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Awadhi cuisine always evinces a lot of interest in Hyderabad. Hyderabadis love their biryani and considering the biryani from Awadh to be the only strong competitor. The kakoris and galoutis also have quite a fan following in our city. Thus, whenever any restaurant organizes a food festival from Lucknow, there is a significant amount of traction and endless discussions comparing the biryanis, kababs, and niharis with the local versions. It is also said that the Awadhi cuisine has a little influence on Hyderabadi preparations, as the first Nizam was an erstwhile Governor of Oudh and brought some of the khansamas with him when he came to the Deccan.
Lucknow, the capital of the princely state of Awadh was known for its dum pukht style of cooking. Apart from the biryani, kababs like the galouti and kakori have their own history and stories which add further romanticism to the cuisine. Even now, the Chowk and Aminabad areas in the city are heaven for food enthusiasts, with kababs from Tunday, nihari from Raheem and biryani from Idris, Wahid, and Lalla.
The Makhan Malai and Malai Gilori are sought-after desserts from the city.
Aloo Tokri Chaat
Many of these preparations are being showcased in the week-long “LuckNow in Hyderabad” food promotion at Firdaus, the Indian restaurant at Taj Krishna. On offer is a special menu which replaces the usual Indian menu for these days.
Also, one can indulge in a special Awadhi Thali, which has small portions of many of the signature dishes. Chef Prashant Jha of Taj Mahal Hotel Lucknow is in Hyderabad curating this festival. Here are some of the interesting dishes from those offered:
Awadhi Biryani: The biryani served at the festival is a traditional preparation of Lucknow. The ghee-laden biryani having different coloured rice depends more on flavours than spices. Saffron and nuts add further to the experience, as does the succulent mutton.
Kumbh Galouti: The traditional “Galouti Kabab” in Awadhi cuisine is meat based. This festival also has a melt-in-the-mouth vegetarian version made out of mushrooms. Of course, if you want to try out the legendary lamb version, it is available too.
Nalli Nahari Gosht: The slow-cooked broth of lamb shank which is actually a breakfast dish, is a little greasy with melted fat in it.
With the Sheermal (a bread from Awadh) soaked into it, it tasted very good. Again, like other Awadhi dishes, it depends on flavours rather than spices compared to the Hyderabadi version.
Makhan Malai and Malai Gilori
Makhan Malai: Known as Malaiyyo in Benaras, Daulat ki Chaat in Delhi and Nimish in some parts of UP, “Makhan Malai” is a winter dessert, which traditionally is made from exposing the churned milk in the morning dew. With foaming and newer culinary techniques, this is now available during other seasons too. This dessert at the festival tasted much like the traditional ones I grew up on in Benaras.
Malai Gilori: Ram Ashrey, a sweet shop in Chowk is known for this sweet, which they claim is made from a 300-year-old recipe. The milk-based sweet is shaped like a pan.
Some of the other items served at this festival are no less interesting.
Murg Tikka Mirza Hasnoo
Murg Tikka Mirza Hasnoo is a saffron flavoured chicken kabab originally from the kitchens of Nawab Shuja-Ud-Daulah. Khoya Khubani Kabab stuffed with apricot and khoya is another delicate preparation. For vegetarians, they are also offering the Subz Yakhni Biryani. Jhinga Dum Nisha, Kakori Kabab, Dal Gosht and Murgh Awadhi Korma are some other dishes which deserve a mention.
“LuckNow in Hyderabad” is on until 7th July at Firdaus, the Indian restaurant of Taj Krishna for both lunch and dinner.