Grande Cuisine of India
Heritage Cuisines of the Qureshi’s
Pleasures of the Palate Qureshi’s name has been synonymous with good eating for over 200 years that they have been in operation. A great deal of time and effort has been spent by them in researching and developing cuisine's, from the corner of the vast sub continent. Encouragement with in the family provided them to try age old recipes gleaned from ancient manuscripts and also to innovating with unusual combinations. Two special cuisine's perfected by Qureshi’s are categorized as ‘Heritage Cuisine's' - ‘Frontier’ and ‘Dum Pukht’. The origin of these two special cuisine's is steeped in history. With the entry of Mughal and other nomadic tribes from Afghanistan and Persia, the kitchen of India acquired different flavors. The more rugged culinary styles of these tribes gave birth to the ‘Tandoor’. To the cuisine of India, the Mughals brought in the richer methods of cooking using dates and nuts, while a subtler and more refined form was created through the ‘Dum Pukht’ cuisine of the Nawab of Awadh. The gastronomic delights of the nomadic tribes of the North-West Frontier Provinces have been among the most popular for the last 45 years. However, the subtleties of the delicious ‘tandoori’ were virtually unknown till my family decided to research and recreate dishes hitherto confined to remote regions of the great Himalayas. The Frontier cuisine may be considered the legacy of the Grand Master Chef Imtiaz Qureshi, who was responsible for introducing the concept of the ‘stand-up tandoor’ and for adding a touch of perfection to the recipes served at restaurant as well as creating recipes that are now on the menus of tandoori restaurants all over the world. The distinctive Dum Pukht cuisine has found a niche for itself. And is finding new converts every day. Immensely popular, the cuisine promises the experience that international gourmet seeks. The exact origins of this sovereign cuisine are lost in time. The story is that when famine ravaged the state, Nawab Asaf-ud-Daulah decreed he never ending construction of a giant edifice, The Bara Imambara, creating unceasing employment. By royal decree, too, arrangements were made to provide food. Enormous containers were filled with rice, meat, vegetables, spices – and sealed. Hot charcoal was placed on top and fires fit underneath, while slow cooking ensured that food was available, day or night. The result was extraordinary. For when the vessels were unsealed, the splendid aromas attracted royal attention. “Dum” means to “breath in” and “Pukht” to “cook”.
By order of the Nawab the “dumned” cuisine was now perfected, for the royal table. Exotic dishes were evolved, in which flavours and fragrances intermingled, with exquisite results. Before long, the new cuisine was fashionable at many other royal courts like Hyderabad, Delhi, Kashmir, Rampur, and Bhopal. Dum delicacies have a flavor all their own. But since the Nawabs of Awadh were descendants of the Mughals, the cuisine bears a resemblance to Persian cuisine. However, the spices which form an integral part of the preparations, are wholly Indian, as are the subtle flavors of each dish.