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Awadhi cuisine (Hindi: अवधी भोजन, Urdu: اودھی کھانا) is from the city of Lucknow, which is the capital of the state of Uttar Pradesh in Central-South Asia and Northern India. The cooking patterns of Lucknow are similar to those of Central Asia, the Middle East, and Northern India with the cuisine comprising both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. The Awadh region has been greatly influenced by Mughal cooking techniques, and the cuisine of Lucknow bears similarities to those of Central Asia, Kashmir, Punjab and Hyderabad. The city is also known for its Nawabi foods.
The bawarchis (chefs) and rakabdars (gourmet cooks) of Awadh invented the dum style of cooking or the art of cooking over a slow fire, which has become synonymous with Lucknow today. Their spreads consisted of elaborate dishes such as kebabs, kormas, biryanis, kaliyas, nahari-kulchas, zarda, sheermal, roomali rotis, and warqi parathas. The richness of Awadh cuisine lies not only in the variety of cuisine but also in the ingredients used like mutton, paneer, and rich spices, which include cardamom and saffron.
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Kebabs are the integral part of Awadhi. Lucknow is proud of its Kebabs. There are several varieties of popular kebabs in Awadhi cuisine viz. Kakori Kebabs, Galawat ke Kebabs, Shami Kebabs, Boti Kebabs, Patili-ke-Kebabs, Ghutwa Kebabs and Seekh Kebabs are among the known varieties.
The kebabs of Awadhi cuisine are distinct from the kebabs of Punjab insofar as Awadhi kebabs are grilled on a chula and sometimes in a skillet as opposed to grilled in a tandoor in Punjab. Awadhi kebabs are also called "chula" kebabs whereas the kebabs of Punjab are called "tandoori" kebabs.
The Seekh Kebab has long been considered a piece de resistance in the Awadhi dastarkhwan. Introduced by the Mughals it was originally prepared from beef mince on skewers and cooked on charcoal fire. Now lamb mince is preferred for its soft texture.
The 100-year-old Tunde ke Kabab in Chowk is the most famous outlet for Kababs even today. Tunde kabab is so named because it was the speciality of a one-armed chef. The tunde kabab claims to be unique because of the zealously guarded family secret recipe for the masala (homemade spices), prepared by women in the family. It is said to incorporate 160 spices.
Kakori kabab is considered blessed since it was originally made in the place by the same name in the dargah of Hazrat Shah Abi Ahder Sahib with divine blessings. The meat used is from the tendon of the leg of mutton, combined with khoya and spices.
Shami Kebab is made from mince meat, with usually with chopped onion, coriander, and green chillies added. The kebabs are round patties filled with spicy mix and tangy raw green mango. The best time to have them is May, when mangoes are young. When mangoes are not in season, kamrakh or karonda may be substituted for kairi, as both having a tart flavour reminiscent of the raw mango.
A variant made without any admixture or binding agents and comprising just the minced meat and the spices is the Galawat kabab.
Boti kebab is lamb marinated in yoghurt and cooked on skewers in a tandoor oven.
Vegetarian kebabs include Dalcha Kebab, Kathal ke Kebab, Arbi ke Kebab, Rajma Galoti Kebab (kidney bean kebab cooked with aromatic herbs), Zamikand ke Kebab (Lucknowi yam kebabs), etc.
Korma is actually the Indian name for the technique of braising meat. It originated in the lavish Moghul cuisine wherein lamb or chicken was braised in velvety, spiced sauces, enriched with ground nuts, cream and butter. While kormas are rich, they are also mild, containing little or no cayenne or chillies. There are both vegetarian(navratan korma) and non-vegetarian(chicken, lamb, beef & fish korma) varieties of korma. Murgh Awadhi Korma is a classic from Lucknow.
Pullao is made by cooking meat in ghee with warm aromatic spices until the meat is tender, then adding rice and cooking in the sealed pot over low heat till done. With biryani, the rice is boiled or parboiled separately in spiced water and then layered with meat curry or marinade (depending on the type of biryani), then sealed and cooked over low heat until done. The vegetarian version is called tehri.
As wheat is the staple food of the state, breads are very significant. Breads are generally flat breads baked in a pan; only a few varieties are raised breads. Improvisations of the roti (or bread) are of different types and made in various ways and include the rumaali roti, tandoori roti, naan (baked in a tandoor), kulcha, lachha paratha, sheermaal and baqarkhani.
Breads made of other grains have descriptive names only, thus we have Makai ki roti, Jowar ki roti (barley flour roti), Bajre ki roti (bajra is a grain only grown in India), chawal-ki-Roti (roti of rice flour).
- Chapati is the most popular roti in India, eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
- Puri are small and deep fried so they puff up.
- Paratha is a common roti variant stuffed with fillings of vegetables, pulses, cottage cheese, and even mince meat and fried in ghee or clarified butter. This heavy and scrumptious round bread finds its way to the breakfast tables of millions.
- Rumali Roti is a thin bread baked on a convex metal pan. The Urdu word rumaali means kerchief.
- Tandoori Roti is an oven-baked thicker bread that can be crispy or chewy. The Urdu word tandoor means an oven.
- Naan is a pan-baked soft thick bread.
- Sheermaal is a sweet baked yeast naan made with flour, milk, sugar, and saffron.
- Baqarkhani is a variation of sheermaal that is cooked on a griddle rather than baked.
Winters are dedicated to halwas of all kinds that came to stay in India. There are several varieties of these, prepared from different cereals, such as gram flour, sooji, wheat, nuts and eggs. The special halwa or halwa sohan, which has four varieties, viz Papadi, Jauzi, Habshi and Dudhiya is prepared especially well in Lucknow.
The Jauzi Halwa Sohan is a hot favourite even today, but the art of preparing it is confined to only a few households. Prepared for the most part from germinated wheat, milk, sugar, saffron, nuts etc., it has love and patience as its vital ingredients.
Chaat and Samosa originated in Uttar Pradesh but now are popular nationwide and abroad. these are the integral part of street foods across India. The chaat variants are all based on fried dough, with various other ingredients. The original chaat is a mixture of potato pieces, gram or chickpeas and tangy-salty spices, with sour home-made Indian chilli and Saunth (dried ginger and tamarind sauce), fresh green coriander leaves and yogurt for garnish, but other popular variants included Aloo tikkis (garnished with onion, coriander, hot spices and a dash of curd), dahi puri, golgappa, dahi vada and papri chaat.
There are common elements among these variants including dahi, or yogurt; chopped onions and coriander; sev (small dried yellow salty noodles); and chaat masala, a spice mix typically consisting of amchoor (dried mango powder), cumin, Kala Namak (rock salt), coriander, dried ginger, salt, black pepper, and red pepper. The ingredients are combined and served on a small metal plate or a banana leaf, dried and formed into a bowl.
Following is list of few Awadhi recipes:
- Almond Kulfi
- Almond Seera
- Badam Halwa
- Boondi Raita
- Carrot Halwa
- Chicken Korma
- Dahi Gosht
- Fish Kebab
- Galouti Kebab
- Green Peas Paratha
- Gulab Jamun
- Gulkand Peda
- Indian Keema
- Kaddu Ki Kheer
- Kanji Ke Vade
- Kathi Kebab
- Kele Ki Sabzi
- Kofta Curry
- Kurmura Ladoo
- Kuttu Paratha
- Lachcha Paratha
- Lamb kebab
- Malai Kofta
- Mango Burfi
- Methi Parathas
- Moong Dal Halwa
- Motichoor Ladoo
- Murgh Musallam
- Mushroom Biryani
- Mutton Kabab
- Nargisi Kofta
- Navratan Korma
- Navratan Pulao
- Nawabi Curry
- Palak Paneer
- Paneer Korma
- Paneer Stuffed Tomatoes
- Paneer Tikka
- Peas Pulao
- Shahi Paneer
- Shami Kabab
- Til Papdi
- Vegetable Biryani
- Vegetable Pulav
- Yakhni Pulav
- Zafrani Kheer
- Zamin Doz Machhli
- Royal Mughal Ladies and Their Contributions. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
- The Sunday Tribune – Spectrum – Lead Article. The Tribune. (13 July 2003). Retrieved 2012-08-06.
- The Week. Week.manoramaonline.com. Retrieved 2012-08-06.
- Jennifer Brennan, Curries and Bugles: A Memoir and a Cookbook of the British Raj, Tuttle, 2000, ISBN 9625938184
- Tastes of royalty. The Hindu. (19 July 2008). Retrieved 2012-08-06.
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