Lucknawi Heaven: A Platter of Awadhi food

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Lucknawi Heaven is a charm that never ceases, be it architectural marvel, rich literature or Khatirdari(hospitality). And since it is the city of Nawabs, so caught the fancy of many poets, songwriters and connoisseurs of history. It saw my taste buds, too, to taste the platter of Lucknawi Heaven. It was a bright sunny day, and my Air B&B owner served me excellent gobi paratha as breakfast. After a delicious breakfast, I took a cab to Hazratganj.

Lucknawi Heaven: A Platter of Awadhi food

Shukla Tea Stall

A modest tea stall in Hazratganj sells Irani Chai, bun Makhan, Samosa, Pakoda and Poha. Looking at the crowd, I realized Chai is an emotion; whether you are happy or sad, in love or distress, Chai is the magic potion you need. Well, I ordered a Kulhad Chai & Samosa with some Jalebi. 

Lucknawi Heaven: A Platter of Awadhi food
Shukla Tea stall

The Chai here is made using decoction- in a massive vessel with Tea decoction, which they pour into glasses and top up with milk. The tea had cardamom, which I was not fond of, but the taste was flavourful & smell of cardamom was manageable. The Samosa was round in shape and famously known as Gol Samosa, but the jalebi was soggy. Overall a perfect kick you need to start your day.

Lucknawi Heaven: A Platter of Awadhi food
Samosa & Tea

It is believed that some of the best, most giant Awadhi culinary gems came out from the kitchens of Nawab Asa-Ud Daula khansamah. Since the nawab was in no mood to let this come between him and his love for good food. So I walked towards Gol Darwaz oldest part of Chowk. 

Rahim’s Kulcha Nihari

A 125-year-old restaurant in old Lucknow is a food paradise for non-vegetarians. What Tunday’s is to kebabs and Idrees is to biryani, Rahim is to Nalla Nihari. It is located in a narrow lane of Akbari gate in Chowk, which has grown in size over time to include a large seating area with air-conditioning.

Lucknawi Heaven: A Platter of Awadhi food
Rahim Kulcha & Nihari

The place is filled throughout the day; people wait in line for Nihari, where the meat is served in a thick, flavourful gravy and cooked overnight with double Kulcha. There are only two options Paaye ki Nahari or Gosht ki Nahari. And trust me, Nihari tops the menu & it’s soul-filling.

Lucknawi Heaven: A Platter of Awadhi food
Mutton Nihari

The aroma of food in the Chowk whiffs along with the airflow and makes to savour it. So I strolled up to Ram Asrey to try Malai Ki Gilori.

Ram Asrey

The establishment is 200 years old and serves various types of Halwa, but it is especially famous for its Malai Ki Gillori. It is unquestionably the most praised sweet of the Lucknawi Nawabs.

Lucknawi Heaven: A Platter of Awadhi food
Malai Ki Gillori

Now, what is Malai Ki Gillori- it’s sweet. Mishri, dry fruits and cardamom are wrapped inside a sheet of malai with edible silver placed on top of it. Trust me; it was Yummy!

Highlights: Halwa, Malai Ki Gillori, and other sweets.

Location : Chowk (Baan vali Gali)

Cost: 350 INR for 2 Pax.

Biryani and Lucknow have a great story stitched in the past. India is united and divided by the varieties of biryanis. In the Lucknow style of biryani cooking, the rice and the meat are separately cooked and then put together in the final stage. This helps in perfect cooking and infusing authentic flavours. I did try Irdi’s Biryani, but I needed clarification on Lalla’s biryani and Wahid’s biryani.

Wahid’s Biryani 

It is an Awadhi dish made with 55 spices, rice and meat. Wahid Biryani was established in the year 1955. And till now, its Aroma and Taste have been unchanged. Hence I ordered a quarter plate for taste.

Lucknawi Heaven: A Platter of Awadhi food
Wahid Biryani

The meat was soft and tender, with mildly fragrant rice, which was long and moist. And the mild aroma with perfect seasoning was everything I wanted. I wanted more! But my stomach was full.

Highlights: Biryani, Mughlai dishes, tandoori.

Location: Old Nazirabad Rd, Khayali Ganj, Aminabad, Lucknow,

Cost: 350 INR for 2 Pax

Well, winters in Lucknow means Makhan Malai, also known as Nimish. A mouth-watering sweet dish that tantalizes all taste buds. I decided to walk down to Chowk from Aminabad, an excellent way to digest my biryani.

Gol Darwaza- Nimish

About 12-15 vendors sold this item, and I needed to figure out whom to go to. Since all of the products looked similar. Therefore I chose to eat at the guy who had the least amount of Makhan left – assuming he was good, so he sold faster than others. It’s called Daulat ki chat in Delhi. 

Lucknawi Heaven: A Platter of Awadhi food
Malai Makkhan

The texture is light and fluffy but incredibly creamy. It is an intensely flavoured dessert with thick Malai, saffron, cardamom, pistachio, and rose water. Then chandi ka warq’ is used to cover this beautiful dish. It is an irresistible seasonal blessing that Lucknow people have.

Highlights: Makkhan Malai, Milk

Location: Gol Darwaza Chowk, Lucknow.

Cost: 60 INR per plate, 350 INR for half Kg.

After a long day of the walk, food hopping, and monument expenditure, it was time to wrap up. Hence I decided to pack my dinner & ride back to the hotel. 

The Mughal’s Dastarkhwan

 It is the right place to sample authentic Mughlai fare from Awadh. This restaurant is a carnivore’s delight to enjoy a wide array of non-vegetarian dishes at a pocket-friendly rate.

Lucknawi Heaven: A Platter of Awadhi food

This Mughal Dastarkhwan at Lalbagh, opposite Islamia College, is the oldest in town. Hence I visited the restaurant to order Chicken Tava Masala and Roomali roti. The aroma filled my nostrils, confirming it was a lip-smacking Lucknawi dish.

Highlights: Chicken Kalimirichi, Tawa Chicken Masala, Mutton Galouti Kabab, Seekh Kebabs, Mutton Biriyani, Chicken Afghani, Shahi Tukda

Location: 125-1-2-3, Ground Floor & Lower Ground Floor, Building, Near Quinton Road, Ward Jagdish Chandra Bose, Lalbagh, Lucknow

Cost: 1200 INR for 2 Pax.

Lucknawi cuisine is undoubtedly a ” paradise for foodies”.You name it from the famous Tunday Kebabs to Sheermals, or from Malai ki Gillori to the toothsome Prakash ki Kulfi, and they serve it with Nazakat and Tahzeeb. I carried back Makkhan Malai as a token of remembrance.


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