Have you heard of Dum Pukht? I must admit this was something new to me as I continue to experience new things about Indian cuisine. The great thing about food is that there is usually a story behind the dish and this one is fascinating in terms of how it developed and is continuing to develop today.
Originating from the royal kitchens of Awadh in North India Dum means to ‘breath in’ and Pukht to cook or slow oven. The tradition of dum cooking came into it’s own in 18th century in Awadh. With his kingdom in the grip of famine, Nawab Asaf-Ud-Daulah, initiated a food-for-work programme, employing thousands in the construction of the Bara Imambara (a large shrine in Lucknow). Large cauldrons were filled with rice, meat, vegetables and spices, then sealed to make a simple one-dish meal that was available to the workers day and night. One day the Nawab smelt the aromas from the cauldron and the royal kitchen was ordered to serve the dish. Gradually refined to please the royal palate, dum cooking soon spread to the Indian courts in Hydrabad, Kashmir and Bhopal. Each chef adding their own touch to the dish to make it their own.
Last night a small group of foodies and the media got to sample some of the dishes from the Dum Pukht menu which will be available at The Oberoi between 22nd – 31st January cooked by Chef Dirham Haque who has flown in specially from The Oberoi Gurgaon.
Not only did we get to sample, we also got to make and cook our very own Galouti kebabs which are one of the items on the Dum Pukht menu. And here’s how you do it :
1kg lamb boti (cubed lamb)
100g Lamb kidney fat
10g Dry rose petal flower
15g Green Cardamon Powder
5g Black Cardamon Powder
5g Clove Powder
10ml Kewra water
10 ml Rose Water
70g Fried Onion Paste
30g Raw Papaya paste
1gm Saffron powder
3g all spice
Salt to taste
Mince the lamb boti and kidney fat together, pass through the minder at least 8 times to get a fine mince
Transfer the lamb mince to a lagan (traditional indian vessel used for cooking) or a big bowl
Add all the ingredients above and mix well with your hands until it achieves a very smooth silken texture
Leave the mixture covered, in the fridge for about 12 hours
Heat a frying pan or mahi tawa if you have one and add some ghee
Make small patties of lamb mince and shallow fry on a very low heat until the kebabs and cooked and tender – approximately 5 minutes or so, I like to cook mine so they have a little bit of a crispy outer shell.
NOTE : The kebabs are very soft in texture, so go careful when cooking them as they are easy broken
Serve with mint chutney and enjoy
Legend has it that the Galouti kebab was created for an aging Nawab Wajid Ali Shah of Lucknow who lost his teeth, but not his passion for meat dishes. Galouti means “melt in your mouth” and was perfect for the toothless Nawab The original recipe is supposed to have more than 100 aromatic spices.
If you want to know more about the history of Galouti kebabs then read about it here from my friend Ishita, a Bengali with a passion for all things food and travel but with a real passion about indian cuisine.
The perfect accompaniment to our cooking class came in the form of an Indian Bellini made by Murali who was our bar tender for the evening.
15ml Peach Liquer (Archers Peach Snapps)
10ml White Peach Puree
15ml Pineapple Juice
Put the peach liquor, peach puree and pineapple juice in a champagne flute and mix with a cocktail stirrer. Top the glass with champagne and sprinkle cardamon powder onto of the foam. Serve immediately and then make yourself another few as these are really good.
And so after cooking our Galouti kebabs and tasting, (mine were more spicy than others as I ‘freestyled’ the recipe with more chilli than the rest – I like it spicy what can I say ??) whilst sipping an Indian Bellini or two, we were treated to a dinner menu from the Awadhi Thali menu including a plateful of succulent assorted kebabs for starters, followed by a Thali selection for main course with Gulab ki kheer and Zauk-e-shahi for dessert (sadly I missed dessert). Here’s some pictures of the meal which was fragrant and rich and delivered in terms of taste and spiciness on so many levels.
The special Dum Pukht menu is available at The Oberoi between 22nd – 31st January cooked by Chef Dirham Haque.
You can either order from the A La Carte Menu or from the Awadhi Thali menu at a cost of AED 300 per person.
Tel : +97144441444 or email email@example.com
Disclaimer : I was a guest of the Oberoi for the above event, however all opinions are my own.