Earlier known as Lakshmanpur, Awadh is claimed to be among the most ancient of Hindu States.It is also called Ound, Oundh, or Oude,Oudh,and is now in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.Today it is known by the name Lucknow.
Awadh style of cooking is deeply influenced by the Mogul style of cooking and it closely resembles the cuisine of Kashmir and Hyderabad.The food-loving Nawabs of Awadh were indeed instrumental in the creation of a wonderful cuisine.
Authentic dishes ranging from kormas to kulchas, roomali rotis to parathas and flavorful biryani are famous all over the world-Thanks to the Nawabs of Awadh.The art of cooking food over slow fire or 'Dum'
style of cooking originated from this region.This process involves sealing ingredients in large pot called 'handi'
and is placed over slow fire, allowing the ingredients to simmer in their own juices.
The richness of Awadh cuisine lies in its ingredients and also the diverse ways of cooking it.Some dishes are flavorful due to the use of rich ingredients like cream and ghee while others taste equally good though prepared from mustard oil!
The chefs used their expertise in blending spices to create aromatic dishes in the royal kitchen.Usually there were several chefs handling the different processes of cooking and also there were specialists for each recipe / dish! I don't think the proverb ' Too many cooks spoil the broth' applies here.....
Chefs were treated with great respect !Not only did they prepare a tempting spread, they also changed the menu according to the season. For example winter season would see a lot more of 'rich foods'.Heat giving meats and fishes were preferred in winter but were avoided during the rainy season.
There were a lot of vegetarian and non vegetarian dishes to indulge in. Usually all the members of the family sat together to enjoy the meal.
A typical meal spread would consist of the following fares...
- Kurma / Qorma which is a thick gravy with braised meat.
- Salan - A gravy of meat / vegetables
- Kheema - Minced meat preparation
- Kabab - pounded meat patties roasted / fried over live charcoal
- Pasanda - Very tender meat cooked in gravy
- Rice dishes like briyani / pulao / plain rice
- Naan / Roti varieties
- Desserts like sheera /phirni / kheer
Isn't it a gastronomical extravagance!!!
Here are some recipes from this delightful cuisine. Many of these dishes are present in other regional cuisine too while some of these are specific to Awadh cuisine. Certain recipes have been modified to suit our tastes , made a little lighter to suit our lifestyle.. Now let us indulge.....
- 'Melt in your mouth' sweet treats
Gajar Ka Halwa
- A dessert fit for kings
- Delicious deep fried Khoya balls soaked in sugar syrup.
- A rice based dessert. Here I prepared it with brown rice and in the microwave.
- Carrots add a nice color and enhance the nutrition of this traditional dish.
- Flat bread made with buckwheat flour.
- Flat bread with the goodness of fenugreek leaves.
- Much sought after spinach based side dish ,prepared in restaurant style in a vegan way with tofu.
- Yogurt based side dish to go with flavored rice varieties.
- Deep fried lentil fritters soaked in seasoned yogurt.
More recipes coming up soon....