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The cuisine is one of the factors that add up to the identity of a place, its culture and history. Lucknow has its own inseparable history with the royals hence giving the cuisine history of Lucknow a royal touch. The traditional food of Lucknow has been inspired by the Awadhi cuisine, cooked with a blend of spices on low flame, a practice still used by chefs. Let’s have a look at the 12 most popular cuisines to taste in Lucknow.
1. Galouti kebab
Galouti means a thing that melts in mouth’, hence Galouti kebab means meat that melts in the mouth. It is prepared with a mix of aromatic spices, yoghurt, gram flour, onion and meat. It is believed that the royal cooks invented Galouti Kebab as an invention for the old Nawab of Lucknow, Wajid Ali Shah who had lost his teeth. So the chefs invented the soft meat i.e the Galouti Kebab.
2. Patili Kebab
Patili kebabs are cooled in brass or copperware known as ‘Patili’ acting as the origin behind its name. They are soft and spicy and can be served both as a snack or a filling with Rumali Roti. These kebabs are cooked on low flame and are not barbequed or fried, unlike other kebabs. It has its own cooking enhancing the flavour of the rich spices used.
3. Nargisi Kofta
Hard-boiled eggs with meat as a coating sound mouthwatering. Nargisi Kofta was named after the Narcissus flower having yellow and white petals that came along with the Mughal emperors from Persia. Nargisi Kofta is a deep-fried meatball marinated with spices that is worth a shot and is one of a kind.
4. Kakori Kebab
When I hear kebab, all I remember is the city of Nawabs- Cuisines of Lucknow.
Kakori Kebabs are a refined version of Seekh Kebabs, the softest and finest version till date. Kakori Kebabs originated after a British official made a comment on the Seekh Kebabs at a party hosted by a local nawab. After the insult, the nawab asked his hakims to create a more refined version of the Seekh Kebabs resulting in the Kakori Kebabs. They are barbecued and an essential part of the cuisine of Lucknow.
5. Tokri Chaat or Katori Chaat
Found on every street of Lucknow, Tokri Chaat is yet another mouthwatering dish. It is made from grated potatoes moulded in the shape of a Katori served with a topping of chana, boiled potatoes, spices, chutney and some curd. It is popularly known as the Chaat of Lucknow.
Lucknow is popularly known for its kebabs but Sheermal has a street after its name popularly known as the Sheermal gali or Chawal wali gali. Sheermal is sweet bread prepared with flour, milk, maida, ghee and sugar infused with a touch of saffron. It is a key dish for special occasions in Lucknow.
Pasanda is a heavenly dish for all the non-vegetarians out there. Cooked using mutton pieces mixed with spices and curd. Pasanda is a Shahi dish. Nowadays, Pasanda is cooked with chicken meat as well. Pasanda belongs from the kitchen of the Mughal emperors and has not lost its shahi cuisine status till date. If you are a non-vegetarian, then Pasanda should be on top of your bucket list.
8. Malai Ki Gilori
A dessert that melts in your mouth will make you feel on top of the world, Malai Ki Gilori is the perfect choice for that experience. One of the best bites you will ever take, malai ki Gilori was invented as a substitute for paan as it was banned in the nawab courts. It was made using thick layers of milk cream or malai sprinkled with nuts and mishri, the sweetest experience in the world.
9. Shahi Tukda
An easy yet heartwarming dish, Shahi Tukda is a classic dessert. A perfect blend of milk, bread, ghee, sugar with a topping of almonds and pistachios and a little touch of saffron can do wonders to this dish. Shahi Tukda is one of the key dishes at the time of iftar during Ramadan.
10. Kaju Curry
In the city of Lucknow, one can find numerous delights for the non-vegetarians but Kaju Curry is Lucknow’s style of compensation to the vegetarians. All the vegetables cooked with Kaju, Mawa, milk, and Khoya making an amazing gravy served hot with a garnish of fresh coriander leaves will definitely give you a food orgasm.
11. Dum Aloo Lakhnavi
Dum aloo has its separate fan base but Lakhnavi style dum aloo will definitely give a hit to your taste buds. Crispy fried potatoes with a filling of paneer and spices, an obvious tomato and onion gravy taste best when served hot.
12. Lucknow Biryani
Last but not least, Lucknow is known for its Biryani. It is impossible to visit Lucknow and not have biryani because that is definitely a rule-breaking. Lucknowi biryani has a smooth texture with marinated meat served with spices and herbs. One mouthful bite of this biryani will make you weak on your knees.
If you want your taste buds to experience a mix of Awadhi, Mughal and Aghan style then the streets of Lucknow might be the perfect destination for you. From kebabs to biryani to shahi desserts, Lucknow has it all.