The magic of sand and stone
Ever since the early days, the ways and techniques of cooking have been myriad. Each ruler of India added something to the culinary repertoire of the...
Ever since the early days, the ways and techniques of cooking have been myriad. Each ruler of India added something to the culinary repertoire of the country and managed to create an indelible mark in the world of food. From among these techniques comes the concept of sand and stone cooking.
In the olden days when hunters used to scavenge the desert, they would create a sand pit and with the help of charcoal and the heat of the sun, manage to create some truly delicious and delectable recipes of meat. The sand basically acts as an oven and the heat is made to be spread uniformly and then, nature does its trick and one piping hot meal is ready.
Bidri, Marriott Hyderabad, has brought the magic of sand and stone to Hyderabad and is hosting an exciting food promotion that showcases traditional recipes cooked on heated stones or inside sand pits. Executive Chef Aungshuman Chakraborty, who has curated the menu said, “Basically we were planning our promotion and we were only looking at stone cooking and we have a resort in Jaisalmer and one of my chefs had gone to help them on some particular function.
So after he returned, we had discussions and he told us about this very old method of cooking in the sand. Then we thought that though this is popular but is not common. We thought why not give it a shot and after a couple of trials we tried to cook some big chunks of chicken and it came out really well. Then we thought, let’s take things up a notch and combine this with stone cooking promotion and offer something which is not usual to our guests in Hyderabad. That’s how we got the concept of sand and stone promotion.”
Besides sand cooking, stone cooking has also been a process of cooking that has existed since ages and finds its roots in modern Hyderabadi cuisine as well in the form of “Patthar ka Gosht”. Chennai too makes use of the concept of stone cooking with its very famous Kal Dosa.
Stone cooking is a very slow process of cooking. It helps the meat to cook in a very soft texture and it just melts in the mouth. The chef further said, “We put the fire under the stone and let it heat a little bit and then we grease the stone and cook on the top of it. Here we are using a strong granite as other stones will crack because they cannot bear the heat.”
Now, when it comes to the dishes that are up for grabs at this promotion, there is something for everyone, including the vegetarians as well. For the fish lovers, the Pomfret marinate comes in the same style that is known and beloved but with a unique twist to it, vegetarian aficionados can sample delicacies like Patthar ka paneer tikka and Veg bharwan karela. And naturally, from the annals of Hyderabadi cuisine, the ever popular Patthar ka Gosht is also being served up with a melt in the mouth texture and unbelievable taste!
By: Navin Pivhal