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CHEF OF THE WEEK

His grandfather taught Gordon Ramsay the secrets of dum cuisine. Chef Zoheb Qureshi hails from what is considered as the First Family of food in India. His grandfather, Chef Imtiaz Qureshi, is one of the two chefs to receive a Padma Shri honour and his father, Gulam Qureshi has been the brand custodian at Dum Pukht, ITC Maurya, Delhi for the last 15 years.

Zoheb’s preparations exemplify the philosophy of Giza-e-Khusus meaning cooking delicious food while retaining its nutritive value. He has taken upon himself the daunting task of running the first chef-led online food delivery format in the country, Cross Border Kitchens. He says, “I am on a mission to make people taste what authentic Nehari or Mirch Baigan ka Salan is or what an original dum biryani tastes like.”

In a candid conversation, he talks more about himself and his work:

Your philosophy of food?

It’s a common ground offering people a universal experience. It brings people together belonging to varied cultures and beliefs.

Your fav cuisine?

Awadhi

Your idol?

My father – Gulam Qureshi

Your fav spice?

Cardamom

Your hot selling dish?

Awadhi Gosht Biryani

Lessons learnt in the kitchen?

Every day is a new day in the kitchen that teaches you something new. However, my evergreen lesson that I stand by daily is to never go to the cooking range without all the ingredients.

How do you like to de-stress?

Listening to music calms me down.

How do you define yourself?

Someone who’s forever eager to learn & unlearn.

What are you passionate about?

About different techniques in cooking and travelling to new places to learn about its food culture.

Last meal on earth, what would you choose?

Phirnee

Recipe: Murgh Rampur Biryani

Ingredients:

Chicken (50 gm) piece        400 gm

Basmati rice                        250 gm

Brown onions                     25 gm

Desi ghee                           50 gm

Cloves                                4

Cinnamon sticks                 2

Bayleaf                                1

Green cardamom                 4-6

Cream                                 25 ml

Beaten curd                        75 gm

Salt                                     to taste

Yellow chilli powder            10 gm

Mace cardamom powder     15 gm

Ginger garlic paste              25 gm

Rose water                          5 ml

Kevda water                        5 ml

( screwpine)

Sweet ittar                          1 drop

Slit green chillies                25 gm

Mint leaves                          25 gm

Ginger julienne                   10 gm

Royal cumin seeds              2 gm

Lemon juice                        20 ml

Water                                  ½ litre

Whole wheat flour dough

(for lining the lid)      100 gm

Process:

Step 1 : Cooking of chicken

  • Marinate the chicken with Biryani masala powder, hung curd, rose water, red chilli powder and cook in tandoor
  • Cook the chicken with jhol, yellow chilli powder, mace cardamom powder, saffron, ittar, kewra and rose water.

Step 2 : Boiling rice

  • Wash, soak basmati rice for 10 minutes. Boil water in a pan and add the wholespices, salt to taste and lemon juice.
  • Add the rice and cook till 2/3rd done.

Step 3 : Cooking on Dum

  • Layer the chicken. Add a mixture of ghee and cream.
  • Garnish with mint leaves, ginger juliennes, brown onions and saffron dissolved in water.
  • Line the lid with flour dough and seal the vessel.
  • Put the vessel on an iron griddle and cook for 15 minutes.

Once the biryani is cooked, serve it with raw onions, lemon, chutney and raita.