My trip to India: Dum Pukht in Delhi

 Dum Pukht at The ITC Maurya Hotel in Delhi, India

Dum Pukht at The ITC Maurya Hotel in Delhi, India

 Dining room at Dum Pukht at The ITC Maurya Hotel in Delhi, India

Dining room at Dum Pukht at The ITC Maurya Hotel in Delhi, India

 Dum Pukht at The ITC Maurya Hotel in Delhi, India

Dum Pukht at The ITC Maurya Hotel in Delhi, India

 Dining room at Dum Pukht at The ITC Maurya Hotel in Delhi, India

Dining room at Dum Pukht at The ITC Maurya Hotel in Delhi, India

Located in the ITC Maurya Hotel in Delhi, Dum Pukht is an interesting place. Forget the luxurious feel of the decor and the outstanding service and let's focus on the history behind this restaurant:

Centuries ago, in 1784, the rich and powerful Kingdom of Awadh, known for their love for culture, music, dance and epicurean delights, was struck by famine. Nawab Asaf-ud-Daulah initiated a food for work program employing thousands in the construction of the imposing monument of Bara Imambara. Large cauldrons were filled with rice, meat, vegetables and spices, and sealed to make a simple, one-dish meal that was available to workers day and night. One day, the Nawab caught a whiff of the aromas emanating from a cauldron and the royal kitchen was ordered to serve the dish…thus being the ‘discovery’ of ‘Dum’ or ‘slow’ cooking, which was further refined to please the royal palate.

Source: Dum Pukht restaurant website

So, Dum Pukht is a slow cooking method from the Awadh region of Northern India, Dum meaning breath in and Pukht meaning to cook. What is extraordinary there is that the Chef, Gulam M. Qureshi, is a fifth generation of Chefs, and cooks according to the tradition.

 Chef Qureshi at Dum Pukht at The ITC Maurya Hotel in Delhi, India

Chef Qureshi at Dum Pukht at The ITC Maurya Hotel in Delhi, India

He was nice enough to give me a tour of the kitchen where all the magic happens.

 Dal at Dum Pukht at The ITC Maurya Hotel in Delhi, India

Dal at Dum Pukht at The ITC Maurya Hotel in Delhi, India

 Making nan at Dum Pukht at The ITC Maurya Hotel in Delhi, India

Making nan at Dum Pukht at The ITC Maurya Hotel in Delhi, India

The food was a succession of dishes, some of them very surprising, such as the lamb kakori kebab that is literally melting in your mouth. The secret? The lamb is minced seven times, making this so delicate that moving it from the main dish to the plate requires a special move and there is not need for a knife to eat it.

 Lamb kakori kebab at Dum Pukht at The ITC Maurya Hotel in Delhi, India

Lamb kakori kebab at Dum Pukht at The ITC Maurya Hotel in Delhi, India

At the same time we got the kakori kebab, they served some fantastic Jhinga Dum Nisha (tandoori jumbo prawns marinated in cheese and yoghurt) that were in fact one of my favorites, Harra Kabab Awadhi (spinach and channa dal kabab stuffed with cottage cheese), Dudiya Kabab (cottage cheese stuffed with mashed potatoes).

 Meal at Dum Pukht at The ITC Maurya Hotel in Delhi, India

Meal at Dum Pukht at The ITC Maurya Hotel in Delhi, India

 Jhinga Dum Nisha at Dum Pukht at The ITC Maurya Hotel in Delhi, India

Jhinga Dum Nisha at Dum Pukht at The ITC Maurya Hotel in Delhi, India

Next was Koh-E-Awadh that is lamb shank that was perfectly cooked and so flavorful, as well as yellow dal.

 Lamb shank at Dum Pukht at The ITC Maurya Hotel in Delhi, India

Lamb shank at Dum Pukht at The ITC Maurya Hotel in Delhi, India

 Yellow dal at Dum Pukht at The ITC Maurya Hotel in Delhi, India

Yellow dal at Dum Pukht at The ITC Maurya Hotel in Delhi, India

But it was not it: we got to try two other Dum Pukht specialties. The first one was Murgh Khushk Purdah, that is pieces of boneless chicken cooked with garlic and onions in a dish sealed with some dough to keep the aroma.

 Murgh Khushk Purdah at Dum Pukht at The ITC Maurya Hotel in Delhi, India

Murgh Khushk Purdah at Dum Pukht at The ITC Maurya Hotel in Delhi, India

Once the seal was broken, a delightful smell emanated from the dish.

 Murgh Khushk Purdah at Dum Pukht at The ITC Maurya Hotel in Delhi, India

Murgh Khushk Purdah at Dum Pukht at The ITC Maurya Hotel in Delhi, India

 Murgh Khushk Purdah at Dum Pukht at The ITC Maurya Hotel in Delhi, India

Murgh Khushk Purdah at Dum Pukht at The ITC Maurya Hotel in Delhi, India

The second dish was the biryani that was also delicious.

 Biryani at Dum Pukht at The ITC Maurya Hotel in Delhi, India

Biryani at Dum Pukht at The ITC Maurya Hotel in Delhi, India

Of course, I should not forget the nan and chapati.

 Nan at Dum Pukht at The ITC Maurya Hotel in Delhi, India

Nan at Dum Pukht at The ITC Maurya Hotel in Delhi, India

 Chapati at Dum Pukht at The ITC Maurya Hotel in Delhi, India

Chapati at Dum Pukht at The ITC Maurya Hotel in Delhi, India

Last was dessert, with a large gulab jamun, as well as kulfi that is ice cream.

 Gulab jamun at Dum Pukht at The ITC Maurya Hotel in Delhi, India

Gulab jamun at Dum Pukht at The ITC Maurya Hotel in Delhi, India

 Kulfi at Dum Pukht at The ITC Maurya Hotel in Delhi, India

Kulfi at Dum Pukht at The ITC Maurya Hotel in Delhi, India

I should probably mention the wine that was Indian, the wine list having plenty of wines from different countries, but, being in India, I thought it would be a good idea to try something local. So I chose a Fratelli Merlot Sangiovese.

 Fratelli Merlot Sangiovese from India at at Dum Pukht at The ITC Maurya Hotel in Delhi, India

Fratelli Merlot Sangiovese from India at at Dum Pukht at The ITC Maurya Hotel in Delhi, India

To digest, my colleagues dared me to try a beetle leaf that was stuffed with various seeds, similar to what you would find in many Indian restaurants (the seeds at least). And you know what? I liked it!

 Dum Pukht at The ITC Maurya Hotel in Delhi, India

Dum Pukht at The ITC Maurya Hotel in Delhi, India

 Beetle leaves at Dum Pukht at The ITC Maurya Hotel in Delhi, India

Beetle leaves at Dum Pukht at The ITC Maurya Hotel in Delhi, India

The dinner at Dum Pukht was definitely interesting, a unique culinary experience in a beautiful setting. As far as I am concerned, it is not as good as Bukhara, also located in the ITC Maurya, but it is worth trying.

Enjoy (I did)!

If you like this post, the photos or the blog, please feel free to share it or post a comment. Merci!

Dum-Pukht - ITC Maurya Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato