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One chef, one recipe: Dum Dudhiya Biryani by Chef Vijay Thapliyal

A traditional Indian recipe from the royal kitchens of the erstwhile Rampur state encounters modern innovations at The Lodhi, New Delhi.

With over two decades of experience, Chef Vijay Thapliyal hesitates a bit when asked to recommend one dish. It’s understandably difficult to choose from among thousands of dishes he has crafted across hundreds of menus over his long career.

Chef Vijay Thapliyal
Chef Vijay Thapliyal, Executive Chef, The Lodhi, cooks the dum dudhiya biryani in individual serving bowls instead of the traditional method of making biryani in large batches.


What he does come up with, is an iconic dish, with its origins in the erstwhile Rampur state in Uttar Pradesh, when it was under the rule of nawabs. Dum dudhiya biryani is a unique creation which is completely white in colour, quite unlike the various biryanis we see around the country. While the royal kitchens obviously used methods that were quite different from modern setups, the challenge here is of an entirely different nature. While usually biryani is made in massive handis (pots) in large batches, at The Lodhi, it is cooked in individual serving bowls. Aside from reducing wastage, the chef explains, this also allows the aroma to be locked into each bowl. Keeping the aroma in is achieved by another element added by the chef that differentiates the modern recipe from the traditional one – each individual portion comes sealed with an edible roti layer on top. The fact that there’s no way to taste the biryani in the kitchen and the final result can only be appreciated by the diner, is perhaps the biggest challenge with this dish.  

You can either sample dum dudhiya biryani at The Lodhi, New Delhi or maybe try your own hand at it by following the recipe.

dum dudhiya biryani

Dum Dudhiya Biryani

Ingredients:

  • 100gm basmati rice
  • 200gm mutton curry cut (2 shanks/2 chunks/4 chops)
  • 1 litre mutton bone stock
  • 40gm hung curd              
  • 30gm clarified butter     
  • 60ml cooking cream       
  • Salt to taste
  • 10gm garam masala powder       
  • 10ml kewra water
  • 150gm onion (sliced)
  • 6-7 green cardamom (powdered)             
  • 20ml refined oil
  • 10gm sliced green chili  
  • 4-5 black cardamom       
  • 3-4 mace            
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks           
  • 7-8 cloves
  • 6-8gm khus root (vetiver)            
  • 80gm desi ghee

Preparation:

Clean and wash the rice properly and soak for 45 minutes.

Take a pan, heat ghee and crackle the whole spices. Add sliced onions and a pinch of salt. Cook till onions become golden brown in colour.

Add ginger garlic paste and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Add mutton, curd, green cardamom powder, salt, sliced green chili, khus root, garam masala and cook until oil separates. Then add mutton stock and cook.

Add cream, butter and cook for another 50 seconds.

To cook the rice – take another pan, add water, salt and some ghee, bring to boil. Add rice and let it boil till it cooks to approximately 80% and strain.

To make ‘Jhol’ – take ghee, cream, butter and water in a pan and boil for 2-3 minutes. Keep it aside.

Take two copper serving bowls and place the mutton equally at the bottom. Then place a layer of rice on top, covering the mutton completely.

Put about 60-80 ml of the ‘Jhol’ on top of the rice and sprinkle few drops of rose water, kewra water and khus root powder on top.

Seal the copper bowls with wheat dough and let them cook on dum by placing over a very slow heat on a hot surface for 25 minutes.

Serve the biryani hot with your choice of raita.

Tips

  • Mutton cuts can be changed as per the personal preference.
  • If khus root is not available then powdered form can be used.
  • Knead tight dough and then spread it in chapati form to cover the copper pot

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