German Guest & Dum Biriyani!
In India hospitality is based on the principle Atithi Devo Bhava, meaning “the guest is God”. This principle is shown in a number of stories where a guest is literally a god who rewards the provider of hospitality. From this stems the Indian approach of graciousness towards guests at home, and in all social situations.
This type of slightly different culture, even few Germans too will follow, when they receive some guest but unless they are very close to you.
Some months ago, I got a chance to visit Germany and it was different experience overall during my visit. Here I am sharing one of my experiences which made me to change my tapered thinking about other people. One day evening, one of my colleagues invited me for a dinner and I heartily accepted his invitation. We reached at one of the restaurants which were again a Vegetarian one. He was very much aware that, I don’t eat non vegetarian food outside unless it is Halal compliant.
His family was accompanied us for a dinner. That day was his wedding anniversary which I was not aware of. We met each other and introduce to everyone then we came to know about the special day. I was bit shocked and hesitant when I heard that it was their wedding anniversary day. Then his spouse also said, “It is really a special day for us to have dinner with you”.
We ordered individual dishes for all of us. I was gently having my dinner and all of a sudden one of my German colleagues asked me, “Can I grab some food from your plate?” For some time I could not reply to his words. Again, he said “It is looking good to have it”. I was shocked and said, “But already I have eaten up half of the plate, how can you?” But he said “don’t worry, I don’t bother” and suddenly he started eating it from my plate.
I remembered my childhood days, all of my classmates used to take different dishes in the restaurant and share the bits from all the plates irrespective of genders. I know, this was not a good etiquette in German culture, but I was astonished to see it happened in Germany. They are also like other human when it comes to dinning etiquette.
Some days later, I received a foreign guest at office; it was my turn to take care of him. We Indian are always known for our hospitality in the globe. So, thought of calling him for a dinner at my home. Before calling I was wondering what’s correct and what’s not, as this was the first time I called some foreign guest to my home. Since, he is close and fun loving guy and doesn’t care much about the etiquettes, but still I was worried and was thinking what will be the do’s and don’ts when he is at home.
I remembered the above instance and thought everything will be alright. Then, was thinking what to prepare and whether he like my dishes. Again, I remembered him mentioning he like Dum Biryani very much. Then, I decided to prepare following typical Muslim traditional dishes.
He enjoyed the dishes very much especially Dum Biryani. Since, he asked me the recipe, I told him but I am sure, it is difficult for preparation but not impossible.
He relished the food and appreciated my cooking talent. I was really relaxed and on the top after hearing his comments. If anyone is interested, here is the recipe of the same:
Procedure of Chicken Dum Biryani preparation:
- 1/2 Kg Chicken
- 1/2 Kg Rice
- 2 big Onions Sliced
- 2 Carrots Sliced
- 100 ml curd
- Green Peas
- Garlic Ginger Paste(150 gms Packet)
- 200ml Oil
- Chilli Powder (1 tsp)
- Turmeric Powder (1/2 tsp)
- 1 lemon (juice)
- 4 cloves+4 cardamoms
- 2 big tomatoes
- Pinch of Saffron color
- Green chilies (4 Nos)
- Mint Leaves (Pudina)
- Coriander leaves chopped
- Heat oil in a cooker.
- Add sliced onions + 4 cardamoms + cloves to it.
- Roast it till Golden brown colour appear.
- Add Garlic Ginger paste and continue stirring on low flame for 5 minutes.
- Add chilly powder +turmeric +salt powder as required
- Add chicken to it and stir for 2 minutes.
- Add lemon juice and curd and continue stirring for 2 mins.
- Add sliced tomatoes+coriander leaves and close the cooker lid for boiling.
- Parallely add the soaked rice(5 mins soaked rice) to another vessel along with water & keep it for boiling.
- Add sliced carrot, green peas and required amount of salt and saffron to it.
- Allow rice to boil upto 70%.
- Simultaneously allow chicken to cook with 3 whistle.
- Remove cooker lid and add 70% boiled rice to the vessel containing chicken.
- Reduce the flame of the gas.
- Allow pressure to develop in the cooker.
- Wait for 10-15 minutes to check whether the rice is cooked properly.
- If the rice is not cooked fully, then soak a clean cloth in water and tie it covering mouth of the open cooker and put a low weight lid on it. Before closing the lid put your mint leaves for good flavour.
- Allow your dum biryani to cook properly and garnish with cashews, chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with curd chutney.
Vegetarians could prepare “Veg. Dum Biriyani” by replacing chicken with suitable vegetables.
– Ghouse Peer, Mysore.