A Tale Of Lost Tootak From The Royal Kitchens Of Hyderabad
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Being a Punjabi, the first thing that struck me when I came across this dish was the song, “Tootak Tootak Tootiyan” and I guffawed. Of course, this dish has no relation the song. The Hyderabadi cuisine is generally full of kebabs, niharis and curries, rich in flavours and spices. The legacy of royal kitchens is filled with tales of delectable shahi recipes where something like Tootak would hardly find a mention. 

Tracing the etymology of this funny-named dish, it is believed that the name was coined after a Hindi saying which goes like, “Tu Takta reh jayega”. Tootak is derived from the first words of this phrase. It means to be left astounded. The dish was such a marvel that it was believed that king and the court, both would be left speechless after tasting this dish. 

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Tootak was a dish, belonging to the Deccan family of recipes. The Nizams of Hyderabad would offer this dish as a welcome gesture to their guests. Well, the name itself has created such a hype that it would be unfair not to talk about what it is made of. 

Quite identical to modak in appearance, this appetizer cum dessert has a hard, outer shell like a short-crust pastry and a soft inside filling. The interesting bit is inside the Tootak, which is stuffed with dry fruits, milk and ghee and a meat mince. Yes, you read that right! Tootak is a one-stop shop for all kinds of flavours. These semolina pastries are then baked, even though they may appear to look deep-fried. 

You would be surprised to know that these Nizam-favourite starters were originally from a local community fare of Hindu Kayasthas. While it was popular back then, today, the tootak is struggling to look for a place, waiting to astound its tasters again.