Lucknow, the city of Nawabs, their culture and food. The city dates back to 14th century and the Nawabs were the governors appointed by the Mughal Emperor. The Nawabs of Lucknow, in reality, the Nawabs of Awadh, acquired the name after the reign of the third Nawab when Lucknow became their capital. The city became North India’s cultural capital, and its nawabs, best remembered for their refined and extravagant lifestyles, were patrons of the arts.
The Nawabs elegance and mannerism can still be experienced today, in the sophisticated dishes that the city has to offer. The fact about Lucknowi or Awadhi cuisine is that its full of flavours & there isn’t much use of whole spices in the final dish. The city’s gastronomy is amalgamation of cuisines from Middle East, central Asia, Northern India. The Nawab and their royalty was such that they never wanted the food to be robust, the taste and appeal of the food was always taken into consideration. As they say in Lucknow, khana nafasaat se banta hai.
The city is famous for its love for meats and the kebabs that it has to offer on streets. But, when we talk about Lucknow, it is incomplete without Biryani. So, there are two theories about how the word Biryani came up. One is that it’s from Farsi word Birian, which means frying, and here it’s true because frying of rice with other ingredient. The other word is, Birinj, meaning rice in farsi. Considering the main ingredient is rice, this is more believable.
Here is Awadhi Biryani that I cooked to satisfy my craving for Biryani. I am someone who likes biryani cooked in masalas and has robust taste. But this one is a royal feast of flavours with meat. The beauty if dish is that, the rice and meat are cooked separately & then layered on each other & later cooked on slow heat, till all the flavours are mixed.
We are well aware with the cuisine in North India, but this Lucknowi and Awadhi food traditions are completely different. With more than 50 varieties of the dish in country today, with everyone claiming their version is the best, do try this one, it surely makes you feel like a Nawab.