CLOSE The Art of Dum Pukht
Dum pukht is a traditional Awadhi cooking technique thought to have originated in the region during the time of its first Nawabi ruler, Asaf-Ud-Daulah, in the 18th century - perhaps first used as a means to provide meals to the hundreds of workmen building the famous Bada Imambara shrine. To this day, dum pukht is practised by cooks across the region and in our own kitchen here at Zaika.
The technique involves adding semi-cooked ingredients to a ceramic pot (handi) and sealing with a dough lid. The pot is then placed over a low charcoal flame and topped with flaming charcoal, so that the ingredients within slowly and evenly cook in their own juices. Typically, dum pukht is used to prepare biryani and pulao – both of which benefit from the added fragrance and texture provided by this method of slow cooking.
Dum Pukht has helped to put Awadhi food on the map in India and beyond, and is indicative of a cuisine which treats ingredients with care and precision. We remain one of only a few London restaurants using this method.