Eat like a royal at Copper Chandni

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Updated 02 October 2013

Eat like a royal at Copper Chandni

Copper Chandni is a celebration of Indian food. Until recently it was true that the best Indian food was cooked in the homes. But not anymore.
One of Copper Chandni’s specialties is Dum Pukht. This cooking technique appeared during the reign of Nawab Asaf-ud-Daulah. Dum Pukht, which literally means “choking off the steam,” has been described as “the maturing of a prepared dish.”
Dum Pukht originated in Persia where a dish filled with food was sealed and buried in hot sands to cook. In India, the Dum Pukht technique appeared a little over 200 years ago. To feed his starving subjects during the famine of 1784, Nawab Asaf-ud-Daulah decided to provide jobs by building the Bara Imambara.
The monument was built by day and destroyed at night. During its build-and-destroy stages, huge quantities of food were cooked, sealed in degs (gigantic handis). A handi has a thick bottom to ensure that the food does not stick, tinning on the inside to prevent any chemical reaction and, a lid to retain the aroma and flavor. The food was then kept warm in massive double-walled “bukhari” or ovens. As a result, the food would get steamed in the gentle heat of the bukhari. One day the Nawab decided to sample the food. He enjoyed it so much that he decided to introduce the dum pukht cooking technique into the royal kitchen.
An English traveler, who encountered this dish in the 17th century in Moghul India, referred to “dumpukht” as “dumpoked” fowl. The mogul word “dumpukht” means slow braising in a tightly sealed pan. In India today, this word has been shortened to “dum.”
Copper Chandni offers two kinds of Dumpukht dishes, Chandni Dum Biriyani Chicken and Chandni Dum Biriyani Mutton.
The menu also features two delicious chicken specialties Murg Korma and Murg Makkani known as “Buttered Chicken” because pieces of chicken are cooked in a tomato based sauce enriched with cream and flavored with a highly aromatic mixture of ground cumin, cardamom seeds, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and black peppercorns.
Korma refers to the technique of braising. There are many kinds of kormas but one of the best kormas hails from Hyderabad. Nurtured by what was once a wealthy Muslim court in the heart of South India, Hyderabadi cuisine combines the very best kebabs, pilafs, kormas and yogurt dishes with the redolent aromatic, pungent and creamy flavorings of the South: mustard seeds, cassia buds, cinnamon, curry leaves, hot chilies, peanuts, tamarind and coconut milk.
Copper Chandni offers all the classic tandoori specialties. One can truly say that it is the tandoor, which has helped popularize Indian cuisine around the world. The traditional tandoor is a clay oven, fired by charcoal. Although there are now gas and electric tandoors, it goes without saying that none of these matches the versatility of the clay oven. The clay tandoor is essential to bake good bread and to grill the popular kebab. Dals, which are also cooked in a tandoor, acquire a unique taste. Incidentally, the success of a kebab depends entirely on the exact time the meat is marinated; moreover, basting is very important. It is the application of butter or oil, which seals in the juices of the meat and makes kebab excellent.
Tandoori specialties are delicious with “nan,” a soft, flat-pear shaped bread. Nan can be cooked in a conventional oven, but the surface of nan becomes crustier than the soft supple ones baked in a tandoor, and the flavor is not the same.
I also noticed the presence of a Goan Fish Curry on the menu. Beware that this dish, like most Goan, cooking is extremely hot but tasty. It is the presence of coconut milk and tamarind that gives this dish its distinctive taste.
The biryani is very popular with Saudi customers because of its similarity with the kapsa. Besides the classic chicken, mutton, vegetable and prawn biryani, there is also a less common Fish Biryani. Biryani is one of the most aromatic, rich, colorful and tasty of Indian dishes. It is prepared across India.
But the best biryani is found in the regions around Delhi and in the southern city of Hyderabad. What is unique about the Hyderabadi biryani is the fact that both the meat and the rice are precooked and then mixed together.
To get the true flavor, the lid is sealed on with a dough paste to prevent any of the aromas from escaping. A distinctive feature of this biryani is its use of fresh or dried mint. The meat is also first marinated in yogurt and spices, then cooked to almost tender, before being added to the parboiled rice. Instead of the two just being mixed together, they are placed in the saucepan in layers and left to finish cooking very gently.
The dessert’s section includes a Fudge cake, a Carrot cake and a Caramel Nougat sweet with snickers. I am surprised that not even one Indian dessert was included. What about Kheer and Phirni, mouth watering rice puddings and Gulab Jamun, fried dumplings which are delicious when eaten warm with vanilla ice cream and Kulfi, the rich and creamy ice cream flavored with saffron and cardamom.
Copper Chandni has two outlets in Riyadh: one in Hayyat Mall and another in Tahliah Street.

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Take a healthy approach to the issue of nutritional supplements

Updated 21 April 2018

Take a healthy approach to the issue of nutritional supplements

JEDDAH: There is a growing need for dietary supplements in Saudi Arabia, given the increasing popularity of junk food and the effective role supplements can play in treating diseases caused by mineral and vitamin deficiencies.

A recent study found that 22 percent of Saudi people take nutritional supplements. It is no surprise, then, that many Saudi businesses have forged partnerships with international dietary-supplement companies.

Dr. Rowaidah Idriss, a Saudi dietitian with a Ph.D. in nutrition, said dietary supplements can be defined as substances that provide the human body with a nutrient missing from a person’s regular diet. However, she stressed that they are not intended to replace healthy eating.

She also warned against taking them without first talking to a doctor or dietitian, as some products can have side effects, especially if taken before surgery or with other medicines. 

“They can also cause problems if someone has a history of certain health issues,” she added.

A blood test can determine which nutrients we are not getting enough of in our diet, and therefore which supplements might be beneficial. Nutritional supplements are also used to help treat certain health conditions. 

“Vitamin C, for example, is often used to reduce cold symptoms,” said Idriss. “Fish oil is taken to lower elevated blood triglycerides.”

She suggested four daily essentials that can bridge nutritional gaps in our diet: a multivitamin, vitamin D, calcium and omega-3 fatty acids. 

“I routinely recommend a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement to my clients after consulting with their doctors,” she said. 

“For menstruating women, who require 18 milligrams of iron each day, a daily supplement helps boost iron intake.”

She said people over the age of 50 are advised to take a multivitamin to ensure they are getting enough B12, which plays a key role in the functioning of the nervous system and the development of red blood cells. 

“Older adults are more vulnerable to B12 deficiency because they are more likely to have decreased production of stomach acid, which is needed to release B12 from the proteins in food.” said Idriss. 

“It is also a good idea to take a daily multivitamin if one is following a low-calorie diet.”

She also pointed out that a high intake of DHA and EPA, the two omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil, are linked with a lower risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. A deficiency of DHA might also increase the risk of Alzheimer’s. 

“A daily intake of 1,000 milligrams of both DHA and EPA is equivalent to eating 12 ounces of salmon a week,” said Idriss.

The dietitian believes that the Saudis who take food supplements often do so more to benefit their appearance than their health. 

“Saudi women consume more dietary supplements than other people in Saudi Arabia,” she said. 

“They do so either to lose weight or to care for their hair and nails. Bodybuilders also take large amounts of supplements.”

However, both groups, according to Idriss, tend to take supplements on the recommendation of friends and trainers, not doctors. 

She warned that commercials and social-media rumors can persuade people to buy supplements online that may not be approved as safe by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority, and advised people to get as much of their daily nutrient needs as possible from healthy eating.

Dr. Rowaidah Idriss

“Along with vitamins and minerals, a healthy diet provides fiber and hundreds of protective phytochemicals, something a supplement cannot do,” she said, adding that the body absorbs natural food more effectively than supplements.

In addition, combining supplements with medications can have dangerous, even life-threatening, effects. 

“Drugs for heart disease and depression, treatments for organ transplants, and birth-control pills are less effective when taken with herbal supplements,” she said.

“Taking an anticoagulant, aspirin, and a vitamin E supplement together may increase the potential for internal bleeding or even stroke.”


Natural sources

With the spread of fast-food restaurants and their alluring ads, the long-term health of the Saudi people is in danger, as children and young people snub natural sources of nutrients, such as fruit and vegetables. 

“This can lead to many deficiency diseases. Moreover, vegetarians can develop similar illnesses due to the absence of meat in their diet,” she said.
Dr. Ashraf Ameer, a family-medicine consultant, said the importance of nutritional supplements lies in treating mineral and vitamin deficiency, especially for pregnant women, growing children, diabetics, people with chronic diseases, and the elderly. 

“However, these products should come from reliable companies and meet Saudi food and drug requirements,”he added.

Mohammed Yaseen, who has a food supplements business, said his company works with a leading British health-care company to provide the Saudi market with high quality products.

“With this we hope we can contribute to the national transformation program by raising private-sector spending in health care from 25 percent to 35 percent, which in turn would lead to the sector’s financial sustainability and boost economic and social development in the Kingdom,” Yaseen said.


Vitamin Terms

DHA stands for docosahexaenoic acid. EPA stands for eicosapentaenoic acid.  Phytochemical is a biologically active compound found in plants.