The splutter of jeera or mustard seeds, rich brown colour of caramelized onion, tanginess from tomatoes, aroma of ghee ka tadka, pungency of mustard oil, hotness from red chilly paste and freshly slit green chillies – the diversity, style and medium of cooking varies across the length and breadth of India. But, what brings us all together is the love for flavours. And to give Chennaiites a taste of some of the regional specialties of India, Hilton Chennai has organised a fantastic food festival, 7 Chefs 7 Plates, at its Pan-Indian restaurant, Ayna.

The ongoing festival exhibits the nuances of the cuisines by Master Chefs from Hilton properties of India. They started on May 14 with cuisine from UP, then moved on to Mumbai and followed it up by Kerala. We got to try delicacies from Rajasthan on Sunday by Chef Vinod Kumar of Hilton Jaipur and loved the curated menu.

The evergreen Pyaaz Kachori from Mewar along with the in-house mint chutney made us squirm with joy. The piping hot and flaky kachori stuffed with caramelized onions was beyond delicious. We also polished off the mild yet flavourful Kanji Vada; small lentil dumplings soaked in fermented mustard water, perfect for the hot and humid Chennai weather. To notch up the spice levels a bit, we took bites of the hot Mirch Wada with the very innovative pineapple chutney. The contrast of the teekha wada with the sweet acidity of chutney made our day. From the non-vegetarian starter section, we loved the smokiness of the succulent Banjara Ghosht, lamb prepared with stone- ground spices and smoked with coals and Murgh ka soola, a Shikar style preparation of chicken skewered and cooked over hot coals.

In the main course, we got to try the Gatta pulao, Chakki ka Saag, Pithod ki Sabzi, Dal baati churma, Ker Sangri and Laal Maas. Each of them stood out for their unique flavour, texture and taste. A quick chat with Chef Kumar revealed that Rajasthani cuisine heavily relies on the use of spices, elaborate recipes that might take hours to prepare and there is a lot of attention paid to detailing in terms of texture and appearance.

We finished off our elaborate spread with some fine desi desserts that included Ghewar (you can’t not have them!), Malpua Rabri and Alwar ka milk cake.

If you are already salivating, then we suggest you should check out, what is planned in the coming days.

On Monday (May 21): Rajasthani cuisine by Chef Vinod Kumar

Tuesday and Wednesday (May 22 and 23): Puneri cuisine by Chef Akshay Deshpande, Conrad Pune.

Thursday and Friday (May 24 and 25): Delhi cuisine by Chef Rajesh Singh, Hilton Garden Inn Baani Square Gurgaon

Saturday and Sunday (May 26 and 27): Bengali cuisine by Chef Biswajit, Hilton Chennai

Location:  Hilton Chennai, 124/1, J.N Salai , Guindy

Timings: Till May 27