Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A retreat for a weekend: Jaypee palace at Agra...

If you are looking for a quaint green place for an extended weekend retreat, you could think of going to Agra. No, not for the Taj Mahal but a green and peaceful place adjacent to it.

I am talking about Jaypee Palace hotel and convention center. I was at this place with Sid Khullar and Charis for a day this weekend and loved everything about this property.

We took an early morning train from Delhi Reached Agra a bit sleepy being greeted by a blazing sun early in the morning. We were picked up from the railway station and welcomed at the hotel with a turmeric tikka.

After the introductions we checked in to our rooms to freshen up. Later we had breakfast at their ground level restaurant and then a tour of the property. Sprawling gardens and a few water bodies strategically made to reflect the lights in the night.

Go there if you are a connoisseur of tea. With a fairly good range of teas in their nicely done tea room, you wouldn't complaint a bit... A great place to be if you choose to read or even write....

Or if you love to walk around a well maintained green heaven...

Being a birder, I liked the good variety of birds chirping there...Here is a Jungle babbler giving a call...

And a Drongo perched on a Sheesham tree getting disturbed by paparazzi ...

This was around a cool swimming pool...

We had our lunch at their Chinese restaurant called C'est Chine with the senior Vice President Mr. Rajiv Narain and food and beverage manager Mr. Amit Sehgal.

The restaurant overlooks the huge gardens on one side and must be a nice place to be in the night.

I liked this fried sweet corn kernels...

Chicken Siew Mai, the open faced dimsums...

And this steamed fish ...

There were a few more popular Chilly paneer and chicken dishes too...

The dessert was a crunchy Darsan with a delectable ice cream that tasted like home made. On inquiry we were told this was a local brand called Madhu.

The Date stuffed Litchi was good too.

You would like to be in this place for other reasons too.

The most inviting aspect of the hotel is the huge green peaceful lawns.

I would like sitting on that bench in the evening with a book and a cushion may be :-)

There are many fun activities for the kids too. A bowling alley, a few board games, a private theater and a bar and a few Kathputli shows would definitely intrigue a whole family there. We saw more than one Kathputli shows being organised around the place, some excited kids and the picture was complete.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

What not to miss when you are in Lucknow...

We were in Lucknow for an extended weekend and it was decided well in advance that it will be a food trail for us. There are a few places we never want to miss and there are others which have been on the list but it's not possible in a single visit to sample all of them.

I think a brief introduction of the cuisine is in order.

Lucknow is the heartland of Awadhi cuisine. Awadhi is an offshoot of Mughlai cuisine including influences from central Asia, Middle east and Northern India. There is little similarity with the other offshoots of Mughlai found in our country as Hyderabadi, Kashmiri, Punjabi, Bengali and even Keralite are as different as chalk and cheese from each other. Even though many spices are common and meats and vegetables too are common in all these Mughlai versions. The cooking technique, a few regional herbs, use of nuts and milk or yogurt in the gravy and the marination of meats with different kinds of tenderisers make a lot of difference in how the final product tastes.

Awadhi food is mildly spiced, a fine balance of various spices. The heat of the spices is quenched by the use of milk and nut pastes and the curries are slow cooked for hours. The kababs are grilled on huge flat pans till they get a flaky crust on both sides, the meat for the kababs being tenderised and pounded finely before shaping them in round patties. Much like burgers. These kababs are served with parathas or roomali rotis.

Galawat ke kabab or Galauti kabas are the ones that melt in your mouth with a meaty taste. The fine creamy texture is a result of a tenderising process that involves the use of raw papaya ( the enzyme Papain being responsible for the breakdown of the meat fibers) and a fine balance of spices makes a kabab a lingering taste experience. The Galauti kababs are so soft that they cannot be lifted from the plate in one piece. You have to spoon them up like a pate. Almost.

The shammi kababs are a little granular, soft, crumbly textured patties with a few grains of coarsely ground spices, The crust is a bit firm but the kabab is still so soft you wouldn't be able to lift it from the plate without breaking it. The taste is a robust spicy and yet mildly hot meaty experience.

There are a huge variety of Salans and Kormas and many other popular curries . The breads are quite versatile as well. Sheermaal and bakakhanis are heavier breads and are mean to be shared by the family members, much like Middle eastern culture. The Roomali rotis and the flaky Ulte tawe ka paratha is a lighter almost paper thin bread that wraps your kabab and polishes off your korma with equal ease.

Biryanis of Awadh are a different world altogether. Lightly but very pleasantly aromatic. Each grain of rice would be soft and yet separate seeped into the flavors of the meat. It is achieved by first cooking the meat to make a stock called yakhni and then cooking the rice in that stock. The rice is cooked al dante first and then is cooked on Dum with half cooked meat. This imparts a unique aromatic experience in a biryani.

And that picture of Biryani is torturing me now. The succulent soft rice grains absolutely drunk on the juices of the meat and lightly spiced as if they were genetically modified to have a whiff of the meat and spice.

This is one of the best Biryanis I have ever had. And this was at Tundey Kababi at Ameenabad market in lucknow.

See how a biryani is cooked in a huge vessel that can cook about 20 kilos of biryani in one go. They also do 'take home packs' and you can get anything packed for you. But this cardboard packets for biryani is something I wouldn't like. Yes we need to stay away from plastic packaging but there were better ways with  boxes made with leaves or the old fashioned terracotta handis. I wish they used the more easily available handis there.

We had the famous kebabs at Tundey kababi and the mutton korma to go with roomali roti. Everything is perfect. Though I would say the kababs are a bit too high of fat, most likely trans fats (read dalda) and that much fats in the kababs takes away some of the flavors, making the the kababs almost inedible when they cool down while finishing the other stuff. The fats start getting solidified and the flavors too freeze.

Did I tell you the Kababs are not considered a starter in a traditional meal here? It is actually served as a side dish and you eat it with parathas and raw onion slices.

See how the kababs are being shallow fried in a huge shallow pan....

Those parathas are called Ulte tawe ka paratha.

They have a nifty arrangement to bake this paratha, an invverted round bottom iron kadai (wok) is placed on the stove (coal fired angithi) and the paratha is flattened by hands and rolling pin, then tossed and given a spin in the air so the gluten fibers extend and break, then the paratha lands on the inverted kadai. The spinning act makes the central part of the paratha thinner and the margins a little thicker.

The paratha is applied with ghee or butter while it being baked on the inverted kadai, and a cloth pad is used to press it down on the paratha. See in the picture how this guy is pressing down the paratha on the inverted kadai...

The pressing down act and spinning it on the inverted kadai while it cooks makes the paratha really thin and  uniquely textured...The flaky and yet soft paratha in the picture are just yummy. You would forget all your diet rules once you are here...

The korma of Lucknow is mildly but very aromatically spiced. Not too hot so you get all the spices well balanced. Meat well done and the gravy rich with some nut pastes and a unique blend of spices.

See a huge lagan (a shallow pot to cook korma and salan)  with the Korma bubbling away...those cardboard packets in the background are a sore in the eye :(

The usual roasted chicken is also served. See them being grilled live on the front counter...

They have a huge menu board right on the front counter...very typical of old world street eateries...

Having had our fill we decided to head towards the Prakash Kulfi which is just a few steps away from Tundey kababi..The same old market and it's difficult to miss this board...

The falooda is stored like this. A plain white and a colored and saffron flavored one...

You must order a half portion Kulfi as even the half is quite huge here...The kulfi tastes of real khoya and real kesar (saffron) and is rightly sweetened. Embedded with pistachios which is not too overwhelming, I have had one kulfi which had just too much pistachio and it killed the real kulfi. This one is perfectly balanced.

They have a sugar free version too and though we did not sample that variety, I am sure that must be great too. This place is quite famous and it is the best Kulfi falooda till date for me.

Could we have anything more on the same day? The Lunch at Tundey Kababi and then the Kulfi at Prakash was enough for the day. Yes, we were not able to have our dinner that day.

Another day another place. But we had to work up an appetite so we had a 2 hour walk at the NBRI Botanical garden. The garden is a must see if you are a birder or love greenery and want to see some impeccably maintained gardens. The cacti garden, the aromatic garden, the ferns house etc are the main attractions of this place.

Coming back to food, the walk actually made us hungry and a rickshaw ride took us to Hazratganj.

Dastrkhwan was the place to be. This place has simple seating arrangements both side of the road. Yes, one side of the roads is the open kitchen and a narrow seating area, the other side is also a seating arrangement of about 6-8 tables. The servers keep crossing the road to fetch food and bills. You eat your food watching the traffic on this busy road and the server dodging the traffic to fetch your Korma and the Kabab.

Yet another kabab. Yes, These kababs are actually better than the Tundey Kababis. Larger in size, and more flavorful. The flavor of delicate spicing alive and not drowned by the fat content.

Here is the brief menu...

We ordered Shammi kabab, Galawat ke kabab, Chicken korma, Roomali roti  and Biryani. Would have loved if thee were a few more people so we could taste a few more curries.

Look at these kababs. On the left is the Shammi kabab and the right one is the Galawat ke kabab. Both equally delectable. These are large kababs and quite filling. If you have ordered two kababs per person you might not be able to enjoy the main course goodies.

But we were ravenous after a two hour long walk in the Botanical garden and kept nibbling on them through the meal.

See how the Galawat ke kabab is so soft it got a dent of the serving spoon. It barely holds it's shape.

Shammi kakab is more on the crumbly side, yet very soft and luscious. Spicing is awesome. These kababs are so soft they can be lifted in one piece just once and that is when the kababi (the one who cooks them) flips them from the tawa (gridle) to the serving plate.

Once on the plate you have to lift it in pieces.

The chicken korma has a layer of fat which you would like to pour off in a plate. A nice and mildly spiced curry with some nuts and poppy seeds paste.

Biryani is good. But just so. Not awesome.

We liked the Tundey kababi's biryani more, that was the mother of all biryanis. 

Dastrkhwan needs to add some more punch to the biryani. Looks almost the same but tastes like a lame imitation.

 We had to order a Ulte Tawe ka paratha as well. Didn't I tell you how good they are?

Look how it is flaky and crisp...Actually the parathas too are better at Dastarkhwan....

One of the best flat breads you would have had. The best tool to mop off the Korma and the best bite with a different textural experience. We finished this paratha as well :-)

Two hungry souls who normally eat simple meals at home. Went berserk with Lucknow food.

There are many vegetarian options in Lucknow as well.

Bajpayi ji at Hazratganj for some great UP style poori subzi.

Mini mahal at Hazratganj for all kinds if vegetarian chaats and meals.

And a nice small restaurant called Marksman in the same area if you are craving some good south Indian food.

Apart from these , there are many small snacks outlets in the Ameenabad and chowk area where you can pick up dry snacks to take home.

Basically Lucknow is a place for a non vegetarian foodie. You would find small carts selling chicken biryani and meat biryani and that would be good too. I didn't get to taste any from those carts but the crowd that mobbed those carts tells much about the taste.

I am sure you are craving a well made biryani by now. Same here :-)

See you again with some home cooked food.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Zucchini flowers scrambled with poppy seeds paste, not those stuffed fritters...

The Zucchini in my garden was not at all prolific this time. A few wiggly zucchinis came as I had planted it late. In Indian weather it fruits around February to early April but if left on it still keeps flowering till this time. The flowers get smaller and smaller as the summer heat increases.

Making fritters or Tempura with them is the easiest and the most common way to use them. I rarely make fried goodies with them as only 3-4 small ones bloom everyday. I use them for my egg scrambles sometimes. Just torn and tossed up in a egg scramble just at the time of finishing.

Last month some time I took three of these flowers (there were only three of them that day, as the previous day's flowers get shrunk and fall off) to my friend who had told me her mom used to make stuffed fritters with pumpkin flowers. The flowers were small due to summer heat and she decided to make a scramble with poppy seeds paste which originally goes in the stuffing. My friend Sukanya Dutta is a Bengali and loves her food. This recipe is a testimony.

This is her recipe I made a few days later and decided to share as it's a tasty traditional Bengali recipe. I hope I remembered the recipe well as she told me verbally, I normally add the spices that I feel would go with the ingredients if experimenting.

Although the form is changed from a fritter to a scramble, may be you would miss the crisp fried crust of a fritter (called Kumro phooler bora in Bengali) if you enjoy that more. In scrambled form it is more healthy and easy to cook. Yum factor is not compromised.

Off course the poppy seeds paste has to be made and that might be a task for some :-)

Once you make up you mind to soak a little poppy seeds and grind them in your trusted mixer for a few repeated whizzes, you are set to just scramble it like a quick eggs scramble.

Yes, poppy seeds may take a few repeats of the pulsing action to become a fine paste.

(2 servings as a side dish)

zucchini (or pumpkin) flowers cleaned and torn 3-4
(a handful when torn, as the quantity depends on the size of flowers)
poppy seeds 30 gms (2 tbsp)
finely chopped onion 1/3 cup
finely chopped green chillies to taste
finely chopped or grated ginger 2 tsp or more
mustrad oil 2 tsp
kalonji seeds (nigella seeds) 1/3 tsp
salt to taste


Soak the poppy seeds for 10 minutes and microwave for a minute before making a paste. Pulse in your trusted grinder with minimal amount of water to move the paste around the blades. The paste should be a thick yogurt consistency. Any thinner (more water added) and the paste won't be smooth enough.

Heat oil in a pan and tip in the Kalonji (nigella) seeds. Let them get aromatic and then add the cumin seeds, chopped green chillies and ginger. Fry for a minute so the oil gets infused with chilly, ginger and kalonji flavor. Cumin would bloom later when wet ingredients are added.

Add the onions to the frying mix and sprinkle salt as well. Fry them all till the onions are translucent. It takes about 2-3 minutes.

Pour in the poppy seeds paste and mix everything well. While cooking the mix and mixing it continuously, there will be a point when the mixture starts resembling a scramble. Add the torn zucchini/pumpkin flowers at this time.

Take the pan off heat and serve warm. This recipes taste good even when cold and I realised that it can be a great stuffing for sandwiches.

In the original recipe, this scrambled poppy seeds mix is stuffed inside the zucchini or pumpkin flowers and then batter fried.

You can try if you want those crisp fried fritters with a yummy nutty stuffing.

You would be in for a treat both ways.


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Mango chutney...

mango chutney

I didn't know Mango chutney is more popular in the west than the country of it's origin. I was astonished when a few of my blog friends pointed out. How can a chutney which is a staple sweet n sour condiment on our plate every summer in practically every home , be more popular in far away countries who import mangoes from us?

This is the power of food uniting us in amazing ways.

I still wonder how the firangs can eat more mango chutney that us :-)

May be the mango chutney is more popular as a packaged product, more visible on the shelves of supermarket. That is a believable thought. Isn't it.

Having said that, all Indian states have their own version of mango chutney and all homes have their own finer nuances going on with chutneys. After all chutneys are made to suit individual palates, something you lick in a small quantity and get a satiety feeling after a meal. Even if the meal was boring.

Chutneys were a way to perk up everyday meals initially I guess. More chutneys were eaten in summers as this was the season when only a few vegetables were available and Indian summers didn't allow much meat eating in those natural living days without these air conditioned bubbles to call a home. Chutneys with mint, green chillies, onions and mangoes were cooling on the system.

Even this chutney is. Cooling in one more way as it does not require stove top cooking.

 I prefer the mangoes which get yellowish and squishy, almost half ripe for this particular chutney.

The quick recipe and procedure simplified...

Just peel and chop about 3-4 raw mangoes. Remove the hard stone as you require only the pulp/flesh.

To a cup of raw mango flesh, placed in a pyrex bowl of suitable size, add 1/2 tsp of salt, 3 tbsp of sugar and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Let it rest for a couple of minutes and then repeat microwaving it for 2-3 minutes more.

Take out the bowl and mash the raw mango flesh with the tines of a fork.

Add a generous pinch of red chilly powder and a generous pinch of garam masala.

Now this garam masala is special, and does not include cumin and black peppercorns.

So if you add a regular garam masala from a packet, the taste of the chutney would be a little different. Still tasty.

Powdering one clove, half a green cardamom, few seeds of black cardamom and a tiny piece of cinnamon together freshly in a mortar and pestle can be good if you don't have that special garam masala with you.

Cook the chutney once again for a minute or until it bubbles. The finished chutney becomes like jelly when it cools down and can be preserved for up to 2 months but you wont have to worry about that when you make such small quantity almost instantly.

Make just a bowl and enjoy till you get a next batch of raw mangoes and may be next time you would like to make this one...aam ka khatta metha achar when you get unripe mangoes.

Note: If you want to cook this chutney in a pan, just mix everything except red chilly powder and garam masala and add 2-3 tbsp of water as it might stick to the pan, and cook till it gets squishy. Mash and add the powders and take off the stove.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature if you make a smaller quantity to last about a fortnight. Otherwise refridgerate up to a year.

Banaras ka khana has shifted to it's own domain now. Please let me know if you find any difficulty searching for recipes or in commenting here. It will be immensely helpful in making the site more user friendly.

Thank you.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Mutton stew : the new improved ishtoo...a la Al Jawahar...

The most versatile mutton recipe is an Ishtoo as it is called in Hindi speaking regions of India. It is actually a stew which was probably inspired by the brown stew of the British raj. Every region of India has it's own stew and can be spiked with yogurt, milk, different spices and even tamarind and coconut or nut paste.

In my home any kind of vegetarian or non vegetarian stew was a way to consume less time in the summer months when the bhunoing method of cooking curries in the kitchen would cause a lot of sweating and there will be no fun eating after soaking yourself up in all that sweat. The stews are light on the stomach too, as is required in Indian summers.

Just making a paste or two and them stewing all the ingredients together in either a pressure cooker or an old fashioned thick base round bottom kadai was a way to beat the heat too.

But the finished dish had no respite from the heat. Folks love spicy food even in summers. The yogurt and some cooling spices used in the stew make it easy on the system though.

This ishtoo is actually a result of an extensive experimentation to match the taste of the famous Ishtoo of Al Jawahar at Matia mahal , Old Delhi. 

After many experiments, starting from this one posted here,  many ingredient combinations tried, I reached to this recipe which is the perfect. Almost 99 % the actual taste. Just the red chillies are used as a paste and not as broken pieces as I used in the first recipe, Just because I like it a little hot.

Actually, the first recipe was also very close to the original, but something was missing. That something came around in the form of some anaardaana, some cashew and poppy paste and a few grains of fenugreek. That made the difference.

So here it goes. The famous Mutton Ishtoo of Al Jawahar...The slightly darker shade of the gravy is due to my love of chilly heat, add lesser or just broken chillies if you want it milder...

(2-4 servings depending on what is served on the side, large quantities always result in a better taste and texture of the meat)

mutton, curry cut preferably ribs and some meaty pieces 400 gm

whole spices 
2 black cardamoms
2 green cardamoms
8 cloves
3 one inch pieces of cinnamon
20 black peppercorns
10 grains of fenugreek
one small sliver of mace
1 tbsp whole coriander seeds
2 tsp of fennel seeds
3-4 tejpatta

To make a paste
1 cup of chopped onions
10 garlic cloves
1.5 tbsp of chopped ginger
5 dry whole red chillies
2 tsp of anaardaana (dried pomegranate seeds, or use powder if you have)

To make a white paste
fresh yogurt (full fat) 1 cup
fried onion slices made from one medium sized onion
cashew 25 gm (one heaped tbsp and some more of broken cashew)
Indian white poppy seeds ( khuskhus) 20 gm or1 heaped tbsp
Salt to taste
ghee 1/3 cup


Make a paste of the ingredients listed in the first list first and mix with the mutton pieces in a large bowl. Add salt to taste and mix well.

Now make the second paste too in the same grinder jar and mix it with the mutton.

This second paste will be tricky to make. Soak the poppy seeds first with 2 tbsp yogurt and then grind it with the broken cashew and a tbsp more of the yogurt. Grind till a smooth paste is formed. Add the rest of the yogurt and whiz once again to homogenise.

Now add all the whole spices to the mutton mix and keep this bowl in the fridge for about 2 hours. You can go on to cook it instantly too.

Pour the ingredients in a pressure cooker pan , add 1/2 cup of water and the ghee and cover with the lid. Cook on high flame till the whistle blows and then lower the flame to cook the meat for 25-30 minutes.

let the pressure release by itself. Serve hot.

This dish tastes better the next day so you can always make it beforehand if you have to serve it for a formal dinner.

Slow cooking always results in better texture of the meat, so cook the stew in a thick base pan for about 2 hours on the lowest possible flame, if you have time to enjoy cooking. The gravy tastes great any which way and you would like to make more gravy every time you make it. One of those gravies you want to have with a naan bread or as it is.

The ishtoo tastes best with yeasted flat breads. I make my own kulcha style breads, thinner than pita to masquerade as the tandoori rotis of Al Jawahar. You can always use pita breads or yeasted dinner rolls with them. Even roomali rotis or plain homemade chapatis will be great.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Kathal ka dopyaza | an aromatic dry stew of raw jackfruit

Kathal is Jackfruit, a giant fruit that grows anywhere on the tree, even closer to the roots.The fruit is edible in all phases. The baby Jackfruits are prized for the meaty texture they have and are cooked like meat in UP homes. I have a recipe with pictures ready for that and hope I get to post it soon.

The medium and large sized ones are cooked in this kind of Kathal dopyaza. The ones with large seeds are always preferred for Kathal ka dopyaza as the seeds taste very good in this kind of spices and almost caramelised onions in the finished dopyaza.

This kind of curry is actually a dum cooked (cooked on low heat in a sealed pot) stir fry where the firm textured jack fruit pieces and onions get cooked in their own juices. The whole spices infuse their aroma in a very delicate manner. Some people prefer adding a few pieces of potatoes in it. I make it with just the Jackfruit which I prefer peeling and cutting myself.

It's always advisable to buy a piece of jackfruit with the skin attached, flesh milky white and a gummy white sap oozing.  It stays in the fridge for a couple of days and you are sure it has not been peeled and stored for long before being sold to you. Buying a whole jackfruit will always be good if you need that amount.

To make this dopyaza, peel the thorny skin, slice in rounds or wedges and remove the inner pith. Then cube the flesh and then remove the hard plastic like coat of the seeds as this part is not edible. The hard plastic like seed coat is formed only in mature jackfruits, the one I used was a medium sized fruit so the seeds are just half mature. No hard seed coat to be removed in this case.

(3-5 servings)

Jackfruit, peeled and cubed 250 gm
sliced onions 250 gm approximately
ginger julienne one heaped tbsp
garlic cloves sliced 1 tbsp
whole dry red chillies 2-4 as per taste
tejpatta 3-4
black cardamom 2
green cardamom 2
cloves 5-6
cinnamon stick 1 inch long broken
whole black peppercorns 2 tsp
cumin 2 tsp
turmeric powder 1 tsp
mustard oil or ghee 2 tbsp


Normally in the authentic way, the dopyaza is cooked in a round bottom Haandi pan. I have one, but that is not used frequently and is stashed in some deep corner in my small much cluttered kitchen so I cooked it in a kadai. If you are also using a kadai, choose a lid that is smaller so it just covers the cooking vegetables and not fits the rim of the kadai. It keeps the steam inside to make a dum-cooking setting.

Heat the oil in the chosen (thick base) kadai and tip in all the whole spices and tejpatta in it. Let it all sizzle for just a second and add the red chillies and the ginger garlic slivers as well. Wait for them to cook for a minute and then add all the other chopped vegetables and turmeric powder, salt in one go. Mix well.

Now cover the cooking vegetables mix with a smaller lid as I suggested earlier. Keeping all the steam inside to cook the veggies almost without water.

Remember to cook on low flame.

Check the contents after 5-8 minutes, the onions and a few jackfruit cubes would have become brownish and might be sticking to the bottom. At this time you would be required to add about half a cup of water. Mix well.

Cover again and cook for about 8-10 minutes.

The end product looks like this, some sticky brown mass in the bottom of the kadai indicates the dopyaza has been caramelised well. Take care to prevent burning in the last few minutes.

Check the jackfruit pieces if cooked. They give in to pressure and get flat.

Serve hot or at room temperature. No garnish is required. Those cooked red chilies look good enough and may be the tejpatta too adds to the rustic charm.

This kathal ka dopyaza is normally served with chapatis, actually more preferably with plain thin flaky crisp parathas. You can serve it with any kind of thin flat bread. Or as a part of a formal extended menu.

The vegetable is meaty in texture and is much in demand when one needs a special meal for vegetarians. Paneer and mushrooms are other meat substitutes for vegetarians but if you consider the capability to absorb the spices, there is no match to Jackfruit.

I cooked this dopyaza after a couple of years I remember. The last time was when I cooked it for about 30 people when the whole family was together for a wedding.

No wonder this dopyaza is suitable for bulk cooking with wonderful results as it involves dum-cooking. Also the fact that there is not much preparation with spice powders and ginger garlic paste etc.

You might like to remove some of the whole spices before serving. Some people do not like the whole spices interrupting in between. They can give a bitter taste if chewed on accidentally. Just retain a few as garnish.

How many of you have had this UP style Kathal ka dopyaza?