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Friday, August 24, 2007

About awadh and its cuisine

Awadh was ancient name for present Lucknow and surrounding regions, capital of Uttar Pradesh in North India. Left is a map of erst-while Awadh, obtained from Archaeological Survey Department of the Government, which was issued by the Awadh Imperial Court in the year 1849.
"Shab-Deg" literally a mutton preparation slow cooked through the night in a vessel
The only book, available on the cuisine of this region, "Dastarkhwan-e-Awadh" describes the history and cultural roots of the Awadh cuisine of a bygone era of gracious living. The Nawabs of Awadh were renowned for their extravagance and patronage of the best courtesans, craftsmen and cooks.
Bhul-bhulayya : an old building of Lucknow
Like the internationally acclaimed dance form of Kathak, the exquisite ‘chikan’ embroidery, the cuisine of Awadh is famous for its "nafaasat" and "nazaakat" (delicateness), achieved through a magical blending of spices, slow fire cooking, and its harmony with the seasons of nature.
"Dastarkhwan" literally means a meticulously laid-out ceremonial dining spread. It is customary in the Awadh region for three generations to sit around and share the Dastarkhwan. Laden with the finest and the most varied repertoire of the ‘Bawarchis’ (cooks), the Dastarkhwan of the ‘Roessa’ (the rich) were called ‘Khasa’ (special). This book presents the cornucopia of recipes from the ‘Khasa’ category.