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.
All purpose flour/Whole wheat flour 1 cup
Pinch of turmeric
Combine and bring a soft dough.
Fried/dried onions 1 cup
Black cumin seeds
Rose syrup 1 spoon
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
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.:)