Lucknow is a must-explore destination for anyone with interest in the culture, history, art and food of the Indian subcontinent. The resplendent sights, tantalizing tastes and breathtaking smells of every corner of the haughty City of Nawabs are an elite exposition of the progress of not just an Indian city, but a unique way of life.
In this land of soft-shelled nawabs and top Awadhi cuisine, a sumptuous dastarkhawan—Persian for a generous spread of luscious dishes—awaits lovers of delectable food. All returns are blessed! Whether it is the dishes prepared at homes or road-side food from little streets, Lucknow in all senses is a paradise for foodies. You can also dine at an Indian restaurant and satiate your hunger for regal-n-royal cuisine without being on edge about cleanliness.
Cultural and Historical Influences on Lucknowi Food
Showing the true essence of Central Asia and the Middle East, delicacies of Lucknow are said to be highly inspired by the cooking styles and techniques of the Mughal kings. Lucknow cuisine includes Non-vegetarian and vegetarian delights cooked with exotic spices and complimented with dried fruits.
Dried fruits in the delicacies were a sign of royalty and prosperity of Mughals and it is also cultivated in Lucknowi food. The royal cooks of Awadh changed the conventional dastarkhawan (traditional dining spread) with lip-smacking delights like Zarda, Roomali Rotis, Kaliya, Nahari-Kulcha, Kormas, Kababas, and many more.
Ingredients Mainly Used in Awadhi Cuisine
The specialty of luscious Lucknow food lies as much in the way of cooking as in the items used to prepare the dishes. The chefs or the bawarchis of Awadh are the people who initiated the concept of dum pukht style of cooking. In this cooking method, the dishes are cooked over a low flame for a long period.
Elaborate delicacies cooked with time consuming procedures have always been the unique feature of Lucknowi food. A variety of exotic spices like cardamom, saffron, clotted cream, gold leaf, dried lemongrass, rose petals etc. are carefully used to attain the rich taste.
The true flavor of Lucknowi food is in royal city’s streets and homes. Now take this gourmet trail down the truest Indian gullies…
Kebabas: Kebabas are the pride of Lucknow. Small chunks of meat soaked in exotic spices and slowly-grilled to perfection eventually producing a succulent dish. It is prepared either on a barbeque grill or in a tandoor; leaving Lucknow without savoring shammi kebabs and boti kebabs is like a sin for food lovers.
Biryani: It’s like a dream come true for a food addict. Marinated with rich spices all night and flavored in yoghurt ahead of cooking,
the meat along with fragrant quality rice is cooked over charcoals slowly. The half-buried meat with saffron colored rice and a golden tinge of spices can easily compel you to have more, more and more!
Chaat: A salver covered beautifully with boiled potatoes, spicy chutneys, crispy fried dough and many colors can easily capture your senses in the first few glances. Indulgence in a plateful of this scrumptious and crispy street grub and in just one or two gnaws you’ll be in a surprise for sure!
Kulfi: When the teasing blend of creamy and cold kulfi detonates in your mouth, it releases amazing sweetness. No matter whether you pick Mango, Rose, Elaichi or Pistachio flavor, the silky-smooth texture of kulfi leaves a great taste lingering behind. Mouthwatering and enticing, the kulfi in Lucknow is simply outstanding.
Last but not the least; don’t pair Lucknowi food with your mind. Simply leave that part to your craving for an unforgettable gastronomical experience.