TThis cookbook lists 10 Awadhi curries, greatly simplified, so that a first time cook can easily cook them. The following recipes are listed in this cookbook:
1.: Boondi Raita (Yogurt dip)
2.: Baingan ka raita ( Eggplant yogurt dip)
3.: Nawabi Guchhi (Rich Mushroom curry)
4.: Akbari Sabji ( Mixed vegetables with nuts and raisins)
5.: Aloo Tamatar Shola (Potato - tomato curry)
6.: Paneer Korma (Cottage Cheese curry)
7.: Lachcha Paratha
8.: Warqui Paratha ( Rich layered flatbread )
9.: Muglai Paneer (Cottage cheese sour curry)
10.: Sultani Dal (Rich lentil curry)
Today's Lucknow and surrounding regions were a province of the ancient Hindu Kosala kingdom. After Lord Rama's coronation, it is believed they were gifted by Him to Lakshmana and was called Lakshmanpur. It fell to the Moguls in the 1100's and came to be called Awadh / Oudh (probably from Ayodhya, the Kosala capital). It was administered by a series of Nawabs (governors). It later became a separate kingdom with the support of the British and was ruled by a succession of Kings (Haider and Shahs).
The princely Awadhi cuisine is characterized by the use of expensive spices (cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, saffron), nuts, dried fruits, milk, cream and the choicest cuts of meat. These are used to cook up rich, mild, slow cooked curries. The presentation is equally flamboyant, with the use of wafer thin, edible varq (silver and gold leaf).
Use of deep fried onion and fried onion paste, prolonged slow & gentle cooking in sealed clay pots, extensive use of grilling are all hallmarks of Awadhi cuisine. Flavouring by asafetida & fried black mustard, common in Indian cuisine is completely avoided. Butter / ghee / matured mustard oil are used for cooking. Cooking rice with meat / vegetables (Biriyani) & making rich layered parathas are techniques perfected by Bawarchis (Royal cooks) who served these at the Dastarkhwan ( Awadhi feast).
Infusing a smoky flavour: Place a betel leaf on the curry. Place a small live charcoal on it. Pour a spoon of ghee and keep the curry covered for 10 minutes.