Mohsina Mirza drools over the delightful dastarkhwan of Lucknow
In the kitchen of the nawabs, cooks were given total freedom to delight and to surprise their master and to impress guests.
The dastarkhwan was laid with as many as 50 dishes for one meal. Chicken and lamb were fed musk and saffron to perfume their flesh before being slaughtered. There were innumerable dishes. Kababs have always been an integral part of Awadhi cuisine. There were several varieties of kababs like kakori, galawati, shaami, boti, ghutwa, seekh, patili, dalcha, kathal, arbi, rajma galoti and zamikand.
In Lucknow, cuisine of the old empire was taken to new heights. The voluptuousness of the food was in perfect keeping with the flamboyance evident in every aspect of the city.
Dhungar is a technique used for centuries in Lucknow to infuse a smoky flavour into more moist kababs that were difficult to grill. You can still taste that kind of aromatic kababs in Lucknow. Lucknow is also proud of its tongue delighting Tunday kababs.
The one hundred year old Tunday’s kabab is the most famous outlet today. Made from mince meat, the kababs are round patties filled with as many as 160 melt-in-the-mouth spices. The secret recipe was created by Haji Murad Ali, who apparently had only one hand and the kababs he made were called tunday, or one with one hand.
Haji Murad Ali started a small outlet in 1905 in the narrow lane of the Chowk area, where it has remained to this day. Mohammad Usman continued the tradition and started a parallel outlet in the Aminabad market in 1996 called The grandsons of Tunday Kababs.
The mouth watering Tunday Kabab now has its own logo and trademark and the kababs are in great demand among bon resident Indians around the world, celebrities and at all international food festivals.
The other famous dishes are nahari- kulcha, korma-roomali roti, kaliya- sheermal, ishtou, or stew-warqhi paratha, moong gosht, chane ki dal gosht, dahi gosht, keema, dum biryani, handi biryani, kofta biryani, kulfi, zarda, kheer, shahi tukda, sewaiyan and a huge range of halwas.
The richness of Nawabi cuisine lies not only in its variety but the same set of spices used differently in creating different tastes in different preparations. The nawabi desserts are wanted for their taste and fragrance.
Crazy about kulfi
The joy of eating an Awadhi dessert after a main course is always a heavenly experience. Prakash Kulfi in Aminabad is one of the best places for kulfi in Lucknow. The yummy faluda kulfi is the most popular dessert at the same outlet. Today on offer are some delicious fruit kulfis as well that are made famous for having featured in various food exploring shows of India.