By Lakshmi: (Updated September 15, 2014)
Dum Pukht is a style of slow cooking that originated in Persia and flourished in Avadh (modern day Lucknow) in India. The concept is somewhat simple. A dish is prepared with a blend of delicate spices, the container is sealed and the food is allowed to slow cook for several hours in low heat, enabling the perfect marriage of flavors.
As an avid reader of culinary magazines and an experimenter with food, I read many an article describing the elegance of this form of cooking and the gourmands it produced.
But one article just elevated this form of cooking to a different stratosphere. It was an article on Dum Pukht, the restaurant devoted to this culinary form at the Maurya Sheraton in New Delhi. If an article could seduce, this one certainly did. It drew me into a different world with the ambiance created by the royal blue fabric with crystal chandeliers blended with silver serving ware, the royal welcome and service provided by waiters in traditional attire and of course the descriptions of the rice and vegetables flavored with cardamom, saffron, cloves, bay leaves and cream which apparently created a state of nirvana. The article was promptly cut out and when work took me to Delhi, my first stop for lunch was of course Dum Pukht.
To me, it was like walking into a dream like state. And unlike many a restaurant that flops miserably against the benchmark of a stellar review, this one delivered at every level. The spinach kebabs, the melt in your mouth vegetables, the naan cooked just right and of course my favorite the vegetable biryani with raita and the grand finale of gulab jamun were so different than the run of the mill fare served at every other restaurant. I savored every bite, trying to identify each flavor to enable me to recreate a less refined form of the dish in my own kitchen.
The Mughal emperor Jehangir upon spotting the valley of Kashmir said, “If paradise is anywhere on earth, it is here.” Throughout my multi-hour repast at Dum Pukht, these were the words that echoed in my head.
If work or life takes you to Delhi and you have a few hours to spare to take in a leisurely out of the ordinary meal, please visit Dum Pukht. For more details, about Dum Pukht, click here.
Dum Pukht is located at
ITC Maurya Sheraton
Sadar Patel Marg, New Delhi 110 021
Phone: (91)(11) 26112233