Lucknow is a foodie’s paradise and it’s not an exaggeration. The authentic Awadhi food from the land of Nawabs are famous all across the globe. Lucknow is certainly a heaven for non-vegetarian foodies as the city offers a variety of lip-smacking delicacies prepared with select spices and methods from the Nawabi kitchens.
Let’s take a look on what makes Awadhi cuisine so special:
1. Dum Style of Cooking:
The bawarchis of Awadh invented the Dum Style of Cooking or the art of cooking over a slow fire. The most fascinating thing about Dum Style of Cooking is that semi cooked ingredients are placed in a vessel which is closed with a lid and sealed with flour dough. This method keeps the flavours intact as well as doesn’t allow the steam to pass. Both Dum Style Biryani and Mutton is very popular amongst Awadhi food.
2. Use of Itr in Food:
Another distinct method used in Awadhi cooking is use of Itr (scent) to add aroma to the food. It is believed that this method is a Persian influence in Awadhi way of cooking. Delicacies like qorma is scented with meetha itr (rose itr) to add a rich aroma to the food. Also, scents taken from musk deer i.e. kasturi is widely used in Awadhi food.
3. Pucci Biryani
Awadhi Biryani is yet another popular dish from the Nawabi Kitchen. The Biryani you find in Lucknow is way different from that you have in Hyderabad or Kolkata. Lucknowi Biryani is called Pucci Biryani as the rice and meat are cooked separately and then layered to cook in Dum Style. While in other kinds of Biryanis the meat is cooked along with the rice. The Awadhi chefs use subtle spices in Biryani making it a dish where flavour of meat, spices and rice can be identified.
4. Distinct Kebabs:
Lucknow is known for its Kebab and people actually come from far off lands to taste the heavenly taste of Awadhi Kebabs. The Kebabs here are generally cooked on Chulha or Skillets rather than tandoor. Tundey Kebabi is the most popular outlet of Kebabs in city and it is said that over 100 spices are combined to make this delicacy. You can find delicious galauti kebabs, shami kebabs and kakori kebabs in Lucknow.
5. Phenomenal collection of Breads
Lucknow’s gastronomical tale will be incomplete, if we do not mention the variety of breads the city offers. This staple food compliments all the sumptuous delicacies. The various types of distinct breads you find in Lucknow are Sheermal (Way different from Delhi’s Sheermal), Taftan, Kulcha, Naan and Rumali Roti.
6. Aromatic Tempering
Flavorful tempering is part of Awadhi food which adds to the richness of the flavours of the food. The kewra water and cardamom is used to temper ghee which is used for cooking various dishes. A smoking technique using charcoal is also used to meat dishes, dal and rice.
A quick smoking techniques used to flavor meat dishes, dals, and rice. A live coal is placed in the center of a betel leaf or shallow onion peel and placed along with the other ingredients to smoke it.