Awadhi cuisine originally belongs to the ‘City of Nawabs’ ie Lucknow, capital city of the state U.P. It forms a very important and intrinsic part of the rich culture and heritage which the city holds till now. The richness of the cuisine lies not only in the various variety of its vast spread but also in the ingredients used in the preparation like Mutton & Paneer and spices like Cardamom and Saffron. In fact a lot depends upon the style, method and technique of cooking as well like ‘Dum Cooking’, which involves cooking over slow fire. Awadh’s Gourmet cooks were actually the inventor of Dum Cooking method of preparing the dishes.
Radisson Blu, Paschim Vihar, New Delhi has made it possible for the Delhites to savour the flavour of this magnificent cuisine in Delhi itself without covering miles by hosting an Awadhi Food Festival by the name of “JASHN -e -AWADH” at their Indian restaurant ‘INDYAKI’.
Dr. Ashish Chopra, a renowned food historian and Dr.Izzat Hussain,a Unani practioner are the brains behind this gala festival. Dr. IZZAT HUSSAIN, who is a direct decadent of Nawabs Wajid Ali Shah,the last Nawab of Awadh has specially flew down to Delhi from Lucknow for the festival where he is presenting Classic dishes and secret recipes using Unani medicinal herbs and spices. He aims at providing a real treat to the senses and health of ones body and soul.
We started the festival with a saffron based welcome drink first “Sharbat e Jaffran” which was very refreshing in taste.
Then in starters we had Izzati kebab, fine mutton mince preparation and Izzati kebab veg, made up of Rajma fine paste ( kidney beans), generally known as Galawati kebab too but here it was prepared with a twist by Dr. IZZAT using his medicinal value touch which melts in your mouth immediately which is why was named on his name. Machli Talatilli was next on our plate which was a deep fried fish in a spicy marinade covered with white sesame seeds, it was really a perfect fish snack then later came Paneer peepli, was a cottage cheese barbecued stuff having mild flavours of the aromats used. Undoubtedly the Izzati Kebabs and fish talatilli topped the list of starters.
Murg Shahi Qurma, Nawabi Zaffrani Qurma Murg Tamatar luqma were the inclusions in the non veg mains category. But Murg Shahi Qurma and Nawabi Zaffrani Qurma were the highly delectable where the chicken used in Murg Shahi Qurma and mutton used in Nawabi Zaffrani Qurma were of extremely good quality nice tender and succulent which is the first thing I look for in any non veg. dish and the most amazing thing to mention is that not even a single drop of water has been used in the preparation in fact the gravy part was made with the help of milk giving a thick consistency to the dishes. In veg options we tried Paneer subz pyaz and Achari nadru which were again quite contrast in flavours from each other still tastefull. Paneer pyaz subz was a mild dish comprising simply of paneer (cottage cheese ),Spring onion and white peeper as the ingredients and incorporated milk to form the gravy part whereas the Achari nadru a lotus root dish was a blast of flavors in terms of spices used generally the ones which we use in making Pickles .
Mutton Biryani & Kathal Biryani(Jack fruit ) were simply amazing in taste where the flavours of the aromats were properly infused in it and was going very well along with the Kheera ka doogh ie raita made up of cucumber and curd.
In Breads, IZZAT KI ROTI needs a special mention because of the reason and the logic which lies behind its creation by Dr. IZZAT HUSSAIN. It comprises of multi grain flour which is kneaded in milk along with green chillies, green coriander leaves and carom seeds imparting a very unique flavour which acts in easy digestion as well.
The ending of the Jashn e Awadh food festival was done on a sweet note by relishing Shahi Chena Kheer and Akhrot ka Halwa both of them were divine in their on way but for me the Akhrot ka Halwa was the highlight in the sweet category.
The festival actually provides a perfect melange of gastronomical delight with a plethora of Awadhi flavours in true sense. It is a must visit recommendation to one and all but for those who actually have not been able to attend the festival, no need to get disappointed as you can relish these flavours in their specially crafted buffet at Indyaki restaurant.