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The state of Uttar Pradesh at the north west region of India, offers a vast diversity in food ranging from Banarasi paan, Agra ka petha, Lucknow’s galawat ke kawab, Lucknawi biryani, Mathura ke pede to name a few. The state largely offers delicacies of Awadh and Mughlai dishes which form two predominant cuisines of the fifth largest state of India. Owing to the similarity in the cooking techniques with other northern states this cuisine offers both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Use of spices, saffron, cardamom, cream, milk lends richness to the delectable dishes of the cuisine.

 
The Hindu community in the state is primarily vegetarian and their foods include specials like puri-aloo, stuffed parantha, ‘nemona’ a dish made with green peas, pyaaz ki kachori and saag petha which is a dish made with potatoes and spinach. The Muslims of the state bring the non-vegetarian fare to the table with delicacies like ‘dum’ biryani, kebabs of lamb and chicken, lamb curries and well known dishes like Mughlai Chicken, Kakori Kebab, Pasanda Kebab and rich, spicy kormas as well as a host of leavened clay oven baked breads like naan and taftan. Other famous foods include snacks like chaat, samosa and pakora. Traditional laying of food on the table called Dastarkhwan, is seen on special occasions in most homes of this region.

Regions

Awadh: Awadhi Cuisine can be experienced in the city of Lucknow, a city with glorious history and stories of erstwhile rulers. The cuisine consists of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes which are prepared using few but uncommon and exotic spices like saffron. ‘Dum Pukht’ style of cooking is one of the distinctive features of this cuisine, which involves cooking in large pots called handi and sealing them to let the ingredients cook over slow fire for long duration, giving the dishes a distinct flavour. Apart from this, marinating meat to enhance the flavour of the dishes is another special cooking technique of the Awadhi cuisine. This cuisine also boasts of several vegetarian dishes unlike Mughlai food, where vegetarian dishes are more or less variants of meat based dishes.

Mughal: Mughlai cuisine developed in the royal kitchens of the Mughals influenced the way meat dishes were prepared in the state. Mughlai food is very rich and made with exotic spices, dried fruit and nuts. The dishes are prepared with rich ingredients like milk and cream with spices to make the dishes both delicious and spicy. The cuisine is strongly influenced by the Persian cuisine of Iran and the meat is heavy and fragrant. Some of signature dishes include Shami Kebab, Mughlai Kofta, Kakori Kebab and Lucknawi biryani.

Produce

Sugar cane is an important cash crop and sugar mills which produce gur or jaggery are common throughout the state. Rice, wheat, maize, pulses, bengal gram, pea, barley, mango crops are commonly grown in the state. The important cash crops of the region are sugarcane, potato, wheat, rice and oil seeds.
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Common spices/seasonings used in
Uttar Pradesh cuisine
Common Vegetables used in
Uttar Pradesh cuisine
Green Peas: Rich in protein these pod vegetable are one of the most common vegetable used in India. They are used in curries, dry side dishes and pulao.
Okra or Lady Finger: This is a pod vegetable from the mallow family. Bought green and firm, it is a seasonal summer staple in Punjab. It is prepared as a dry dish, some homes sliver the okra, deep fry and season with chillies to make a crispy side dish with meals, another common way to serve is by stuffing with masala and sautéing.
Pigeon Pea: In India, split pigeon peas (toor or arhar dal) are an important source of protein and B vitamins and are consumed almost throughout the country. This dal is used to make famous South Indian preparations like sambar and rasam. Toor dal tadka is eaten either with chapatti or rice in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
Potato: Potatoes are a very popular food source. They are a good source of vitamin B6, vitamin C and also contain a variety of phytonutrients that have antioxidant activity.
Spinach: Spinach contains an impressive range of active substances which are indispensable to the body. In its structure we find mineral salts (sodium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sulphur, iron, zinc, manganese, iodine, copper), vitamins C & A, Folic Acid, chlorophyll.
Famous Food

Kachori: This is a round flattened ball made of flour, having a mixture of yellow moong dal or Urad Dal or vegetables like potato, besan and spices like red chilli powder, coriander and dry nuts stuffed in it. This is then deep fried and served with any chutney or potato curry.

Kofta: These are deep fried balls which are added to a curry base. Vegetables (grated or boiled), paneer, minced meat, soya granules are few of the options used to make the base of the Kofta balls.

Nemona: This is an easy vegetarian dish made with mashed and at times whole peas. Cauliflower and potatoes are added to the dish along with spices like turmeric, red chillies, garam masala and tomatoes as a souring agent.

Palak Paneer: This dish is a thick vegetable preparation by adding cubes of cottage cheese to boiled and pureed spinach with a selection of masalas and served with hot Indian breads.

Samosa: This is a triangle shaped deep fried savoury snack usually filled with spiced potatoes as the base with an array of spices and flavourings to enhance the taste. Onions, peas and sometimes minced meat or chicken are also used to create variation. Green or imli chutney are generally served with samosa.

Non Veg. Dishes

Kakori Kebab: The famous kebab from the ‘Kakori’ village is a smooth, juicy and finer version of the seekh kebab and was created by the gourmet cooks of the Nawab.

Murg Mussallam:
This is a whole chicken cooked over a low fire for a long period of time; the chicken is stuffed with rice and various other spices. This dish is served on important occasions.

Nihari: Nihari a favourite from the state is a popular breakfast item. Cooked in mustard oil with mutton or beef it is one dish providing wholesome nutrition to get one through the day.

Pasanda Kebab: Pasanda usually made of mutton involves beating to flatten the boneless meat and marinating it with spices and seasonings. It is then put in skewers and cooked either as such or in vessels.

Shab Deg: This dish is influenced by the Kashmiri cuisine and blends turnips, mutton and special spices like kashmiri ver. The use of saffron and slow fire cooking overnight gives a distinct flavour and aroma to the dish.

Shami Kebab: These round shaped kebabs are made using very finely minced meat and special spices giving an extremely soft texture to the dish.

Breads
Laccha Parantha: This is a layered flatbread, it can be clay oven baked or prepared on a ‘tawa’ or girdle. It is usually made with wheat flour. It is rolled out, made into a spiral and roll again to create the layers.

Naan:
This is a leavened bread made with white flour dough. It is cooked in a ‘tandoor’ on a coal fire and served with curries and gravies.

Poori: This is usually made with whole wheat flour with melted ghee rubbed in the flour and kneaded to fairly stiff dough with water. This dough is divided into small balls, rolled into small rounds and deep fried in oil.

Roomali Roti: This unique bread shaped using special hand skills appears like a huge handkerchief. The uniqueness of the bread owes not only to the way it’s rolled but also to the way it’s cooked on the special convex iron griddle.

Sheermal: This rich flatbread is made using flour, milk, fat and saffron to give it a distinct aroma and flavour.
Sweets

Jalebi: A batter of white flour and water is piped into spirals over hot oil or ghee, fried and soaked in sugar syrup.

Kulfi:
is the Indian version of ice cream except that it is not emulsified in the same way. This frozen dairy dessert is made with traditional flavours like pista, saffron (kesar), cardamom and malai (cream), it is now available in fruit and other variants too like mango and paan.

Rasmalai: Rasmalai consists of sweetened flattened balls of paneer soaked in malai (clotted cream) flavoured with cardamom and saffron.

Rice Kheer: Served cold or hot this rice pudding is made by boiling rice with milk and sugar till it reaches a thick consistency. Cardamom and saffron can be used to enhance the flavour along with nuts like cashewnut, pistachios or almonds to make it rich.

Sheer Korma: This sweet dish has long thin vermicelli strands first fried lightly in ‘ghee’ then cooked in milk and sugar. Saffron, dates and dry fruits lend a warm taste to the dish which is served usually in festive occasions.

Chaach: This flavoured drink using buttermilk or yoghurt as the base is made by blending either of them till a smooth consistency is achieved.

Sharbat: These are fruit and flower extracts that are diluted with water and enjoyed in summer months, made with traditional and exotic ingredients like Khus, rose, lemon and even Hibiscus (Gurahl).

Beverages

Filter Coffee: is a sweet milky coffee coffee with a distinct flavour due to the special mixing and filtration process.

Masala Paal (masala milk):
this is also commonly served and is sweetened milk with aromatic spices

Recipes
ALOO MATAR SAMOSA  

ALOO MATAR SAMOSA

 
Spicy, rich and utterly mouth watering, this all time favorite snack will make your hugely popular and is sure going to be a great delight at your party.  
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BADAM KHEER  

BADAM KHEER

 
This rich and heart warming dessert is complete with the goodness of milk, almonds and rice. It is an ideal dessert, good for all occasions.  
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CHICKEN SEEKH KABAB  

CHICKEN SEEKH KABAB

 
A mouth watering chicken dish with low fat and calorie contents.  
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DRY URAD DAL  

DRY URAD DAL

 
Rich & dry, this lentil preparation is an ideal accompaniment for curried vegetable dishes or simply enjoyed with crisp Indian breads!  
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GUJIYA  

GUJIYA

 
An Indian sweet with a rich filling, served for special occasions and festivals.  
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KALAKAND  

KALAKAND

 
A delicious Indian sweet that can be easily prepared at home with milk and paneer.  
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KALE MOTI BIRYANI  

KALE MOTI BIRYANI

 
This jewel of a recipe, prepared with Bengal gram, stands out amongst the various dum pukht delicacies.  
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KESAR ELAICHI KULFI  

KESAR ELAICHI KULFI

 
The royal taste of this chilled dessert has thrilled food lovers for ages.  
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MALAI LADDOO  

MALAI LADDOO

 
These rich and creamy ladoos are so delicious that they will leave you asking for more.  
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MASALA BHINDI IN CURD  

MASALA BHINDI IN CURD

 
Spicy bhindi in refreshing curd, a great combination to tantalise the taste buds.  
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MEETHI LASSI  

MEETHI LASSI

 
A chilled and creamy yoghurt drink to keep you cool on those hot summer afternoons.  
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NAAN  

NAAN

 
Crisp Indian flatbread traditionally served straight out of the oven with Indian curries  
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PANEER MAKHANI  

PANEER MAKHANI

 
This Punjabi favourite is an ideal side dish for a winter meal. Complete with wholesome cottage cheese and cream, this hot and spicy preparation is rich and delicious.  
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PAPRI CHAAT  

PAPRI CHAAT

 
A popular north Indian fast food that has crispy papris served with potatoes, chillies, yoghurt and hot and sweet chutney.  
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RICE KHEER  

RICE KHEER

 
A nutritious rice dessert with the goodness of milk.  
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SHEERMAL  

SHEERMAL

 
A saffron flavoured traditional flatbread that is the perfect accompaniment for savoury, spicy curries and a good choice of breads for parties and occasions.  
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VEGETABLE BIRYANI  

VEGETABLE BIRYANI

 
Perfect for meals. This biryani is both flavoursome and fragrant yet vegetarian. The addition of coconut milk adds a hearty dimension to this dish.  
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