Maharajas' Express Blog

Revel in the Epicurean Delicacies of Awadhi Cuisine in Lucknow with the Maharajas Express

Kabab-Factory“If you are craving for a royal gourmet in India, then there is no place better than the city of Nawabs that could satiate your palate. Lucknow, the capital city of Uttar Pradesh (UP), was traditionally the capital of a central region in the UP known as Awadh. The Nawabs of Awadh, who were famous for their hedonistic lifestyle and opulence, were the true patrons of art, culture & food; under their reign, northern Indian cuisines blossomed to new heights and an exclusive type of gastronomy emanated which later came to be known as Awadhi cuisine or Lucknowi cuisine.

The cooking techniques used in Lucknowi cuisine are greatly influenced by the central-south Asian countries from where the Nawabs came from. Mughal style of cooking used in the Middle Eastern countries amalgamated with the Northern Indian gastronomy to lay down the foundation of Awadhi cuisine. It offers a wide range of tastes varying from mild variants to quite spicy ones and it is marked with a refined aroma and taste of several ground & whole spices. Though, contrary to popular belief, the use of spices in Lucknow cuisine is limited to a small number and the usage is not as extensive as sometimes told.

The biggest and most noted contribution of Lucknowi cuisine to India is Dum Pukht or Slow cooking technique. This method of cooking makes use of a round, heavy and deep metal pot in which meat and vegetables are cooked over a low flame for long periods of time. The lid of the pot is generally sealed with dough to prevent heat & flavors from escaping and to allow meat to cook in its own juices. Use of distinct spices in this slow cooking technique augments the taste and texture of the dishes. Nowadays, this unique astronomy is quite evident in other types of cuisines such as Mughlai, Punjabi and Hyderabadi.

Awadhi cuisine is renowned for many of its exclusive dishes that make the royal Dastarkhwan. Here, the term Dastarkhwan refers to a carefully cooked & elegantly presented ceremonial dining spread that was originally made for the Nawabs of Awadh. Today, Lucknowi Dastarkhwan is considered incomplete without the following delicacies: Qorma (braised meat cooked in thick gravy), Salan (succulent meat cooked overnight), Qeema (minced meat), Kebabs, Biryani, and Kheer (dessert made of sweet milk, rice & dried fruits).

Lucknow is known for its kebabs and its recipes are handed down through generations as family secrets. At Lucknow, you will find an impressive variety of kebabs such as Shami kebabs, Seekh kebabs, Boti kebabs, Ghutwati kebabs, and Patilli ke kebabs. Kebabs differ from one place to another with respect to spices used with minced meat and also in cooking style. Generally, Lucknowi kebabs are grilled in the barbeque style and thus differ from tandoori kebabs that are grilled in a large cylindrical clay pot.

Kebabs could be long cylindrical shaped as most types are or they could be in the form of round patties like Shami kebabs. Made originally using lamb meat because of its soft texture, kebabs in Lucknow today are also made using goat, chicken, beef, fish, etc. There is even a century old kebab shop in Lucknow known as Tunde ke Kebab which is well-known across India for its variety of appetizing kebabs that are rumoured to contain around 160 different spices.

Enjoy the royal Dastarkhwan at Lucknow with the Indian Panorama Journey (itinerary) of Maharajas’ Express which covers the city of Nawabs in its 8 day long trip and travels 2307 Kilometres through 10 celebrated places located in 4 major northern Indian states. The places covered in this journey include Delhi, Jaipur, Ranthambore, FatehpurSikri, Agra, Gwalior, Orchha, Khajuraho, Varanasi, and Lucknow.”