Uttar Pradesh(UP) is located at the Northern part of India so its culture and cuisine are greatly influenced by the rulers who arrived here from outside India. Heart of the state, Lucknow is a witness to all the cultural and culinary variations from ancient past till now.
Other than Lucknow, other districts of UP are also known for their food like Banaras is known for its Kaddu Purie, Mathura is known for Pedha, Agra is known for Petha, Kanpur is famous for its Kakori and Boti kebabs. Every state has its distinct taste.
The cuisine of Lucknow is synonymous to Mughlai cuisine or Awadhi cuisine as it has been ruled by Mughals. Mughlai and Awadhi cuisines are similar to those of Kashmir and Punjab due to the common influence of the Mughal rule. Nawabi Food is another name for these cuisines. These Nawabi foods comprise of some special combination of spices like cardamom, saffron, and flower extract like Kewada Itra, which is an essential ingredient of Kebabs.
Mughlai or Awadhi cuisine introduced the new techniques of cooking which is known as Dampukth. In this style of cooking food is sealed in a large pan called handi which is placed on slow heat which allow the ingredients to be cooked in their own juices. And the final result is in the form of a flavorful and aromatic dish.
Cooks of this cuisine are also categorized into different categories according to the amount of food they are supposed to cook. The Bawarchis cook food in large quantities while the Rakabdars cook in small gourmet quantities and also specialize in garnishing and presentation. Nanfus are the special cooks who deal only with making breads like Roti, Chapati, Naans, Sheermals and Kulchas. The Lucknowi cuisine is incomplete without the description of some elaborate dishes such as Kebabs, Kormas, Biryanis, Roomali Roti, Stuffed Parathas.
Kebabs: Awadhi kebabs are grilled on chulha or grilled tandoor. Seekh Kebabs were introduced by Mughals and are made by beef mince on skewers and cooked on charcoal fire. Nowadays lamb mince is preferred for its soft texture.
Galouti Kebab: It is made of minced meat and spices without binding agent.
Kakori Kebab: It was originally made in the Darghah of Hazarat Shah Ahder Sahib with divine blessings. It was made by the leg of mutton with khoya and spices.
Some dishes of UP are synonymous to the festivals. For eg. Gujia is prepared on the occasion of Holi .Recently, Makar Sankrinti which is also known as Khichdi was celebrated. On this occasion khichdi is prepared at every household.
The cuisine of UP cannot be explained in words or any definition.
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