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Food Walk With EazyDiner: An Overview Of Lucknow's Culinary Landscape

Exploring the royal Awadhi flavors of the city of Nawabs

02 Mar, 2021 by Gargi Bisht

Exploring the royal Awadhi flavors of the city of Nawabs

India is one country in the world that is famous for its rich history. From north to south, each region of the nation has millions of great stories of the erstwhile royals that once ruled, and their royal kitchens that were equally popular for giving birth to several gastronomic delights that we still have the pleasure to enjoy to this day. But when we talk about culinary marvels that find place in the golden history of the country, there’s no city that can beat the excellence of the ‘Dastarkhwan of the Nawabs’ of Lucknow.

The natives of this city of Nawabs, since time immemorial, are known for their discerning taste, a fact that is quite evident from their rich heritage. And it is this fondness for refined things that led to the development of Awadhi cuisine. The local food scene of this historical place is nothing short of a pilgrimage for foodies from all over the world. The taste, the smell, and the air of the city screams magic! So in our forever quest to acquaint you with the best dining experiences, here are some of the finest local food preparations that you just cannot miss when in Lucknow:

Kebabs

Talking about 'Lakhnawi' food and not mentioning Kebabs would be an absolute crime! The city holds global patronage when it comes to this succulent minced meat delicious delicacy. The introduction of kebabs in Lucknow to attributed to the first Shia Nawab of Awadh Sadat Ali Khan. Back then kebabs were merely the day’s hunt, chopped, marinated, and cooked over a fire. Over the years, as Awadhi cuisine developed, so did the kebabs in Lucknow with the creation of melt-in-your-mouth delicacies. Be it their signature Awadhi preparation- Galawati (or Galouti) kebabs or the ever-popular Tundey kebabs named after the Laknawi one-armed cook who invented the recipe; from Boti to Kakori and Shami to Seekh, kebabs in Lucknow are the absolute must-haves.
Where to find: Tunday Kababi, AminabadNaushijaan, LalbaghGarden Grille & Bar, Hilton Garden Inn, and local markets at Chowk & Nakhas.

 Lucknowi Biryani

If there’s anything as famous as Lucknow’s kebabs, it is its biryani. Unlike other biryanis from across India, this sumptuous dish straight from the streets of Lucknow is made using a different technique wherein the rice is cooked separately in garden-fresh spices and the marinated meat is added later. They are then layered and baked dum-style in a sealed handi (pot). And the result is a piquant melange of flavor that is evident in every single bite.
Where to find: Idrees Hotel, Chowk, Wahid Biryani, Aminabad, Biryani By Kilo, Gomti Nagar, and Lalla Biryani, Chowk

Tokri Chaat

This street food staple from Lucknow will prove to be an absolute delight for anyone who has an affinity for street snacks and 'chaat'. As the name suggests, the Katori or Basket Chaat literally resembles a basket that is overloaded with a whole bunch of ingredients. The basket part of the chaat is made of a fried potato shelling which is filled to the brim with mashed Tikkis, tangy and spicy sauces or chutneys, and loads of vegetables, often peas. The dish is very affordable, yummy, and very filling at the same time.
Where to find: Royal Cafe, Hazratganj


Nihari Kulcha

Imagine relishing a rich but mildly flavored gravy of tender meat marinated in an exotic spice rub and cooked overnight, with afresh out of tandoor kulcha, mouth-watering isn't it?. After Tundey Kebabs, Nihari Kulcha is the second most famous culinary gem adorning the cuisine of Lucknow that has been luring foodies from far and wide for decades.

Where to find: Raheem Hotel, Chowk


Sheermal

Sheermal or Shirmal is a very famous and decadent preparation in Lucknow. It is a saffron-colored naan or flatbread that is mildly sweet in taste and made with milk, yeast, and maida. The ingredients are mixed and allowed to sit for a while. The yeast in it causes it to rise and then it is baked in the famous tandoor or Indian oven. Sheermal tastes great with kebabs, kormas, and even by itself. 

Where to find: Sheermal Wali Gali, Akbari Gate, and Manish Eating Point, Gomti Nagar.


Khasta Kachori

Mornings in Lucknow are reserved for the classic puri or Khasta Kachori. Cooked in pure desi ghee, you will find that while the basic recipe for these remains the same, different places serve it with different accompaniments such as Aloo-Kaddu Sabzi, spicy Aloo Sabzi, or even Sookha baingan (eggplant).

Where to find: Ratti Lal's, Aminabad, Bajpayee Kachodi Bhandar, Hazratganj, Durga Khasta Corner, Lalbagh, and Chhappan Bhog, Sadar Bazaar.


Kulfi

Lucknow's food can never disappoint the ones with a sweet tooth. One of the best desserts you will find in the city is their Kulfi, stuffed with a lot of almonds and pistachios and often enjoyed with Falooda that makes this delicacy even more decadent.

Where to find: Prakash Kulfi, Aminabad


Malai Paan

When you are in Lucknow you can’t miss this insanely indulgent treat. Malai Paan or Malai Ki Gilori is a rare dessert, which according to local lore, is believed to be a culinary invention by the royal chefs of Lucknow as a result of a ban on Paan by the erstwhile Nawabs. Though many have tried to re-create the dessert but no one can even get near to Lucknow's special Malai Ki Gilori where the sweet Mishri along with dry fruits is encased in paper-thin Malai(clotted cream) and infused with a hint of rose water and Kewra.

Where to find: Ram Asrey, Hazratganj




Written By



Gargi Bisht is an event copywriter/conceptualizer turned writer currently working with EazyDiner Pvt. Ltd. Compulsive eater, book hoarder, dog lover and pop culture enthusiast with an innate love for storytelling. Usually the quietest person in the room, Gargi is an introvert who loves her own company. When not eating, can be found in front of her laptop watching movies. Knows a thing or two about art and literature.

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