Sanoli's Kitchen: June 2014

Friday, June 27, 2014


Most of us surely heard the name of legendary Grand Master Chef Imtiaz Qureshi and admired his creations of royal delicacies. Chef Mohammad Imtiaz Qureshi, is known for reinventing the forgotten Awadhi cuisine. He dedicated several years of his life in improvising the Awadhi recipes.But it is something great to meet him and have food like Royal style. It is really rare that he invites you to break the bread with him. We sampled the preview of new menu being unvailed by Master Chef Imtiaz Qureshi of ITC Sonar's Dum Pukht fame, where they showcased a royal repast five course menu paired with Royal Salute 21 YO by whiskey expert Sandeep Arora. Chef Qureshi played the perfect host as we feasted many more exotic specialities from the signature 'Dum Pukht' repertoire. Personally, I felt really fortunate and honoured that chef Qureshi was present among us and described why those menus are called 'Royal'.
Chef Imtiaz Qureshi (Left) & Whisky Ambassador Sandeep Arora (Right)
'The Shahenshah of Dum Pukht Cooking' Chef Qureshi has much to thank the ITC welcomgroup Hotels for. He was the head chef of the famous Clarke's Hotel in Lucknow. And before that a caterer for Mughlai food in the old city. ITC offered Imtiaz a contract, to head the operation of their Indian kitchens. Imtiaz was encouraged to research the forgotten cuisine of the nawab of Awadh. He spent years in perfecting the receipes, naming it "Dum Pukht" after the process of cooking. The cuisine was launched at a restaurant by the same name at the ITC Maurya Sheraton in 1989.
Chef Qureshi (Centre)
When I took a look on his palms, they are not like we usually seen, little big enough. He uses them to measure all the spices that go into his dum pukht recipes. As he can't read nor write, so doesn't understand the measurements. But he has a natural feel for ingredients, as per him 'andaz'. He measures the ingredients in his palm. By instinct, by experience he can understand what is holding is enough or if it is more or less.
Chef inside the kitchen
Before I come to the menus, will attempt to what is 'Dum Pukht' cooking is all about. 'Dum Pukht' is a Persian word, which is a slow cooking technique associated with the Awadh region of India, in which meat and vegetables are cooked in a sealed contained over a very low flame. The technique may be based on earlier Persian cooking methods introduced to India. But tradition assigns in India to the reign of Nawab Asaf-ud-daulah in the late 19th century. This cooking method brings you the intense flavours and leisurely luxury of slow cooked food made from authentic recipes garnered from the royal kitchen of Awadh.
Dum pukht cooking uses a round, heavy – bottomed pot, a handi, in which food is tightly sealed and cooked over a slow fire. There are two main aspects to this style of cooking; bhunao and dum, or ‘roasting’ and ‘maturing’ of a prepared dish. In this style of cuisine, herbs and spices play an extremely critical role. The process of slow roasting gently persuades each to release maximum flavor. The sealing of the lid of the handi with dough achieves maturing. Cooking slowly in its juices, the food retains all its natural aromas and becomes imbued with the richness of flavors that distinguishes the dish. 
Starter Plate
Firstly, a dish arrived to our table named "Raan-e-huzoor", baby lamb legs cooked on the dum with a thick date sauce, embellished with walnut and almonds. Meat melted in the mouth and while it came with mughlai paratha, just amazing! This mughlai paratha is not a layered paratha as we seen usually, it was stuffed paratha, slightly sweet in taste and hard, but easilly breakable. Along with these the next starter was "Jinga Qureshi". Jumbo prawns stuffered with dried apricot and cheese encased in a soft puff pastry shell. The taste and flavours of the prawn was such yummy, no one can resist to taste of it.
Jhinga Qureshi
The next catagory of foods were QORMA, QALIYA, SALAN. By name you can guess how delicious platter was! The first dish of this course arrived in the table was "Samudri Ratan". Soft balls made with fresh and tendered crab meat in a delicate fenugreek flavoured gravy, a very luscious dish indeed! Next dish was "Koh-E-Avadh". This is one of the chef's special recipe of qorma. Elegantly exposed lamb shank, Dum cooked in their own cardamom tinged juices and marrow, finished with saffon, just tastes divine. "Dal Badami" was the next dish which arrived in our table. A real tasty dal made by white urad lentils, flaved and tempered with dill leaves enriched with sliced almond. "Desi murgh ishtew" served on next. A Super tempting country chicken qorma braised over a slow burning fire, with onions, black pepper, yogurt and other spices. "Dum Ki Kumb" the delicious gravy of button mushrooms, which slow cooked in tomato and cashewnut based aromatic gravy imbued with fennel and dried ginger was simply superb! Along with all those four dishes they served soft Roomali Roti and Naan-e-Bah Khummach. The mouthwatery patter definitely fulfilled anyone's tastebuds as well as stomach. It was surely an delicate and delightful platter.

But there was no doubt, champion of the day was "Dudhiya Biryani", a truelly flavourful, aromatic and toothsome biryani which was made in Lucknowi style.  fit for kings and went onto occupy pride of place in the kitchens of Nawabs and Nizams of India as Biryani was considered a royal dish,This delicious and distinct flavoured layer rice dish was slow cooked with Tender lamb morsles, Aromatic Basmati rice, milk and flavouring agents. 
Dudhiya Biryani
This royal meal was ended with "Shahi Tukda", an exotic dessert of saffron rabri, spread on a slice of syrup soaked homemade bread, and "Lab-e-Mashooq", a frozen dessert of reduced milk scented with orange, royal style of 'Kulfi'. The five course royal style meal was rounded off with 'Meetha Pan'.
Shahi Tukda & Lab-e-Mashooq
Whiskey connoisseur Sandeep Arora savours a 21-year-old Royal Salute. "This whiskey has taken so long to reach our table; what were you doing 21 years ago?" he asked. Sandeep is in the city to curate what he calls a Royal Repast: matching the well-aged Royal Salute with the most popular royal cuisine. Sandeep's passion for whiskey is evident when he talks about it. "Whiskys and food pairing was introduced way back in early 90s at a time when whiskey was not very popular, or rather, was losing ground to wines. It's not just a concept where you think whiskey is high in alcohol content or perceived stong drink and you don't drink it with anything. We started pairing this type of food to showcase how aromas and flavours of whiskey could match the flavours of the food", he said. As Dum Pukht cuisine means royal cuisine, so Arora decided to blend this scotch whiskey with gooseberry, hazelnuts and lavender. "The oil in these foods coats the tongue, inhibiting taste. So as not to confuse the palate, Sandeep says that he began to keep one whiskey as the base on which the entire meal can be matched. The food is travelling over different zonal tastes, and the whiskey has to be like a solid partner. Royal Salute fit the bill amount it was non-conflicting, complementary and it gently rests with you. The branding helps in adding to the royal aura of the entire meal", Sandeep explained.
Whiskey Ambassador Sandeep Arora
The Dum cooking using exotic spices and herbs, so that the one dish meal became royal delicacies. As per Chef Qureshi, Pukht means purity, cleanliness. As per him, food should be prepared in such a way so that its sanctity can be compared as offering to the God. Thus, those exotic foods can satisfy each and every soul. But to catch the aromas, flavours and tastes of Qureshi's cooking, you will have to go at Dum Pukht, ITC Sonar, Kolkata.

Monday, June 23, 2014


This baked apple cheese cake is really yummy and easy to make. Light and flavourful baked cheese cake topped with caramelized apple wedges. Raisins added some extra flavour to it. The simplicity makes this cake so special. I only had single slice left of the cake to take the final pic. Guess how delightful this cake is!!!



20 gm / 0.7 oz Butter (Softened)
120 gm / 2.1 oz Orange Wafers


1 Apple, Cut into 8 Wedges
113 gm / 4 oz Philadelphia Cream Cheese
70 ml Whipping Cream or Fresh Cream
2 tbsp Self Raising Flour (Maida)
40 gm / 1.4 oz + 1 tbsp Sugar
1 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla Essence
2 tsp Fresh Lemon Juice
10 gm / 0.35 oz Melted Butter
1 tbsp Raisins


Line a square pan with parchment paper / Baking paper.
Place all orange wafers in a ziploc bag. By using your hands smas it nicely.
Add 20 gm butter and mix it thoroughly. Press firmly by using the bottom of a glass on the prepared pan with parchment paper. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until set.

Preheat oven to 180 C. Beat softened cream cheese in a bowl. Add Sugar in it. Blend again.
Add beaten egg and whisk the mixture well. Pour whipped cream and mix nicely.
Add lemon juice, vanilla essence and shift flour in it. Add melted butter in this mixture and fold well.
Pour the mixture onto the pan above crust.
In the mean time, heat a pan. Arrange apple wedges on it. Sprinkle 1 tbsp sugar. Heat both sides of the wedges, so that apple glazes well. Remove from pan and place the glazed apple pieces on the top of the cake batter now. Sprinkle raisins on the top.
Put the cake pan on the oven and bake exactly for 40 minutes. Allow to cool to the room temperature and refrigerate for atleast 3 hours before serving.

Cut into bars and serve!!!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


This is one of the filling and tasty rice dish which I experimented for this month's Shhhhh...Cooking Secretly Challenge started by Priya Suresh akka from Priya's Versatile Recipes. My partner for this month is Manjula Kanted from Desi Fiesta, who suggested my secret ingredients which were Cabbage and Cinnamon. Here, I used both of them to make this delicious rice dish in South Indian style. Cabbage Rice is a quick-fix main coarse dish or a filling lunch box recipe. Cinnamon added some extra flavour to it. A great variation of rice dish for those who don't like to eat cabbage. This dish is for them, who need to quickly cook healthy food, pack for the lunch and move on with our work. 


2&1/2 Cups Cooked Basmati Rice / Leftover Rice
2&1/2 Cups Shredded Cabbage
1 Medium Onion (Thinly Sliced)
1&1/2 tsp Grated Garlic
2 tbsp Peanuts
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
1/2 tsp Mustard Seeds
A Pinch of Asafoetida
2 Green Chillies, Cut into Slits
1 tsp Coriander Powder
1/4 tsp Cinnamon Powder
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
1/2 tsp Red Chilli Powder
8-10 Curry Leaves
2 tsp Lemon Juice
3 tbsp Oil
Salt to taste


In a pan or wok, heat 3 tbsp oil and add cumin seeds, mustard seeds, asafoetida. Let cumin seeds and mustards seeds crackle. Now add peanuts and fry for a minute. Add grated garlic and curry leaves. Saute till it turns light brown in colour. 
Add sliced onion and fry till it gets translucent. Add cabbage and salt in it, mix well. Now add all the dry spice powder in it. Stir again. Cover and cook on medium heat for 4 minutes. Keep stirring occassionally. Cabbage should be soft and crunchy.
Pour cooked rice in it. Fold well. Cover and cook for another 3-4 minutes on medium low heat., so that everything incorporate very well with rice. 

Finally sprinkle lemon juice on the top, give a nice stir and remove it from the heat now.
Serve as a main dish with a bowl of curd or raita...Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


Bengali chutney are totally different from the chutneys of other provinces, not only tastewise but also in sticky texture. This is the king of all chutneys in Bengali cuisine. Basically, this is a must have sweet chutney after every bengali meal in occassions. A sweet thick chutney that serves with fried papad.


250 gm Dates (Khejur)
200 gm Mango Papad (Amsotto)
50 gm Raisins
1/3 Cup Pomegranate Seeds (Optional)
1 tsp Roasted Cumin Seeds (pounded)
1 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Water
1 tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp Salt


De-seed dates. Cut mango papad in 1/2" cubes.
Heat sugar and water in a wok or pan, keep stirring continuously.
When bubbles come on sugar syrup add dates, mango papad, raisins one by one and keep stirring.
Add salt and cook for 2-3 minutes on medium flame.
Now add pomegranate seeds, lemon juice and roasted cumin powder. Give a nice stir and remove from heat now.

Let it cool normally. May garnish with few pomegranate seeds and sprinkle with pinches of roasted cumin powder.
Serve immediately after the main course of lunch or dinner. May pour it in a air-tight container and refrigerate for two weeks.

Thursday, June 5, 2014


This is a classic and gorgeour Punjabi dish, usually served as a main course. A spicy and a super delightful Indian style chicken curry which is very flavourful and luscious. The main ingredient is yogurt, chicken slowly cooked in yogurt gravy. Trust me, it is just fabulous!!!


1 Kg Chicken, Cut In Bones (Cleaned and washed)
4 Medium Tomatoes
2 tbsp Finely Chopped Fresh Coriander Leaves (Cilantro)
1 tbsp Garlic Paste
1 tbsp Ginger Paste
1 Cup Thick Yogurt (Curd)
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
1&1/2 tsp Red Chilli Powder (Or as per taste)
1/2 tsp Garam Masala
1 tbsp Dried Fenugreek Leaves (Kasuri Methi)
1 tbsp Coriander Powder
4 tbsp Oil
Salt to taste
2-3 Green Chillies, Cut Into Slits
1 tsp Ginger Julienne
Few Sprigs of Coriander Leaves (Chopped)


Boil tomatoes for 10-15 minutes on medium heat. Let those cool and remove skin. Make puree from these skinless tomatoes and keep it aside.
Heat oil in a wok, when oil is enough hot, add chicken pieces and fry for 6-8 minutes or till chicken turns into golden brown. Remove pieces from the oil and set those aside.
Add cumin seeds followed by ginger-garlic paste on the same oil and saute for 4 minutes till ginger-garlic turns into light brown in colour.
Now add all the dry spices, i.e. turmeric powder, red chilli powder, faram masala, salt and coriander powder in the same oil.
Saute for a minute and then add tomato puree in it. Keep stirring for 4 minutes on medium flame, you can see oil leaves from the spices.
Pour yogurt on it and cook for a while.
Add fried chicken pieces, mix well. Cover and cook for 20 minutes on medium low heat. Add kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves), fold well and switch off the heat now.

Garnish with green chillies, julienned ginger and coriander leaves.
Serve warm with naan, paratha, chapati or any rice dish, it is always delicious!!!