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3,500-kg rice and a potful of biryani

60 chefs from across city get together to cook 13,000 kgs of biryani at HT-sponsored event in an attempt to enter the Guinness Book of World Records, report Itee Dewan and Zia Haq.
Hindustan Times | By Itee Dewan & Zia Haq, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 01, 2008 11:37 PM IST

This was a feast fit for kings…

Sixty chefs from across the city converged on the grounds of Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium to rustle up 13,000 kgs of vegetarian biryani in an attempt to enter the Guinness Book of World Records.

In what can be called a gastronomical fantasy, Kohinoor Foods Ltd in association with HT Media Ltd cooked their way into the prestigious book for preparing the world's largest biryani in a time period of 10 hours.

Early in the day, Chief Minister Sheila Dixit tossed a few grains of rice into the 3,500 kg handi (specially made for the biryani) and flagged off the massive preparation.

Soaring temperatures notwithstanding, chefs worked hard under the aegis of Ajay Sharma, corporate chef, Kohinoor, to make the event a success.

Just how difficult is it to make a biryani the size of an office cubicle? “The challenge was to keep stirring it at regular intervals. It was impossible to do manually,” said Sharma.

“A special mechanised rotor was installed at the base of the 16-feet handi,” he said.

The chefs used laser-operated thermometers to gauge the cooking temperature from time to time.

“Cooking temperature is the key to preparing good food.

The biggest challenge was to get the temperature right,” he added.

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said, “I am sure the skilled chefs would be able to set a Guinness record. More than that, they have given Delhiites a big reason to celebrate.”

Nishant Arora, business head, food division, Kohinoor, said, “We ran a cooking trial a few days ago in Faridabad to see if the task can be accomplished. Though there were technical difficulties, keeping in mind the enormity of the task, but it went off well. And here we are today all set to create a world record.”

When asked what inspired him to set a culinary record like this, he said, “A similar record was last held by Qatar where 8,500 kgs of biryani was cooked. We wanted to break this record.”

Pakistan's High Commissoner to India Shahid Malik, designer Leena Singh and State Health Minister Yoganand Shastri were seen cheering on the chefs' efforts.

Kouru Ishi Kawa from Guinness Book of World Records handed over the certificate to Kohinoor and HT Media Ltd.

Though it took a little longer than expected to cook the humungous portion of biryani, but the feast was worth the wait.

The event ended on a noble note as 13,000 kgs of biryani was distributed among slum dwellers and the poor.

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