Monday, February 15, 2010

Go for excellence and success will follow you

We work for excellence, uttered, one of my second year student, who is topper of his batch and the student of the year 2009- Saumil srivastava. And the success will follow you, I completed the statement. (The statement of Aamir khan, Raju Hirani or Chetan Bhagat --- controversial … let it be Baba Ramchor das Chanchal or Mr. Wangroo)

This was actually the end of my briefing, when we discussed Awadh cuisine - the great cuisine of Present Lucknow and its surrounding. This is, no doubt, one of India’s richest cuisine, this is the cuisine that has given us the Dumpukht style of cooking, the melt in mouth kebab. Yes, the most tender and delectable Kakori Kebab. And also some family of highly skilled chefs/ Royal chefs – like the kureshies. There is also a brand of restaurant owned by ITC hotels by the name of Dumpukt, which has been managed by one of the qureshi (except recent chefs) as their Chef in charge.

Dumpukt is a special cooking method used for maturation of partially cooked dish. And probably after knowing this, the students also become matured enough to shoulder their responsibility. There was something different in their body language, some new thing in their eyes. They wanted to prove themselves or probably wanted to innovate something. But it was lovely to see them with lots of positive energy, with lots of determination to do something. All of them had abundance team spirit and very high level of coordination. Perhaps they have got and understood the message of Mr. wangroo, or become matured after knowing Dumpukt – need to ask them.

And It was even better to see the response of other batch, who showed the same degree of coordination and responsibility.

Before discussing Dum Pukht, I just want to thank them and wish that they remain in same form. And for this change & development, I want to thank Mr. wangroo.

Dum Pukht–

Dum literally means steam. It is a method of cooking food on very low flame,with the help of steam entrapped in a sealed containers.

It allows the Partial cooked ingredients to cook, in their own juices and bone-marrow, if it is meat and thus regarded as the maturation of the dish.

The technique is more than 200 years old.Traditionally dum pukht cooking uses a round, heavy – bottom pot/handi in which food is tightly sealed and cook over slow fire. The container is sealed traditionally with a dough that is spread, , like a lid, over the container, to seal the foods. This is known as a purdah (veil),on cooking it becomes a bread which has absorbed the flavours of the food and the two are best eaten together.Some times, a metal lid is used to cover the handi and some coal is placed on the lid to ensure proper heat from top and below.

Dum Pukht food is about aroma and flavour. there are also some fresh herbs andspices used for flavouring, and the steam is entrapped inside,so the dish retains all the aroma and flavours. when the seal is broken the fragrance of the dish floats in the air.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Robust personality, at least 6’1” height, funky hair style would probably make Laveen different from his batch mates. But the actual thing that makes Laveen stand out is his passion, creativity and the dedication for Food production.

He is a skilled chef equipped with high degree of innovative ideas and never say die attitude. Laveen is a third year student of our college who (with 3 of his friends) is going to represent the college in an Inter college Student Chef Competition. After completing his practice he came to me with a beautiful Snails shaped bowl with some eatable stuff inside, when I was having my lunch in Daffodils (a training restaurant in the college). Sir, Please… offering that beautiful bowl to me. I got it right; he wanted my feedback/comments for his efforts. What is this – Mr.Beri enquired, poking his dessert spoon into it, who is a very senior person in our young team of lecturers and who was sharing the table with me. Paan ki Kheer Sir, replied Laveen very politely.

Can I have another spoon of kheer, I asked leveen and I found a different expression on his face. He was blushing, probably he got the message that I liked it very much and his innovation has got another person to appreciate. No, It would be unfare if I miss Mr. Beri here, he liked it too and also had 3 spoons of the Kheer. I asked the recipe, after discussing the possibilities of its practical uses.

Laveen explains his creation – I reduce the milk then added some rice (50 – 60 gm for ½ liter of milk) and cooked it completely. I have used gulkand for sweetness with special pan masala that gives us a feeling as if we were having the actual Betal Nuts. I have also some dried fruits and a nut into it, laveen completes his recipe.

Its amazing, its very logical and it could be a post dessert stuff or a replacement for betal leave that is offered after the meal to aid the digestion. Actually he offered this at very correct time, we had just finished our main course. I am feeling good, said Mr. Beri moving down his hand through the esophagus. I nodded to his statement.

Though, Laveen and his team, is already a winner, I wish them a very successful trip.

Here is the recipe of Paan ki kheer in simpler form.
(Created by Chef Laveen & Chef Himanshu)

Ingredients Quantity Serves 2
Betal Leaf 4 no
Milk ½ lit.
Rice 50 gm
Gulkand 2 tbsp
Pan Masala Mixture 1 tbsp
Dried fruits and nuts 50 gm
Saffron a pinch
Khoya 30 gm
Rose Petals and Silver warq – for garnish

Pick, wash and soak the rice.
Cut two of the betal leaf into shreds and keep two for lining the serving bowl.

Reduce the milk to half, stirring continuously in a thick bottom pan.
Add the rice and shreads of betal leaf and allow it to cook completely, and then add the gulkand, the pan masala, khoya, saffron, dried fruits & nuts.
Cook till it become thick (pouring consistency) and has develop the typical pan flavor.

Dishing Technique
Line the serving bowls or some decorative, good looking bowl like laveen does, with betal leafs. Portion the kheer carefully, garnish it with rose petals & nuts and serve chilled or at room temperature.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The cuisine of India

Hi everyone!

Here is another blog on our cuisine – The Indian Cuisine, but this blog is going to be different. This is a platform to start something for the better understanding, standardization and simplification of the Indian cuisine. This blog would be helpful for my readers to understand our cuisine and to make it simpler.

Indian cuisine is known all over the world for its delectable use of spices. The proportion of Masalas (spices), the accurate time for its addition and the degree of cooking are the key factors that determine the quality of a dish. However, this art had been confined to the master chefs who have their proprieties spice mixtures and are reluctant to share their recipes.

If we look at these recipes critically and scientifically, we can reach up to a conclusion that each step has a particular purpose and there are alternate ways of making the same dish also. At the same time the proportions of spices, several additions is off course an art that needs to be understood and perfected as per changing times. After all, Cooking is not merely following a recipe “It is an art as well as science”.

In the last several years, observing and researching recipes have been my passion and I have been scientifically analyzing recipes and noting down various interpretations for the simple reason of making the Indian cuisine appeal to a wider connoisseur. After all, as a true Indian I wish our cuisine becomes popular in every corner of the world.