Phenomenal Purdah Biriyani – Dum Pukht!!!

Phenomenal Purdah Biriyani – Dum Pukht!!!

Dum Cooking This is one of the slow-cooking method that was introduced to India, by Mughals. It is one of the oldest cooking methods, which dates back to 1500s! Abu Fazl’s book ‘Ain-i-Akbari’( about King Akbar) describes various cooking styles and recipes in the Royal kitchen. He has also mentioned about ‘Dumpukht’ a style of cooking, derived from Persian word ‘Dum’ meaning ‘air-cooked’ or ‘baked’. Although it is not literally air cooked!! What it means is, meat is cooked with its own water, through internally generated steam, where the vessel is sealed with elastic dough/with softened clay. Thus it actually prevents the steam from escaping and the food is done very slowly(with internal steam). The earliest documented ‘Dumpukht recipe’ is found in Ain-i-Akbari.

Even though this culinary technique was quite familiar to the royal kitchen, however the credit goes to later Mughal ruler, who actually popularised it! And that is how the technique once that was restricted only to the royals, reached common man.

During, Nawab Asaf-ud-Daulah(1700s)of Awadh, dumpukht got famous. In the year 1780, the state of Awadh had severe famine and unemployment was also high. Nawab Asaf-ud-Daulah, the erstwhile ruler decreed the never ending construction of a giant edifice, the Bara Imambara…creating unceasing employment to the locals. So, arrangements were made to provide food, both day and night. It was a complete one pot meal, where rice, meat, lots of local vegetables, sour fruits and spices were cooked together.

Huge containers were filled with rice, meat, vegetables and spices. They were sealed and slow cooked, they ensured an uniform heat from the top by just placing some hot charcoal on the lids. Thus food was made available to the work force during day and night. When the King came to take a look at the arrangements procedures, he got really impressed with the cooking techniques. When the containers of slow cooked meals were opened, the aroma of spices filled the air, the meat turned out to be very tender that it kept falling off the bones and vegetables like turnips, eggplants and sour tasting fruits with rice gave out a complete health gumbo of deliciousness . So, it was once again adopted by the royal cooks and many recipes were later developed using this simple technique and it received an impetus appreciation from Royals as refinement in cooking.


For Sealing:

All purpose flour/Whole wheat flour 1 cup
Fennel seeds
Cumin seeds
Pinch of turmeric
Warm water

Combine and bring a soft dough.


Fried/dried onions 1 cup
Green Cardamom
Black cardamom
Birinji flower
Maratti mokku
Star anise
Cumin seeds
Fennel seeds
Black cumin seeds
Rose petals
Rose syrup 1 spoon
Bay leaves

For the Dish:

Rice 2 cups
Meat (lamb/goat/poultry) 1 cup
Vegetables (carrot, beans, turnips, beets, cauliflower, peas, potatoes, soya etc)
Turmeric powder 1/4 spoon
Chili powder 1 spoon
Corinader seeds powder 1 spoon
Cumin seeds powder 1/2 spoon
Garam masala powder 1/4 spoon
Lemon juice
Green chilies minced
Onions 2 grated
Ginger 2″ grated
Garlic 4 minced
Mint leaves 10 crushed
Cilantro 1 cup chopped
Ghee 1 cup.


Marinate meat with all the spices other ingredients(except oil, vegetables and rice)mentioned above.

Now wash rice several times in running tap water, once the water runs clear, retain the rice. Then semi cook the rice and set aside.

In a wide wok, heat ghee and add the marinated meat. Fry for few minutes, once the meat turns opaque and raw smell of spices are gone, throw in the vegetables. Remove from heat.

Now, in a wide oven safe tray…spread the meat-vegetable and followed by semi-cooked rice, repeat the same for more layers. Cover the vessel with a prepared elastic dough. Now set your oven at minimum possible temperature. Slow cook till tender and nice.

Garnish them as you please with fried onion, nuts, raisin and saffron.

Enjoy as a main course.:)


50 Responses so far.

  1. Bong Mom says:

    Wow I have never heard of Purdah Biryani. This makes me so hungry

  2. Priya says:

    I have never seen such a tremendous dish still today, wat a work Malar, feel like living next to u…YUmmmm!!

  3. Asha says:

    How beautiful! Like a giant Pot pie but very very Indian. Looks so delicious. Great post Malar.

  4. Wow Malar, simpy phenomenal… Looks really tempting and its been a long time since I made it!!!

  5. Swathi says:


    You have perfected the way of dum biriyani. I may try with vegetables,

  6. Rahin says:

    biryani looks very authentic and delicious Malar

  7. Chetana says:

    DELICIOUS….my mouths watering babes….cool write up.

  8. Njoyd reading the history of dum biriyani…very informative…thnx for sharing…and biriyani looks yummy!!!

  9. Trendsetters says:

    never heard of such a thing,..very good n yummy looking..

  10. Aparna says:

    Malar AWesome presentation!!!!!!!!..perfect!!!gud effort.i need a plate of it please.

  11. wow sounds so different and intersting. When name is so unique must taste also wonderful.

  12. Rekha shoban says:

    yummy briyani…nice presentation da…

  13. Sowmya says:

    i’m a vegetarian…but it looks perfect…nice presentation n you have so much patience too..

  14. Soma Pradhan says:

    Lovely Biryani..I simply love biryani and adddicted to it….Lot of pain taken to made this purdah biryani….It looks so utterly delicious

  15. Gita says:

    Malar…this is not fair…I am going crazy over all your briyani recipes…this is such an awesome one…must have been really flavorful..I like the way you have described the history of the dish…great dear :)

  16. wow you made it look very easy to make… and the biriyani looks so mouth watering… definitely we will give this a try

  17. Nandini says:

    Drooling here! Wow! Gorgeous and perfect briyani! Name sounds interesting! Great work Malar!

  18. Oraphan says:

    Wow, this looks absolutely delicious and authentic! This post is so amazing!!! It seems like a lot of work; you did such a fantastic job. Way to go, Malar!!!

  19. wow what a name!!interesting and mouthwatering at the same time…

  20. AshKuku says:

    So funny of me that I went on to sing Purdah hai purdah….purdeh ke peeche…. biriyani haseen hai… It looks hmmmmmmmm……… I loved everything about it….. It is very special as it is in purdah….

    And u know the in & out of Mughal History!!!!!

    I would love to taste ONLY what u have prepared, since I would never be able to prepare it…. WOW!!! If I happened to visit u some day…. This is the only delicacy for me….. I would be KHUSH……sh…sh!!!!!!


  21. MaryMoh says:

    Thanks very much for visiting my blog. A big ‘wow’ to have a peep here…lovely food! I love bryani but have not try cooking it myself. I really should start. The meat dish looks awesome too. Love all the spices.

  22. Babli says:

    Thanks for your sweet and lovely comment. You are most welcome to Australia. I will not only prepare crab masala but also varieties of Bengali dishes. So book the ticket soon and come to my house.
    Purdah biryani is absolutely new dish for me. Very unique and interesting dish. Looks delicious and you have presented very beautifully with mouth watering pictures.

  23. priya says:

    wow..absolutely restaurant style, dear..looks so tempting!…i tried ur panchamritham recipe, dear n it came out very well..thx for sharing,,..i ll soon post it in my blog n tag u!

  24. I’m feeling very hungry after see the snaps good!!!

  25. Happy Cook says:

    Woow i have never had this, i remember seeing in a cooking show. This looks so so beautiful and so so super dleicous.

  26. Sarah Naveen says:

    Oh girlie..You are making me mad hungry with all your yummy recipes..this looks divine…So tempting

  27. Pavithra says:

    Looks too tempting and its been long time since i made it.. offcourse with veggies… I love biriyani thats really making me hungry seeing ur clicks.. and nice wirte up and informations malar… good job.

  28. Gulmohar says:

    Oh my !! You’ve killed me with all these tempting pics…lol..The sealing is so interesting. Will try it next time..Thanks Malar !

  29. s says:

    never heard of it..but it sounds like a hidden TREASURE!!! delicious!

  30. Pravs says:

    Interesting ! seeing so many vegetables with meat biriyani is so different and brinjal flower as a Very different biriyani indeed.

  31. Rohini says:

    Though a vegetarian (or rather eggitarian) I am totally swept of by the royal treatment!!! I am definitely gonna try this by subsituting some veggies/eggs.. thanks for the lovely recipe da!

  32. ruchikacooks says:

    Fantastic photos, the rice grains look well cooked, and the fried onions on top makes it yum.

  33. Dolly says:

    OMG..Malar..The name says it all PHENOMENAL!!!. Loved your awesome write-up and thanks for a small informative history lesson…

    This Purdah Biryani looks yummylicious and irresistible..Great step by step pictorial directions…It all seems PERFECT !!!.

  34. Laavanya says:

    The biryani looks fantastic and I like how the dough covering bakes into a yummy snack

  35. homecooked says:

    Wow…looks yummy and amazing! Will have to try this out. Your pics make it simpler to follow :)

  36. Dershana says:

    beautiful! ennode dum biriyani beat pannitte:-)

  37. this is absolutely delicious, can imagine the fragrance in the air as soon you open the dough…

    must be tasting terribly good!!!

    loved all the detailed pictures ( that way, it ‘s easier to figure out how you ‘ve proceeded)

    yanukkellaam padikkira kaalathiley history-yellam yeraadhu paa!! nee vera history class senji yenna confuse panra, hehehe ( jokes apart, nice information about the origin of this wonderful dish Malar)

    seriously, I have never tried this dum method using dough, since you’ve shown beautifully, maybe I can try but have to wait for some special occasions, as it looks generously garnished and rich!!!

    Hum, nadathu,nadathu, unakku oruthikku thattu romba kutty-aa dhan irukku, heheehehhahahaha

    have a nice week end dear!!

  38. Mayuri says:

    nice biryani, really looks like giant indian biryani pot pie,
    is the cover edible ??
    I am definetely going to be making this recipe soon.
    Too tempting to not prepare it, am sure u must have relished it :)

  39. Spice says:

    Only heard it before…..U made the visual treat really beautiful….I’m def. going to try it out….as he has been asking for biryani from last couple of days….

    u sure love the history behind the traditional foods…

  40. Priya says:

    this is so gud..biryani with a history..same pinch,i cud feel hw this kinda dum biryani next post is also goin to be dum biryani..enjoy

  41. Anupama says:

    I’m at awe Malar. Nice that you are posting such traditional recipes.

  42. Sashi says:

    Biryani looks awesome Malar, never head of it learning a lot of new dishes here. drooling .. Am gonna try biryani this weekend.

  43. Sashi says:

    Biryani looks awesome Malar, never head of it learning a lot of new dishes here. drooling .. Am gonna try biryani this weekend.

  44. Yummy biryani!!super presentation…

  45. Yasmeen says:

    OMG malar, this is a superb biryani :D

  46. meeso says:

    I am going to have to try this! No matter how much work or how long it takes :P

  47. hi malar
    good recipe and the description is super..
    Which biriyani rice (brand) you used looks so yummy…If u don’t mind share that

  48. Hi malar,Thanks a lot for the quick response,happy to hear fr u that u r not using any special basmati rice..i am using the tilda rice …next time will buy from indian grocery
    thanks a lot for your comments yarr and also happy to know that u really enjoyed our blog…keep on coming …Will add you many more nonvegetarian recipe..
    keep in touch

  49. Malar Gandhi says:

    Hi Pranith,

    Yeah…I am not particular about the brands s much here, as I am living in the country side…its so hard to locate an Indian grocery store nearby, so I just adapted to any kind of long-grain or basmati rice, that flows in the local store:(

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