It’s high time the lesser explored regional cuisines of the country get their due recognition. It’s not as if the most popular cuisine of U.P., the Awadhi Cuisine is easily available throughout the country (you barely get good Awadhi food in Delhi), still it’s making its way through and most importantly, efforts are being made to preserve the recipes. Another rich cuisine of U.P. – Rampuri cuisine is a lot less explored but not less fascinating than the Awadhi cuisine. A Rampur food festival is currently going on at Masala Art, Taj Palace. Earlier I got the opportunity to try the Rampuri cuisine at a recent event at the Belgian Embassy at New Delhi and I was surprised at the variety of dishes and the richness of the cuisine as a whole.
This cuisine initially drew influences from the Pashtun cuisine, i.e. the cuisine from Eastern Afghanistan and Western Pakistan, and over the period of time from Awadhi and Mughlai cuisine. It would not be wrong to say that Non Vegetarian food dominates this cuisine. The thing which separates this cuisine from Awadhi and other North Indian cuisines is the treatment of spices.
The Chefs who had come from Rampur explained me that for making starters, instead of directly churning the spices, they soak them in water for a few hours, dry them and then churn them. But the main course dishes are mainly cooked in ‘khada’ masalas.
Among the starters Kache Gosht ki Tikki had a great chewy texture similar to Chapli Kebab but the lack of seasoning and the spices gave a feeling of kebab being undercooked even though it wasn’t.
I tried three types of tikkas- Rampuri Hariyali Murgh Tikka, Macchi Anjeer Tikka and Paneer Baluchi Tikka. They were very similar to the tikkas that we get in Delhi, only difference was the spices used in marinating them. While the Chicken Tikka was delicately spiced and really tender, the Fish Tikka was extremely firm and the fish did not lose its texture.
While there were not much vegetarian options in the main course, the carnivore in me was excited to see a captivating variety of non veg dishes to choose from. I must say that the Mutton preparations, which the Rampur Cuisine boasts of, impressed me more than the chicken and the fish.
Gosht Taar Korma, Khash Khashi Kofte (Mutton Kofte) and the Saans-e-Dum Pulao (Mutton Biryani) were exceptional. The use of khus khus (dried poppy seeds) in the kofta elevated its taste and every bite of it was a pure delight. Taar Gosht was too rich and oily but where in India you get Mutton that’s less greasy? Biryani was as aromatic as the one we get in Lucknow and perfectly spiced. I belong to Lucknow but now it is really hard to tell which one I like more. Dal-e-Sultani was a dry urad dal preparation which my mother cooks at home and I loved the Rampuri version too.
Rampuris prepare a dessert called Gulathi which is similar to phirni but has a more nutty texture. The one served here was brilliant. Overall I would say that this festival is strictly for non vegetarians though some of the vegetarian dishes on offerare good too.
Disclaimer – This review was done on an invitation from the establishment. Views expressed in the review is entirely ours and without any bias. Pictures of the dishes are not the standard portions, they are sample portions.