My search for the best Indian restaurants in Dallas brought me to Underground Indian Cuisine last night where I sampled some of the the tastiest dishes I have had in ages. What made it particularly special was the fact is was different than any style I have sampled to date. Underground is a northern Indian-style restaurant, which means they use a variety f meats, but also include many vegetarian options. I dined with a vegetaran friend last night and we both enjoyed the experience without heitation.
The chef Amit Paul studied in India under Master Chef Imtiaz Qureshi who has literally cooked for kings and presidents. The actual cuisine style Amit Paul has mastered is called Dum Pukth.
Dum pukht is a style of Indian cuisine that is slowly cooked over very low flames. Typically they will use a round, heavy bottomed pot, a handi, in which food is tightly sealed and cooked over a slow fire. There are two main aspects to this style of cooking; bhunao and dum, or ‘roasting’ and ‘maturing’ of a prepared dish. In this style of cuisine, herbs and spices play an extremely critical role. The process of slow roasting gently persuades each to release maximum flavor. The sealing of the lid of the handi with dough achieves that maturing. Cooking slowly in its juices, the food retains all its natural aromas and becomes imbued with the richness of flavors that distinguishes the dish.
In some cases, cooking dough is spread over the container, like a lid, to seal the foods. This is known as purdah (veil), but on cooking becomes a bread which has absorbed the flavours of the food and the two are best eaten together. In the end, dum pukht food is about aroma, when the seal is broken on the table and the fragrance of an Avadhi repast floats in the air. Less spices are used than in traditional Indian cooking, with fresh spices and herbs for flavoring.
Due to this style Underground might take a bit longer than you might be used to at any other restaurant, but the results are amazing. There is definitely more cohesion of flavors and spices. Tasting several dishes, this has fast become one of my favorite restaurants in the Dallas area.
Good news for those working downtown, Underground has opened an outpost at 1700 Pacific C114 and is serving a buffet daily. This will give you an idea of the flavors offered at Underground in Las Colinas, which by the way is BYOB.
Also news worthy today is that the Las Colinas location will be offering an Indo-Chinese menu starting next week. I have attached the menus below. We will be back in very soon to taste some of those menu items.