RAJA, RASOI AUR EK KAHAANI

Disclaimer – The following post is written in collaboration with my friend Aayush Jha. Follow his lovely blog TheCommonBoy .

In India, its food is the celebration of its diversity, culture and rich history. It is a thread that connects the multi-cultured people of India; and though the food and eating habits change region by region, the love, joy and spirit of sharing behind cooking throughout the country remains constant.

When we talk about Nawabi cuisine, the first thing that strikes my mind is meat, “Waise bhi Yaar non-veg hi toh asli khana hai baki sab toh ghaas phoos hai”. Talking about Nawabi Cuisine, Lucknow, the Capital of ‘Awadh’, cannot be missed.

Lucknow, one of most beautiful and historically rich towns of North India, famous for its grandiose architecture and eclectic sumptuous delicacies, like Moti Pulao, Tunday Kebab, Lucknowi Dum Pukht Biryani, Arvi ka salan etc. is a direct trip to paradise for all the connoisseurs of food.

One delicacy that beats all the others both, in taste and popularity, is Kebab. They have their own importance, throughout Lucknow, and the saying “Lucknow ke Nawab aur wahan ke Kebab”, which symbolizes the importance of Nawabs and evolution of Kebabs during their reign, proves this.

It is worth-noting that the Nawabs of Lucknow were not as much famed for conquests and expansions as they were for being patrons of art, architecture and food. The Nawabs had a great sense for food and greatly relished eating meaty delicacies.

There is one kebab that is widely known for uniqueness, The Galouti Kebab; it’s the first of its kind of Kebabs. Until 16th century AD, the Kebabs used to be quite chewy and hard in texture. This trend changed with the arrival of Asa-ud-Daula, the successor of Nawab Siraj-ud-Daula. He significantly contributed in culinary and architecture of Lucknow. He brought about a ‘Renaissance’ in the cuisines of that era. It’s during this time that the Galouti Kebab came into existence.

According to historians, Nawab Asa-ud-Daula, had lost all his teeth due to his lavish lifestyle; but this did not deter his craving for Kebabs. He asked his ‘Khansamas’, the royal chefs, to prepare such a kebab which was soft and could be easily dissolved in mouth, unlike the earlier Kebabs that required a great deal of functioning of teeth.

The name ‘Galouti’ itself self suggests “soft”. It is said that Mohammed Fakr-e-Alam was the first one who made Galouti Kebabs, he his said have also invented the Moti Pulao.

Galouti Kebab is prepared by finely mincing the lamb meat and then marinating it in an extraordinary variety of spices, precisely 150 different spices, that enhances its taste, it is deep fried in ‘Shuddh Desi Ghee’. These patty shaped Kebabs take your taste buds on a heavenly journey. Galouti Kebabs have placed Lucknow on the culinary world map. If you ever happen to be in lucknow, then now you know what you should do…..

“Lucknow aye aur kebab na khaya, to kiya kya? Aaiye jaanab, kebab ka lutf uthaien…” Aadab…

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