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Delhiwale: Dhuska, with love from Jharkhand

Made of dal and rice, Dhuska doesn’t taste like either. Shubha Sinha shares the recipe the way she made it as a newlywed years ago.

delhi Updated: Feb 13, 2018 12:18 IST
Mayank Austen Soofi
Mayank Austen Soofi
Hindustan Times
Delhiwale,Dilliwale,Jharkhand food
Shubha Sinha at her apartment in east Delhi’s Mayur Vihar Phase I.(Mayank Austen Soofi / HT Photo)

We are told there was never a better time to be in Delhi than now — when it comes to the bustling restaurant scene. There’s a man running a cool college-campus like Mizo eatery in Safdarjung Enclave and an Italian man’s too-pricey restaurant in Greater Kailash-I.

Shahpur Jat has a cosy restaurant specialising in Bihari cuisine. But what about, say, the food of Jharkhand?

We just can’t find a restaurant in this vast sprawling city that can serve us Jharkhand’s famous dhuska. Made of rice and dal, the finished dish transcends its commonplace ingredients and tastes neither like dal, nor rice but something entirely different. Finally, in our search for this dish, we ended up in Shubha Sinha’s duplex apartment in east Delhi’s Mayur Vihar Phase I.

In her fifties, Ms Sinha grew up in Ranchi, before moving to Delhi after getting married. She learned cooking the hard way. When she was still a schoolgirl, her mother was diagnosed with tuberculosis and had to be sent to a sanatorium out of town. She and her brother would visit ”maai” once a week but her father, an accountant, would bicycle daily to deliver homemade food to the mother. “Papa would cook every morning before leaving for the office,” says Ms Sinha, reminiscing her childhood while sitting on her drawing-room sofa.

She started cooking in the evenings after returning from the school. “I knew nothing in the beginning but gradually became more comfortable.”

Ms Sinha’s mother returned home after two years. She was, however, too weak to work — one of her lungs was damaged and had to be removed. “But maai would often sit in the kitchen and talk to me while I would be cooking.”

She passed away many years ago. Ms Sinha is now a mother of two daughters. Today, she is making us dhuska. “It’s basically a dish of the Chhota Nagpur region... we usually make it on special occasions... I remember this was the first dish I’d made in Delhi for my husband.”

INGREDIENTS

1 bowl uncooked rice
1/2 bowl chana dal
1/4 bowl urad dal
Zeera
Garlic (5-6 cloves)
Red chilli powder
Green chillies
Black pepper corns
Mustard Oil for frying (userefined oil as per preference)
Salt

METHOD

Soak rice and dal in water for 6 hours.
Grind the dal in a mixer-grinder along with zeera, garlic, red chilli powder, black pepper, green chillies and salt.

Grind the rice and mix it with the dal mixture. Make sure you grind it all into a smooth paste.
Heat oil for deep frying.
Scoop the batter in a ladle and slowly pour it into the hot oil. Fry till it is crispy on the outside.
Serve it with chutney (tomato or mint) or mutton /liver gravy.

First Published: Feb 13, 2018 09:53 IST