The Smoky Flavour Of Dhungar Technique
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Interestingly in Indian cuisine sees the use of lot of techniques. Food it not just about taste but also a lot about the way it’s prepared, the techniques that’s used be it the Dum, Baghar, Takda, Talna, Tandoor and so on. Each technique has it’s speciality and also the fact that interesting each dish has it’s own requirement as to how it has to treated. 

One such age-old technique is Dhuanaar or Dhungar (a technique to add the smoky flavour to the dish). What is Dhungar? It’s an age old ancient technique that sees smoking and infusing the flavor of burnt charcoal in the dish. Marked during the Mughals, it’s said they brought this technique to India. Jhanvi Saxena, Founder - Indian Alchemy adds “While Modern fine dine establishments are developing new flavours with smoked butter, and smoked oils in the repertoire, the technique of Smoking food is an old age tradition in Indian Cuisine. Dhungar or Smoking is a practice of introducing smoky flavour to a dish by using smoke from charcoals and fat. Our ancestors had a wisdom of making food complex in flavours by using basic practices.its like an alchemy of sorts. They were smart enough to realise, fat is the carrier of flavours, it  absorbs all the flavours that melds well together once combined. Dhungar works on the same principle, fats in dal, kebabs, etc absorb all the smokey, charred aromas and brings out everything in a symphony”.

This technique is done both during and even after the cooking process, but also make sure that the smoke doesn’t overpower the flavour of the main dish. Burning the charcoal with some clarified butter (Ghee) gives a more rustic flavour. Chef Izzat Hussain says “Dungar/ baghaar/ dhuwan technique is mostly use to take the   particular smell in kababs like ajwain or clove etc. Sometime sandal wood and likewise ingredients for which we do not want to mix with kababs but want to infused it's smell with the dish”.

The main purpose of this technique is to add aroma or flavour the dish that comes from the mix of burning of coal and ghee. The smokiness depends on the type of food and time given to smoke the dish. “We use Dhungar technique in our dishes Dhungare murgh tikka and Kakori Kebab taco. We infuse the dish with the burning charcoal and clove by dropping desi ghee on it. The smoked aromas permeate the meat and the spices and adds an additional level of complexity and flavour to the chicken and mutton preparation here” says Chef Saurabh Singh-  Corporate Chef at Currynama and Seven Seas Hospitality.