In love with Lucknow’s gourmet cuisine

High Commission of India in Brunei Darussalam

Lucknow, the capital of the north-Indian State of Uttar Pradesh, is also called the City of Nawabs. Lucknow lies in the middle of the Heritage Arc between the three cities of Agra and Varanasi.

This bustling city, famed for its Nawabi era finesse and amazing food, is a unique mix of the ancient and the modern. It is home to extraordinary monuments depicting a fascinating blend of ancient, colonial and oriental architecture.

Lucknow is also known for its sumptuous Awadhi gourmet cuisine, aimed primarily at feasting royalty, and is an astonishingly rich tradition.

The Awadhi culinary heritage is marked by the elegance which goes into adorning the dastarkhwan (table) and the expertise of its bawarchis (cooks), who continue to follow the traditional style of cooking handed down to them by their ancestors.

Lucknow is a foodie’s paradise, with a cuisine that has its own distinct individuality and identity. The cuisine of Awadh, the region around Lucknow, is characterised by its sophisticated and subtle use of many spices, condiments and vegetables grown across India.

Gosht Dum Biryani. PHOTO: HIGH COMMISSION OF INDIA TO BRUNEI DARUSSALAM
Hara Bhara Kabab. PHOTOS: HIGH COMMISSION OF INDIA TO BRUNEI DARUSSALAM
Dal Awadhi

Considered by some to be one of the world’s most diverse and divine cuisines, each family of this cuisine is characterised by a wide assortment of dishes and cooking techniques.

From kababs to biryanis to a wide array of chaats and pakodas, you never know which narrow alley will take you to a food haven.

Some of the renowned dishes of Lucknow are the Kormas, Kaliya, Nahari-kulchas, Nargisi Kofta, Tokri Chaat, Lakhnawi Biryani, Zarda, Shahi Tukda, Sheermal and Warqi Parathas.

It is not just the ingredients that are special, but also the way they are made by expert and loving hands and the way they are presented.

Awadh is home to a vast variety of kababs. They differ in shape and size, the kind of meat used and the method of cooking involved.

Some of the most famous kababs are the Tundey, Kakori, Shami, Boti, Patili-keKabab, Gulnar and Seekh.

The High Commission of India in Brunei Darussalam in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, India Tourism Office, Singapore and Indian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), New Delhi is organising a food festival themed on the Lucknawi/Awadhi cuisine of the North Indian State of Uttar Pradesh at The Rizqun Coffee Houseof The Rizqun International Hotel, Gadong on February 15-16.

Specialist Chef Kirti Rastogi and Sous-Chef Tara Dutt Bhatt from ITDC will be in Brunei to prepare gourmet dishes exclusive to the cuisine of Lucknow and Awadh.

The festival will be open to the public for lunch and dinner.

The High Commission of India has specially selected to bring to Brunei the rich and royal cuisine of Lucknow, considering its historic linkage with mughlai style of food preparations.

The following are some of the recipes of some of the dishes that will be prepared by the chefs during the festival.

GOSHT DUM BIRYANI

Total time: One hour 10 minutes (prep time 20 minutes)

Biryani is that quintessential rice dish which is synonymous with good food and celebrations. Made with rice, spices, meat and vegetables, Biryani is a one-pot dish that is often served with shorba (gravy) and raita.

Gosht Dum Biryani is a popular Mughlai recipe made with lamb, basmati rice, yogurt, onions and melange of spices.

This easy rice recipe can be made on special occasions and festivals and on those weekends when you want to indulge in good food. Serve it with raita.

INGREDIENTS

One kilogrammes chopped into cubes lamb

100g ghee

One teaspoon cinnamon

Two teaspoon garlic paste

One teaspoon kewra

Salt as required

Two bay leaves

Two teaspoon red chilli powder

Two sprigs coriander leaves

20ml milk

600g basmati rice

Five cloves

Two teaspoon ginger paste

Four green chillis

A quarter teaspoon saffron

100g sliced onion

250g yoghurt (curd)

Two sprigs mint leaves

Two teaspoon mace powder

Two teaspoon powdered green cardamom

FOR GARNISHING

Two tablespoon cashews

Two star anise

Two tablespoon raisins

INSTRUCTIONS

Clean the mutton and soak the saffron in a little warm milk. Wash basmati rice and soak in water for at least one hour. Boil the basmati until three fourth done.

Cut ginger, green chilli and mint leaves into fine julienne. In a pan, heat the ghee, stir fry the onions, cloves, bay leaves and cardamom to golden brown colour.

Add the mutton cubes, ginger-garlic paste and cook on high heat for 10 minutes. Add yogurt to the mutton as well as red chilli powder and slowly cook until the meat is almost done. Remove the meat from the pot and strain the gravy.

Take another pot, add kewra water, cardamom, mace powder and milk dissolved saffron and cook for few minutes more.

Add the cooked mutton to the flavoured and seasoned jhol and the three-quarter done rice as well.

Cover this pot with dough, brush it with saffron and milk mixture and cook for 20 minutes. Garnish with cashews, raisins and star anise.

Transfer the biryani in a serving bowl and serve hot with raita.

DAL AWADHI

Total time: 10 hours (prep time eight hours, cook time two hours)

Dal Awadhi is made only with whole black urad lentils (black gram) and not with rajma (kidney beans).

It is a rich, creamy slow cooked whole urad dal (black gram) with tomato puree, butter and cream.

INGREDIENTS

1.5 cups whole urad dal (whole black gram)

250g tomatoes or three medium to large tomatoes

Two teaspoon of ginger garlic paste (adrak lahsun ka paste)

One teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder or deghi mirch

Half teaspoon garam masala powder

90 to 100g white butter or regular butter

Seven to eight tablespoon low fat cream

Seven cups water for cooking the lentils

Ginger juliennes-for garnish

One tablespoon butter or cream for garnish

Salt as required

INSTRUCTIONS

Soak whole urad dal (whole black gram) in enough water overnight or for seven to eight hours.

Drain them later and add the drained lentils in a three or four litre pressure cooker. Add 4.5 to five cups water and pressure cook the lentils for 16 to 18 whistles or for about 18 to 20 minutes.

When the lentils are getting cooked, make a puree of the 250g tomatoes in a blender and also make the ginger garlic paste).

The lentils should be cooked well and soft.

Now add the ginger garlic paste, tomato puree, kashmiri red chili powder, butter, cream and. Also add one to 1.5 cups of water.

Stir very well and keep the pressure cooker without its lid on a low flame. Let the dal simmer for about one hour or for one-and-a-half hour.

Keep on stirring often, so that the lentils don’t stick at the bottom of the cooker. Also mash some of the lentils while stirring.

If the dal becomes thick, then add some hot water. Once done, check the taste and add more red chili powder or salt if required.

Lastly, sprinkle garam masala powder and stir well.

While serving dal, dot with the butter or cream. Garnish with ginger juliennes and serve hot.

HARA BHARA KABAB

Total time: 50 minutes (prep time 30 minutes, cook time 20 minutes)

Hara bhara kabab are pan-fried spiced patties made with a mix of spinach, green peas and potatoes.

The recipe is easy to make and healthy as well, since it has the best of both spinach and green peas.

True to its name, Hara bhara kabab boasts of green health, made from spinach, peas and potatoes. Hara bhara kabab recipe is a delicious variation of vegetarian kabab.

INGREDIENTS

Fresh spinach leaves 100g

1.5 to two cups water for blanching

One to 1.5 cups cold water

Medium large potatoes or 200g

Green peas 150g

Two cups water for pressure cooking

Four tablespoons besan (gram flour) or add as required

One green chilli

Ginger – roughly chopped

One teaspoon chaat masala powder

A quarter teaspoon garam masala powder

Salt as required

Two to three tablespoons oil for pan frying the kabab, add as required

INSTRUCTIONS

Blanch the spinach in hot water for two minutes.

Remove and keep the leaves in cold water for one minute.

Finely chop the spinach and keep aside. Roast besan (gram flour) in a small pan till it becomes aromatic and changes its colour.

Don’t over roast or darken the gram flour.

Boil the potatoes and peas in a pressure cooker or pan. Crush chopped ginger and green chillies in a mortar-pestle to a paste.

MAKING HARA BHARA KABAB

In a bowl take the chopped spinach. Grate the boiled potatoes in the bowl. Add the peas and green-chili paste.

Mash the kabab mixture with a potato masher or with a wooden spoon. Add all the dry spice powders, roasted gram flour and salt. Mix the kabab mixture very well. Shape into round patties and pan fry till crisp and golden. Serve hara bhara kabab hot with coriander chutney or mint chutney.