Friday, December 6, 2013

India: Part II - Bukhara Daal

We dedicated the first few days of our trip to New Delhi to visiting historic sites and eating. We ooed and awed at miniature paintings of Hindu mythology, ancient sculptures of gods and goddesses at the National Museum, and tombs and monuments that spring up in the middle of the urban hustle and bustle. We were humbled by these pieces of Indian history.
We joined friends at Bukhara, a famous restaurant where customers are given bibs and a meal of a lifetime that includes daal (stewed lentils) that is quite simply the best in the world. Once I tasted the smoky deliciousness I knew there had to be something special about how they make these little grains. I was right. I heard rumors that they use the same pot to make the daal, and never wash it out, so the flavors remain infused in each new batch of daal and spices...and BUTTER! Yum. Word has it that they place a few lentils on a small piece of charcoal under the pot in order to give the whole mise en place a hint of smoked daal. 

Our Bukhara feast. The lamb melted off the bone like butter.
The world's best daal (see what I mean about the butter)? Yum.
Finger lickin' good. KFC, eat your heart out.
It is hard for me to comprehend the magnitude of Indian history. So complex and....old! As I savored the mouth-watering meal at Bukhara I thought about how centuries of culinary traditions have come together to create a marriage of spices that bring intense happiness to my heart. It was an experience similar to standing in front of a statue of Buddha that dates back to the second century and feeling utterly happy and spiritually overwhelmed about what I was seeing.