MOL

NEW DELHI-When Prem Singh was asked to lend a helping hand frying fish at his family restaurant he took it rather too literally. The chef, 65, has become famed in the backstreets of Old Delhi for his unique ability to plunge his bare hands into searing cooking oil. He regularly dips his fingers into a bubbling vat of oil, which is heated up to 200C, to pluck out the fried fish. But incredibly, the veteran fryer says he has never suffered any burns, blisters or ill affects. Prem Singh said: 'I have been doing this for 25 years. It is just about experience. 'I put my hand into hot oil once. Later I did it again. I soon realized that the hot oil did not do me any harm.' Each evening Singh's Ganesh eatery has as many onlookers as it does customers. Singh said: 'Everyone wants me to dip my hand into hot oil. They want to see how I do it.' Singh's father started the small shop called Ganesh in Old Delhi in 1960.  They sold just fried fish, but over the years, Singh has moved to cooking other Indian delicacies too. Singh says he sells over a hundred kilograms of fried fish each day, thanks to the demand to see him hand fry them. 

He also serves other popular Indian delicacies such as tandoori chicken, mutton tikkas and kebabs. Over the years, Singh's appetising fried fish has earned him a fan following, with visitors travelling from across the region to sample it.

Frequent customer, Dipesh, said: 'This is the first thing I do when I land in Delhi for business - I come straight here to eat the fish. It is something I look forward to. 'I am always amazed with the way he pulls the fish out of the pan - you have to see it to believe it.  And I must tell you that there is something good about the taste too.' With the business thriving, Singh's two sons are now chipping in and taking care of the business.

Singh's eldest son, Deepak, said: 'We have been here for almost 60 years. Our father ran the business with our grandfather. Now, we are taking it forward. 'We are hoping to expand now, and take the rich history further.' And Singh now hopes his sons will keep up the eateries tradition of the hand fryer.  He added: 'They can do it too. It is just about practice. If they keep trying and experimenting, they will get there.'