A Royal Awadhi Meal At Novotel Juhu, Mumbai

We Indians are no strangers to the Mughlai cuisine what with those creamy, rich, laden with dry fruits and ghee dishes. And as much as we later repent eating those and putting on more kilos than we can shed, I’ve never seen anyone every saying anything close to a ‘no’ to eating these delicacies. Oh well, I am no different.

In this gloomy rainy weather of Mumbai, when Novotel invited me to come be part of their on-going Awadhi food festival (till 23rd July), I found it hard to refuse (of course!). So on an evening which had brought Mumbai to a standstill of a sort, I made my way to Novotel Juhu (to be honest, it’s proximity from home ensured that unlike others I didn’t reach there exhausted). Mumbai is as famous for it’s torrential rains as for it’s vada-pav! 

Known for its royal food with delectable flavours, Awadhi cuisine has a particular style of cooking that brings out the real essence of the delicacies. The bawarchis of Awadh were the ones who first brought the concept of the ‘dum’ style of cooking or the art of cooking over a slow fire. It is this combination of slow cooking with perfect ingredients that brings the flavours.

The Awadhi cuisine is originally from Uttar Pradesh’s Awadh region, which is a part of Lucknow now. Immensely influenced by the Mughal cooking techniques, it has similarities to the cuisines of Persia, Kashmir and Hyderabad. The liberal use of ingredients like mutton, paneer an rich spices and dry fruits make it rich and flavoursome. There’s always an underlying sweetness to this cuisine.

History says that the Nawabs considered cooking as a distinct form of art and were rather touchy about it and hence you’ll find that most dishes have an artistic touch to it.

The hotel’s able chefs along with guest chef, Shamsher Singh had prepared an authentic Awadhi spread with galauti kebabs, palak patta chaat, aloo gul gulistaan, Hazrat Mahal paneer, dal makhani, lauki mussallam, to name a few.

Ending on a sweet note (PC: The Pressured Cooker)

One must respect this home grown cuisine that has been polished and refined over the centuries and has satiated gourmet kings, Nawabs and the common man in equal measure, and would emerge without a doubt on the peak of perfection.

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