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Dum Pukht: Awadhi Royalty Reimagined

Nestled within the prestigious ITC Maurya Hotel in New Delhi, Dum Pukht stands as a timeless testament to the opulence and refinement of Awadhi cuisine.

Established in 1988, Dum Pukht has meticulously preserved and honored the culinary traditions of the Awadhi nawabs, encapsulating centuries of royal heritage in each dish.

The essence of Dum Pukht lies in its namesake cooking method—'Dum' meaning 'breathe in' and 'Pukht' meaning 'to cook'. This ancient technique involves slow-cooking food in a sealed pot (handi) over a low flame, allowing the flavors to meld harmoniously and intensify. Herbs and spices play a pivotal role, imparting their distinct aromas and tastes to every dish.

At the heart of Dum Pukht's success is Senior Master Chef Gulam M. Qureshi, a fifth-generation culinary maestro whose expertise has elevated the restaurant to legendary status. Chef Qureshi's journey began in 1977 at ITC Maurya, where he mastered the art of Dum cooking under his father's tutelage and further honed his skills through extensive study of ancient Urdu manuscripts.

Preserving Tradition: Chef Gulam M. Qureshi's Culinary Odyssey

At its helm stands Senior Master Chef Gulam M. Qureshi, a torchbearer of Awadhi cuisine and a custodian of Dum cooking. Chef Qureshi's journey is deeply intertwined with Dum Pukht's legacy, with decades of historyReflecting on this milestone, Chef Qureshi describes his role as a privilege and a responsibility. "Dum Pukht is not just a restaurant; it's a philosophy," he remarks, emphasizing the brand's commitment to showcasing India's culinary heritage on a global stage.

The roots of Dum Pukht trace back to Chef Qureshi's father-in-law, Ustad Imtiyaz Qureshi, credited with introducing the dum methods and recipes to Delhi. When asked about carrying forward this esteemed legacy, Chef Qureshi underscores the collective effort behind Dum Pukht's success. "It's a team effort," he emphasizes, acknowledging the pivotal role played by ITC Hotels' management and master chefs.

Exploring the nuances of Awadhi cuisine, Chef Qureshi distinguishes it as a subset of Mughlai cuisine, with roots dating back to Nawab Asaf-ud-Daulah's discovery in 1784. During a famine, the Nawab's innovation birthed the iconic "dum" cooking technique, revolutionizing the culinary landscape of Awadh.

Engaging in the perennial debate between biryani and pulao, Chef Qureshi offers insights into their distinct preparations. "Biryani, meaning 'fried before cooking,' evolved from the fusion of Indian pulao with Taimur the Lame's introduction in the 14th century," he explains. Highlighting the key difference, Chef Qureshi underscores the layered, slow-cooked process that defines Dum Pukht Biryani, elevating it to culinary excellence.

What sets Dum Pukht Biryani apart? Chef Qureshi attributes its allure to meticulous craftsmanship and authentic ingredients. "The specific cut and slow cooking in a sealed 'handi' preserve the flavors and juices," he reveals, emphasizing the use of locally sourced, fresh ingredients.

The dining experience at Dum Pukht is a symphony of flavors and textures, showcased in signature dishes like the Dum Pukht Biryani, Shahi Nehari, Kakori Kebab, and Koh-E-Awadh. Each dish reflects a meticulous attention to detail, from the slow-cooked lamb shanks infused with cardamom tinge juices to the delicate Harra Kebab Awadhi stuffed with cottage cheese.

Beyond its culinary prowess, Dum Pukht enchants guests with its regal ambiance. Crystal chandeliers illuminate the dining space adorned with white walls embellished in gold leaf, complemented by royal blue furnishings and marble flooring. The artfully designed blue and white crockery adds a touch of vintage elegance to each place setting, transporting diners to the courts of Awadh.

Notably, Dum Pukht's gastronomic finesse extends beyond its acclaimed biryanis to a curated set menu of five courses, featuring Mughlai specialties that tantalize the palate. Vegetarian delights like Harra Kebab Awadhi and Kham Khatai showcase Chef Qureshi's versatility in crafting innovative dishes that celebrate the rich culinary heritage of Awadh.

For connoisseurs seeking an authentic taste of Awadhi cuisine in a setting steeped in history and grandeur, Dum Pukht at ITC Maurya is a culinary destination unlike any other. Immerse yourself in the splendor of royal dining and savor the legacy of Dum Pukht—a culinary journey through the courts of Awadh brought to life in modern times!!


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