Food

A whiff of Lucknowi andaaz

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Visiting Lucknow? Here are a few must-eats that the city is equally famous for, apart from kebabs and biryani

Think of Lucknow and the first thing that comes to mind is the lip-smacking food. Think luscious kebabs, fragrant biryanis, robust kormas, and fluffy sheermals to mop it all up. While the city’s non-vegetarian fare is legendary and deserves all the attention it gets, there is also an entire alternate cuisine that Lucknow specialises in (and not many people know about). The delicious vegetarian options that you find in Lucknow are as good as, if not better than, their non-vegetarian counterparts. Don’t believe us? Try them for yourself the next time you are there.

Dahi jalebi khasta

No morning in Lucknow is complete without the special dahi-jalebi and khasta combination. No matter what time of the year it is, every morning pushcarts making fresh jalebis and khasta magically spring up across the city. Where there are no carts, there are shops. The crisp jalebis are best eaten with curd that has been set in clay pots, and the khasta is served with a dry preparation of potatoes laced with chilli, asafoetida, and dry mango powder. Every lane of the city has its own jalebi shop, but some are more coveted than the others. Try Kanchan Sweets in Indira Nagar, or Neelkanth in Gomti Nagar to sample the freshest ghee jalebis and khasta.

Pooris and kachauris

Served with a tangy potato curry, these deep-fried discs define vegetarian feasts in this part of the country. While every home has its own recipe of the dish, some shops are so famous that even homemakers rely on them to feed their guests. Served with a sweet-and-sour dried mango chutney, boondi ka raita, and a dry preparation of either pumpkin or potatoes, this meal is best had mid-morning. The pooris come soft and luscious and the kachauris are crisp and crunchy. They are flavourful, full-bodied, and very, very satisfying. The most famous places to sample them in the city are Netram Ajay Kumar in Aminabad, and Bajpayee Kachauri Bhandar in Hazratgunj.

Kulfi faluda

Sweet after spicy and spicy after sweet — this is how a typical foodie in Lucknow describes a meal. And so, after kachauri comes kulfi. Served with bland, noodle-shaped faluda, topped with flavoured syrup, the kulfi here is rich, sweet, and laced with nuts. The faluda offsets the sweetness and the syrup adds seasonal flavours — rose, mango, saffron. The special thing about the kulfi here is that it is still made the traditional way inside a large earthen pot. It’s not only delicious but also eco-friendly. Saunter into any sweet shop and you will find their version of kulfi, but the best known shops are Prakash Kulfi in Aminabad and Chanakya in Boothnath Market.

Chaat

There is nothing a true-blue Lucknowi loves more than his chaat. And he has reasons to do so. Pani ke batashe, aloo ki tikki, nimbu ki matar, dahi chutney ke batashe, suhaal, palak ki chaat, the list is endless as are the flavours and textures. Whether it is the blandness of the mashed peas against the tang of the lemony jaljeera water, or the crispness of the fried potato patty against the softness of beaten curd, the textures will have you hooked and so will the flavours. Once you have tasted the chaat of Lucknow, you will be ruined forever. The most famous place to sample this: Shukla Chaat House in Hazratgunj.

Mithai

People in Lucknow take their sweets very seriously. So seriously, that the most expensive sweet here costs ₹36,000 a kilogram. In case you are wondering, then this pricey sweet is the famous Exotica made with pine nuts, saffron and gold and is found at the Chappan Bhog store. While that may be an aberration, there is no denying that the city is home to some of the most mouth-watering sweets in the region. Think delicate doodh ki barfi, robust motichoor laddoos, or the indigenous malai ki gilori, the sweets from Lucknow are famous worldwide, especially the latter. Shaped like paan and made with fresh malai (milk cream), the sweet is filled with crystallised sugar and nuts and garnished with silver varq (a thin sheet of real silver). This melt-in-your-mouth mithai defines the very core of the city — sweet, delicate, and unforgettable. You can find the most delectable malai paan at Ram Asrey in Hazratgunj.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 6:03:36 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/food/a-whiff-of-lacknowi-andaaz/article19967470.ece

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