Nawabi flavours on the platter

Taste the delicacies straight from the kitchen of Rampuri Nawabs at Eros, Nehru Place, until November 18

If you want to know about a place's history, then the best way to do it is tasting its food. One such place I always heard about is Rampur (a small district in Uttar Pradesh), but never got a chance to visit or taste the much-talked about Nawabi cuisine it serves.

Rampuri food festival organised at Blooms–Eros, Nehru Place, gave me an opportunity to dig my spoon in the flavourful Nawabi Platter, which had everything that a foodie like me would crave for.

None other than Masterchef Suroor Khan, who is a specialist from the region, served us the food while enlightening us with secrets of the cuisine.

"Our Rampur is very famous for its Nawabi cuisine," he said while serving us the first starter 'Murg Sondha' (Char grilled chicken with added whole pounded spices) – which melted in my mouth as soon as I took the first bite. The secret of this soft texture is 'slow cooking', Chef revealed.

Other veg and non-veg starters included 'Machchi Anjeer Tikka' (river sole fish marinated with figs, aromatic spices of Rampur), 'Sabz Shami Kabab' (green vegetables mashed in curd and chana dal), and 'Paneer Baluchi Tikka' (cottage cheese Marinated with apricot, cashew nuts, brown onion paste, char grilled).

Further adding to my knowledge about the food of that area, Masterchef Suroor Khan informed that post-1858, Rampur rose in prominence as the 'varsity' for most of the royal khansamas from the Mughal and other royal courts. This perhaps explains why Rampuri cuisine seems to be influenced by so many cuisines – Mughlai, Afghani, Lucknowi, Kashmiri and Awadhi.

Then, I was introduced to main course, which had dishes like 'Murgh Kundan Kaliyan' (Rampur spiced marinated chicken with bones, slow-cooked with gravy yellow chilli and ginger and garlic and finished with cream), 'Tar Korma' (Signature Mutton dish, straight from the Royal Kitchen of Rampur, slow cooked lamb in rich marrow, gravy) in the non-vegetarian list. While for the vegetarians, Chef Suroor brought unique recipes like 'Baingan Achari' (Brinjal marinated and cooked in tangy gravy) 'Satrangi Subzi' (Sauteed vegetables, fresh herbs, tempered with home ground spices), 'Kadai paneer' (Dice of Paneer thick gravy of onion and tomato punch of Rampuri spices)

'Saans-e-Dum Pulao' (traditional preparation of Rampur, basmati rice, lamb/chicken prepared as a Yakhni Pulao) was also on the list, which is popularly known as Moradabadi Biryani.

It was interesting to note that almost every dish had a peculiar yellow tint to it. Explaining the reason behind, Chef shared, "In our region, yellow chilly is generally used rather than the red chilly, (which comes from Uttarakhand)."

To end the meal on a sweet note, a much-heard but never tried dish – 'Mirch Ka Halwa' – was served, which undoubtedly stole the show. Timings: 12 pm – 3 pm and 7 pm – 11:00 pm

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