Gastronomic pilgrimage across the streets of Lucknow

For food lovers

Hitting the food trail in Lucknow is a pilgrimage! In this land of indulgent nawabs and haute Awadhi cuisine, a lavish dastarkhwan – Persian for a well-laid-out spread of dishes – awaits worshippers of good food. All return blessed!

Be it the street food from the dingy lanes or dishes rolled out at the homes of former nobles from a repository of well-guarded recipes, Lucknow is quite up on the list of Indian cities with a highly evolved gastronomic quotient.

One must shed inhibitions such as not having something heavy for breakfast, or getting repulsed by a sea of floating oil in curries.

Famous kababs

Some of the famous kababs – even kormas, curries and stews – of ‘dum-pukht’ or slow-cooked Awadhi cuisine, are eaten with an array of breads, some of which can be both sweet and savoury, like the glazed caramel sheermal.

Also, don’t pair food here with your mind. Leave that part to your palate. The best-known kabab of Lucknow is, of course, the galawati. This is a melt-in-the-mouth patty of finely-minced mutton or beef marinated with a host of spices and condiments, then shallow-fried on a large tawa or a cast-iron girdle fired by charcoal. It pairs well with a roomali roti.

There is this legendary restaurant Tunday Kababi in the old quarters of Aminabad whose original owners stake claim to having invented this culinary delight. The galawati was first made for an ageing nobleman with no teeth who yearned for some kebabs.

Today galawatis are available at a host of places. Tunday themselves have many franchises, even outside Lucknow. Most of these eateries serve a mean galawati and more.

Veg delight

Not that mutton-gluttons can’t dig into them. The vegetarian kababs include Dalcha and paneer, as also others made of kidney beans, raw jackfruit, Arbi or Colocasia and yam kebabs.

The rakabdars of Lucknow are famous for the ‘dum’ style of cooking over slow fire.
Mornings are best reserved for the traditional poorie or khasta kachori with alu-kaddu sabzi.

The vegetarian fare comes alive early evenings when the famous chaats of Lucknow are in full bloom.

The popular chaat joints include Jain, Radhey Lal, Shukla, Chhappan Bhog, Shree Ram and Jagdish. You do have the gol gappas or paani-poories, which locals call batashas.

Here, the casings are filled with a combination of curd and chutney. Also try the alu tikkis in Lucknow that are stuffed with some secret masalas and green peas, as also the crumbling-in-the-mouth khasta tikkis.

Kulfis are also a must. Finally, a paan does wonders. Lucknow's paans are good and help keep the palate and the momentum going to tuck in more.

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