"A cauldron of enchanced taste" Food bytes by Monish Gujral- Sunday standards

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Dum Maro Dum is the title of the famous song in the popular Dev Anand movie Hare Rama Hare Krishna; it evokes the image of a bunch of hippies puffing smoke rings.
In the art of cooking, however, the word dum is an important term. While dum means steam, dum pukht literally means to choke off the steam. The food is placed in a pot, usually made of clay, and dough is used to create a tight seal to prevent the steam from escaping. So the food is slowly cooked in its own juices, allowing the herbs and spices to fully infuse the meat or rice, while preserving the nutritional elements at the same time.
The origin of dum pukht style of cooking is traced back to Awadh, or present-day Uttar Pradesh. In the late 18th century, Nawab Asaf decided to create jobs for people to alleviate hunger by decreeing the construction of a colossal building known as the Bara Imambara.
He ordered food to be made available to the workers, day and night. Large cooking vessels were filled with rice, meat, vegetables and spices, then sealed to make a simple one-dish meal. Hot coals were placed on top and fires were lit underneath the vessels for the food to simmer. This allowed warm food to be available round the clock.
One day as the vessels were being unsealed, the aromas attracted the Nawab who was passing by. It was discovered that the cooking method retained the natural aromas and flavours of the food. The Nawab ordered that the cooking technique be perfected for the royal table, and it is from this that modern day dum cooking evolved. Dum cooking eventually spread to the courts of Hyderabad, Kashmir and Bhopal as well. The taste of such a dish can be experienced with this recipe.
Dum aloo
My favorite dish has always been Kashmiri Dum Aloo savoured with steamed rice. The aromas always transport me to the beautiful valley of Kashmir, where I have spent many nostalgic holidays with my family. Besides Dum Aaloo, the Haak Saag, Rajma and the Yakhnis and Tabak Maas makes the best of Kashmiri food. Don’t be mistaken; this column is not about Kashmiri cuisine, but I promise to share some interesting facts and recipes about the warm Kashmiri cuisine in my next column. Till them be happy with the Dum of Aloos….
Potatoes are consumed whole heartedly all over the world with equal enthusiasm.
After wheat, rice and maize, potato is the most important food crop in the world. It is the fifth largest produced agricultural crop and the largest produced tuber and root crop in
the world.
It has good food value and is rich in carbohydrates and also contains proteins, phosphorus, minerals like calcium and potassium and vitamins like C and A. The protein-calorie ratio is high. Boiling potatoes increases their protein content and almost doubles their calcium content. It is vastly consumed as a vegetable and is also used in various forms such as starch, flour, alcohol, dextrin and l ivestock fodder
Ingredients
•8 medium potatoes
•100 ml oil
•1 tsp caraway seeds (shahi zeera)
•2 chopped onions
•1 tsp black cardamom,
•Pounded 5 tbsp raisins
•5 tbsp cashewnuts
•Salt to taste
For the curry
•60 gms chopped onions
•1/4 cup curd
•1 cup tomato puree
•4 tsp ginger-garlic paste
•3 tsp almond paste
•1 tsp aniseed (saunf)
•4 green cardamom
•6 cloves
•1/2 tsp mace powder (javitri)
•4 tsp red chilli paste
•2 tsp cumin powder
•1 tbsp coriander powder
•Salt to taste
•Oil for frying
Method
Peel the potatoes, slice off the tops and scoop out the centres. Fry the shells and the centres to a golden brown. Allow the centres to cool, then mash.
Heat the oil in a wok, sauté the caraway seeds and the aniseed. Add onions and sauté till transparent. Add the fried potato centres, cardamom powder, raisins, and the cashew nuts. Stir-fry for a few minutes. Season with salt and keep aside. Stuff the potato shells with the prepared mixture and keep aside.
For the curry
Heat the oil in a thick bottomed pan and sauté onions till transparent. Add curd, tomato puree, ginger-garlic paste, almond paste, aniseed, mace, caraway seeds, green cardamoms, cloves, red chilli paste, cumin powder, coriander powder, and salt. Stir fry for 10 minutes.
Place the stuffed potatoes in the curry. Cover the lid and seal with dough. Cook on slow fire for about 10 minutes. Then place the potatoes in a serving dish, strain the curry and pour on the top of the potatoes.
Serve hot with rice.
Topics:dum pukht, Food, Awadh, dum aloo

First chef from India to be invited to Le cordon Bleu to demonstrate in Paris. Monish is credited with the trailblazing turn-around of Moti Mahal, from being a small but iconic presence in Delhi, to becoming a multi-national corporation that is well on its way to defining how the world eats Indian food. A traditionalist, Monish has remained true to the signature dishes that made Moti Mahal a legend, while reinventing the dining experience into one that is exciting and avant garde to suit modern sensibilities.

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