The land of Awadh has forever been known as the breeding ground for some of the most intricate, complex and sumptuous cuisines to be found all over the Subcontinent. Deriving from a wide array of influences, the history of Awadhi cuisine is full of lore ranging from epic one-up contests between royals to startling displays of showmanship and artistry in the culinary domain. Stories of noblemen playing culinary pranks on their monarch to humongous salaries being paid to chefs for meals prepared on every six months abound the annals of Awadhi history, and Awadhi Desserts, Mithais & intricate sweetmeats is no exception to this glorious saga of culinary excellence.
From Bengali Sweets to North Indian Mithais, Awadh has long been a melting pot of incredible desserts owing to its syncretic Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb. This makes one wonder, what were some of the most popular desserts from the courts of the erstwhile Nawabs of Awadh?
Here we discuss 5 delectable preparations enjoyed by Awadhi royalty and nobility from yore –
- Kali Gajar ka Halwa
Prepared from the highly nutritious Black carrots during the chilling winter months, this succulent delight consists of steeping finely grated black carrots in Milk, Khoya, Cardamom, Saffron & other fragrant ingredients, then cooking it gently on a slow flame until it is rich and aromatic. Topped with Dry Fruits, Khoya & Silver Foil, this preparation is a warm hug of sweet goodness during the chilly winter evening along the banks of the Gomti.
- Malai ki Gilori
This drool-worthy delicacy is prepared with khoya, mishri and dry fruits which might be blended collectively and encrusted with a skinny layer of malai. Malai ki gilori is historically served with a coating of some silver vark together with a slight addition of rose and kewra water. It is said to have been prepared for an Awadhi Royal who rued losing his teeth a he couldn’t enjoy his favourite Paan ki Giloris anymore. His chef, always loyal and loving of his master, prepared this delicacy and created a legacy that lasts to this day.
- Malai Makhan
This unique dessert is popular during the winter months – because it so light, so delicate and so fragile that it can ONLY be prepared during the cooler seasons, as it melts in the heat of the summer. Prepared by whisking saffron milk enriched with dry fruit, cardamom, kewra, and a myriad of other ingredients until a light foam is formed on top, this unique dessert has been historically produced and enjoyed in the Awadh region for centuries!
Persian & North West Frontier cuisines have influenced the Awadhi culinary tradition tremendously, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the rich, fragrant sweet goodness of Zarda. A preparation of sweetened rice flavoured with rich saffron, cardamom, kewra and topped subtly with slivered almonds, cashews & pistachios; this delicacy is still enjoyed in a traditional Awadhi Waleeme ki Dawat, Iftaars & so much more.
- Kulfi Falooda
While the Kulfi isn’t intrinsically Lucknowi, the way it is prepared in Lucknow is probably one of the most unique, succulent & refreshingly delicious all over India. Kulfi is a traditional Indian Ice cream flavoured with saffron, kewra, dry fruits & other rich ingredients. In the Lucknowi tradition, it is often served with Rice Vermicelli noodles sometimes flavoured with saffron known as Falooda. These fine noodles add a soft and succulent texture along with an unsweetened taste o balance the cloying sweetness of the Kulfi ice cream, making it Lucknow’s favourite munchy during the scorching summers.
Which one of these is your favourite? Drop a comment to let us know – and visit our shop page to order the sweet delicacy of your choosing that you know you’re craving right now!