The Rich and Delicious Awadhi Cuisine


Awadhi cuisine hails from the city of Nawabs, Lucknow. Lucknow is also the capital city of North Indian State Uttar Pradesh. Most of the dishes and cooking style of Lucknow is inspired from the Mughlas. The Awadhi cuisine includes both Vegetarian and Non-vegetarian delights prepared in exotic spices and garnished with dry fruits.

Dry fruits in the dishes symbolized the prosperity and were a sign of royalty. Mughals used a variety of spices in their cooking and it is cultivated in Awadhi Cuisine as well. The Chefs of Awadh transformed the traditional dastarkhwan (ceremonial dining spread) with elaborate dishes like kababs, kormas, kaliya, nahari-kulchas, zarda, sheermal, roomali rotis, parathas etc.

The most common dastarkhwan without which Awadhi cuisine is incomplete are :

  • Korma (braised meat in thick gravy)
  • salan (a gravy dish of meat or vegetable)
  • qeema (minced meat)
  • kababs (pounded meat fried or roasted over a charcoal fire)
  • bhujia (cooked vegetables)
  • dal
  • pasinda (fried slivers of very tender meat in gravy)
  • Rice is cooked with meat in the form in the form of a

– pulao
– chulao (fried rice) or
– served plain

  • There would also be a variety of rotis.
  • Deserts comprise

– gullati (rice pudding)
– kheer (milk sweetened and boiled with whole rice to a thick consistency)
– sheer brunj, (a rich, sweet rice dish boiled in milk)
– muzaffar (vermicelli fried in ghee and garnished with saffron)

Kakori Kabab
Ingredients :
Marinate :

  • Ghee: 3 Tablespoons
  • Chopped Onions: 1½ Cup
  • Minced Garlic: ½ Tablespoons
  • Chopped ginger: ½ Tablespoon
  • Ground Lamb: 1 Pound
  • Raw Papaya flesh mashed: 2 Tablespoons
  • Salt: ¼ teaspoon
  • Ground Cloves: ¼ teaspoon
  • Ground Cinnamon: ¼ teaspoon
  • Ground Cardamom: ¼ teaspoon
  • Cayenne ground: ½ teaspoon
  • Cumin Powder: ½ teaspoon
  • Black pepper ground: ½ teaspoon

Masala Mix

  • Egg: 1 beaten
  • Kewra water: 1 teaspoon
  • Besan: 2 Tablespoons

Baking :

  • Bamboo skewers soaked in water: 10
  • Method :

Marinate :

  • Heat Ghee in a Pan. Add Onions. Sauté Onion till lightly brown. Turn off heat.
  • We will use Food Processor in pulse mode to mix and grind the mixture.
  • Add browned onions, raw minced Garlic, and chopped ginger to Food processor. Process till its is almost a paste. Remember we are cooking for toothless person.
  • Add Papaya, Process in pulse mode.
  • Add Ground lamb. Process in pulse mode.
  • Transfer contents of food processor to a large mixing bowl
  • Mix spices. Cover and let it marinate at room temperature for 4 to six hours

Masala Mix :

  • After the mixture is marinated. Add Kewra, and Egg. Mix.
  • Sprinkle Besan and mix. You need to make make it like a soft bread dough for Chapati. Adjust the amount of Besan as needed.
  • Let mixture rest for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Knead again

Bake :

  • Cover each skewer with about ¼” thick mixture. It will look like a cigar that has been pierced with a skewer lengthwise
  • Preheat oven to 375º F. Bake for 25 minutes. Serve hot.

Navratna Korma
Ingredients :

  • 1 carrot-chopped
  • 1 cup cubed paneer and fried in oil/ghee
  • 3 beans-chopped
  • 1 apple-peeled and chopped
  • 1 potato-peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup- corn kernels
  • 8 cashews -roasted in ghee
  • 8 Almonds-roasted in ghee
  • 2 Tsp Raisins

For the Gravy:

  • 1 Big Onion-finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoon fresh cream
  • 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tsp Chilli powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • A pinch of turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tsp oil

Method :

  • Heat oil and saute onion and ginger-garlic paste until the onions become translucent.
  • Add the tomato puree,salt,sugar,chilli powder,turmeric powder and cook for a couple of mins.
  • Add the potatoes,carrots,beans ,corn and few tablespoons of water.Cover with lid and cook till the vegetables are tender.
  • Add milk and fresh cream and bring to boil.The gravy thickens .Sprinkle the garam masala and give a stir.
  • Add the fried paneer,nuts,raisins and apple. And remove from fire immediately.
  • Garnish with cream and chopped cilantro..

Mutton Biryani

  • 1/2 kg Mutton (cleaned and cut into pieces)
  • 2 cups Basmati Rice
  • Few flakes garlic
  • 3 tsp Coriander Powder
  • Dried coconut
  • 1 inch stick Cinnamon
  • 3 Green Chillies
  • 1 tsp Chilli Powder
  • 1 cup Onion (chopped)
  • 1 inch piece Ginger
  • 1 tsp Poppy Seeds
  • 3 Peppercorns Cloves
  • 3 Cardamoms Cloves
  • 1 cup Curd
  • 1/2 cup Onion
  • 2 Bay leaf
  • 8 tbsp Fat
  • Salt to taste


  • Marinate the meat in curd taken in a bowl.
  • Roast cardamom, cinnamon, peppercorns cloves. Make a fine powder.
  • Grind ginger, red chillies, green chillies, half the onions, garlic and dried kernel of the coconut.
  • Now heat fat in a pan. Add chopped onions and ground spices.
  • Fry until onions turn golden brown.
  • Now add meat and fry well. Add poppy seed powder.
  • Add salt and remaining curd. Cook till meat becomes tender.
  • Add powdered spices to it and remove from the flame.
  • Fry remaining onions in fat in a separate pan.
  • Add cloves and bay leaf.
  • Fry for few minutes and add rice.
  • Fry for another few minutes.
  • Put salt to taste and make the quantity of water double.
  • Remove from the flame when rice gets cooked and no moisture is left.
  • Arrange a part of cooked rice in a pan and sprinkle saffron water over it.
  • Place the meat over it and cover with rice layer once again.
  • Garnish with fried onions and nuts.
  • Mutton Biryani is ready.

Awadhi Chicken Korma

  • 1 kg boneless chicken without skin
  • 100 gm yoghurt
  • 20 gm ginger-garlic paste
  • 50 gm onion, fried till brown and then made into a paste
  • 50 gm cashew nut paste
  • 2 gm garam masala powder
  • Pinch of powdered green cardamom
  • 1/4 gm saffron
  • White pepper powder to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • 15 gms ( 3 teaspoon or to taste) yellow chilli powder
  • Few drops of Kewra water
  • 50 gm roasted gram flour powder
  • 25 ml cream
  • 5 gm chopped green coriander
  • 3 cloves
  • Pinch of nutmeg powder
  • 3 green cardamoms
  • 2 black cardamoms
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 bay leaves

Method :

  • Clean and cut the chicken into small pieces.
  • Brown the onions and cashew nut separately. Make a fine paste and keep aside in separate containers.
  • Wash and chop the green coriander leaves.
  • Heat the oil in a handi and add cloves, small cardamom, bay leaf and cinnamon stick and sauté till it starts to crackle.
  • Now add the ginger-garlic paste, chicken pieces and let it cook for five minutes.
  • Add the brown onion paste, roasted gram flour, salt and white pepper. Cook till the chicken is almost cooked.
  • Add to it the yellow chilli powder, garam masala powder, and the beaten curd and cook for a few seconds.
  • Add the cashew nut paste and cream. Before serving add the saffron and a pinch of nutmeg and cardamom powder.
  • Garnish it with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot.