Eat your heart Awadh: Kebabs from the streets of Lucknow to Chennai

Their dorra kebab, a lost recipe of the Awadhi cuisine, has vanilla essence, sandalwood and other herbs. The dish looked very appetising and was served with a great display. However, it fails to suit all palates because of its subtle spices.
Eat your heart Awadh: Kebabs from the streets of Lucknow to Chennai

CHENNAI: As you walk down the streets of Lucknow, the sound of oil sizzling and people placing orders at food streets create a melodious cacophony. The heat of the tandoor gently breezing over your face as you walk past kebab stalls tease your senses. If you wish to experience authentic street kebabs in Lucknow, The Raintree Hotel at St Mary’s Road is the spot.

Above Sea Level by The Raintree Hotel is organising ‘Lucknow ki Galiyan, a food festival featuring some of the lost, forgotten, and loved dishes of Lucknow. Some of the signature dishes as a part of the festival are shami kebab, galouti kebab, dorra kebab, chapli kebab, zaitooni paneer tikka, rajma galouti, bakarkhani, murgh musallam and lots more.

For starters, we tried their chapli kebab. This flat kebab, was perfectly minced meat fused with even and the right amount of spices. The taste of garlic added a kick to the kebab. The texture was slightly different from regular kebabs, but nevertheless, did nothing to bring down the taste of the dish. Their galouti kebab exceeded expectations and lived up to its name. The flavourful meat melts in your mouth, bringing out the essence of native Awadhi spices.

Their dorra kebab, a lost recipe of the Awadhi cuisine, has vanilla essence, sandalwood and other herbs. The dish looked very appetising and was served with a great display. However, it fails to suit all palates because of its subtle spices.

Their seekh kebab was comforting. The dish was seasoned differently and very obviously did not follow the generic method of making seekh kebabs as the meat was softer and mushy. For vegetarians and paneer lovers, zaitooni paneer tikka is a dish you should not miss. The paneer is stuffed with a tangy olive mixture that adds an extra zing to the outer coating of condiments.

Their soya reshmi, which imitates tries to imitate your average street soya chaap fails miserably. This creamy, soft dish was so for all the wrong reasons. It had a very unsettling aftertaste and not even chutney could save the dish. The chutneys or sides served with the kebabs are – mint chutney, mango chutney and apple chutney. The mango chutney was very versatile and went along with all the dishes really well.

As palate-cleanser, we were given gulabi kahwa tea. The tea had garam masala, rose petals, pistachios and other ingredients as part of kahwa tea. The tea was a no-go and would definitely not recommend it.

Their breads are definitely the highlight of their menu for their originality in taste. Their bakarkhani is so good that it can be eaten as is without gravy. This sweetbread was perfectly made with the right amount of sweetness and herbs. The bakarkhani went really well with their rohila lazez asharfian. Rohila lazez asharfian, stuffed bottle gourd spiced gravy was creamy and also went well with all the breads.

Their rumali roti went well with mutton chap. The mutton chap or chop is spiced curd-based lamb gravy. For a different kick of flavour, you can try adding the mango chutney along with the rumali roti. Their murgh musallam, a chicken gravy went well with both bakarkhani and their badami shirmal.

Their desserts were the spotlight of the menu. Their malai ki gilori is a dish made from settled cream. The cream is filled with dry fruits, mawa, rose water and kewra. The dish initially tasted of burnt milk but gives out this phenomenal after-taste. The kulfi falooda was very comforting and delicious. The shahi tukda was pretty decent and was slightly too sweet.

The range of kebabs is wild with vegetarian options as well. The portions are very filling, while the dishes absolutely win at taste, piquancy and flavour. The festival ends on September 3.

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