliciousness. The nutty and tangy sauce compliments the lean protein packed with the goodness of dry fruits.

Paneer Noorjani: This dish is specifically devised to cater to the sweeter palette of Odisha crowd. It is a crowd favourite and has a royal touch. Paneer Noorjani is a beautiful dish with sandwiches of cottage cheese cooked in a traditional yellow gravy. The sandwiches filling are chopped dry fruits stuffed between two slices of soft paneer. If you have a sweet and nutty palate, then this dish is a must-try for you.

Chef Ashutosh’s food definitely made us feel like kings & queens after eating such hearty and royal food. If we have to pick an absolute favourite at Zaika Palace, it has to be the *drum roll* Nargisi Kofta. That balance of spices and tang, the nutty undertone and the royal feel made this dish our favourite.

Inputs by Apurba and photographs by- Tveshaj

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