The idle ramblings of a Jack of some trades, Master of none

Aug 27, 2008


That famous restaurant Bukhara in Delhi, voted Asia's best eatery by the magazine Restaurant, prides itself on having maintained a virtually unchanged menu for the past thirty years. Its chief chef, J.P. Singh, was recently interviewed by Reuters, and had the following intriguing statement to make:
Our dal is top selling and we even vacuum pack it to sell it all over India. A lot of delicacy goes into cooking it. The dal is boiled overnight and the next morning we remove the scum and the dirty water, put in the spices and keep it over the fire to cook. Anyone who passes it gives it a stir. (Italics mine)
Suddenly, I'm not too keen on dining there.


??! said...

I'm going to put that down to translation errors.

The scum he's referring to has to be the frothy stuff you get when you wash or boil dry dal. It has to, right?

Fëanor said...

Or, it could be the customers who refused to go home after pigging out the previous night...

See, I thought the froth and dirty water would have been thrown out when the dal was washed. Once the dal's ready to boil, surely what remains is not dirty any more?

Space Bar said...

samudra manthan. what's left is amrit, no less.

C K said...

lol, I honestly think that it's a translation error. Reminds me of the myth that KFC's whipped potato is done by asking their employees to trash soften potatoes with their feet!

??! said...

I thought the froth and dirty water would have been thrown out when the dal was washed
This is also true.

Now I'm getting queasy at the thought that you could be right. Ick.

Fëanor said...

??!: Why, did you eat at Bukhara lately?

CK: Myth? Who said it was a myth? Heh.

Shefaly said...

Feanor, it is evident that you have never soaked dal overnight. :-) When you wash it, the dust and some powdery carb remnants come out. When you soak (or boil) it, a sort of froth does rise to the surface. I have been soaking a bowl of chana-dal for 2 nights on my kitchen island; this morning it had the said froth :-/

PS: Why single Bukhara out? Next time, look in your neighbourhood pub's kitchen.

Fëanor said...

Shefaly: a froth rises when you boil washed dal overnight? That, I confess, I've never seen. And the water that remains is hardly dirty, then, no?

Rajesh said...

Hi feanor! long time since i've scanned your pages... i wont get into the scum and froth topic!

The dal bukara is an amazing creation... it was the brainchild of Chef Madan Jaiswal who travelled to afghanistan and other sthans before introdusing the dal and the famous "raan e madan" at the Bukara. This raan was renamed as 'Sikandari Raan' now. i have in 1993-94 eaten the Raan many times at Royal Afghan, Windsor Manor Hotel, Bangalore... the dal was served unlimited and free with the raan... and in that year Chef Madan himself used to cook it as he came to bangalore to launch Royal Afghan. At a point i felt i was ordering the raan just to eat two huge bowls of dal! Sadly chef madan perished in a car accident sometime in 1995.
Today many restaurants in india's dal come pretty close to the dal bukara... the dal in my restaurant Sikandar in bangalore is pretty close too... thanks to my chef having worked in Dum Pukt, Delhi.
so forget the scum and froth... simbly enjai!!

Fëanor said...

What ho, Rajesh. Thanks for the detailed comment. Was unaware of the history of dal bukhara (or any other dal, for that matter). So how about shipping some of your Sikandri dal over to London? :-)

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