Much has been written and spoken about the venerable culture of erstwhile Uttar Pradesh, India’s largest and populous state, now in the maelstrom vortex of emerging India. As the region prospers and gets its act together to receive visitors and investors alike in droves, there exists a real and great opportunity to bring back certain scintillating jewels of the Awadhi cuisine that have been unfortunately relegated into historical cookery books or wistfully mentioned in the kitchen discussions of cosmopolitan Lucknow.
We all know about the great entrepreneurial spirit that is gripping this land, and what better a time than now, to bring back the hidden gems into mainstream food & beverage retail outlets. Fortune beckons the brave and fastidious exponents of culinary start-ups. Here are some sneakpeak of 16 delectable vegetarian dishes that are time tested and mesmerising in their power to evoke the finest nuances of Awadhi tehzeeb.
Gudhal Ke Phool Ka Sharbat (Sharbat made using hibiscus flower, lemon and sugar).
Bael Ka Sharbat. From bael (Aegle marmeelos, also known as Bengal quince), powdered sugar and powdered cardamom.
Phalsey Ka Sharbat (made from Indian Sherbet berry fruit adding sugar to it).
Sattu Ka Sharbat. Sattu is a mixture of gram flour and Barley considered to be one of best prevention from heat stroke, but has traditionally been valued for its many nutritional (A drink made from mixture of Sattu (4 tbsp) with water OR Chaas (buttermilk) and seasoned with Salt, Pepper or sometimes roasted Cumin (Jeera) a dash of cinnamon sometimes impart a good flavor and taste).
Rampur’s Khatte Meethe Aam Ke Gulgule. When you take a bite of Gulgule, the flavours start dancing, it bursts with the sweet syrup, the crispy crust and tanginess of mangoes (kacche kairee) which are marinated with few herbs and spices with the aroma of cardamom.
Singhare Ki Kachri a snacks/main course from the bylanes of Lucknow made from chestnut, with a tadka of ghee, jeera, chilies, ginger, tomatoes, topped up with butter and radish. It’s simplicity is its beauty, it vanishes in your mouth leaving a hint of a little spiciness and melting flavor in your palate.
Moong Daal ka Fara/ Gojha. A lentil (moong dal paste, jeera powder, Asafoetida and salt) stuffed dumpling folded in rice dough served with Ghee and Aloo Parwal ki sabji. Pick a dumpling roll it into the melted Ghee and before the ghee drips down gulp it down with sabji, for a heavenly experience.
Rice Kachori stuffed with Moong Daal, Garlic, Chillies, Jeera powder, and Salt). Made from a rice flour, its top crust is very crispy from the top, soft and spicy from inside and its accompanied with a green chutney.
Muter ka Nimona, This has a nice blend of Indian spices with crushed peas when roasted with Vadi infuses great aroma and is served with chapatti and rice.
Rikwach is a dumpling made from Chana dal (steamed then cut diagonally), deep fried and cooked in curry served with chapatis. This is served in main course and even can be tempered and this could be also served as snacks if not cooked in the gravy, it is a great accompaniment with chai.
Aaloo Vadi Ki Sabji” The wadi is made from white pumpkin and blend with the spices have a pungent, spicy and salty flavors. It is usually served with chapatti and rice.
Angoori Kofte. Made from bottle guard in creamy gravy.
Aligarh’s Sannata Raita
Khaja It’s a dessert made from wheat flour rolled in layers and then deep fried until crisp and golden brown. Sugar syrup is prepared which is known as "Paga". The crisp croissants are then soaked in the sugar syrup until they absorb the sugar syrup.
Laung Lata is a dessert same as Gujiya the difference is this is khoya stuffed Maida parcel tucked with cloves, deep fried and dipped in sugar syrup.
Let’s turn the clock back and revisit our glorious past through these mesmerising dishes.
By Sunny Sriram
Author Sunny Sriram is Director – Arrow Hospitality Consulting and member advisory board Better Kitchen. He specializes in conceptualizing unique dining concepts, realizing ROI faster than expected, and chain-store strategizing.