The culinary delights of Uttar Pradesh take travellers and wanderlust to an aromatic trail. From the snaky lanes of steaming cauldrons to the countless roadside diners with staple meals of the state, U.P. sits on the zenith of the nutritional landscape.
As George Bernard Shaw said, “There is no love sincerer than the love of food.” Come to U.P for the sake of that love and enjoy that caressing touch of the unforgettable taste!
Steeped in with distinct aroma and diverse essence, the entire state is full of varied shades of flavours. From Aaloo Paratha and Kababs to Nihari and Sheermal, from Balushahi and Petha to Sheer Qorma and Shahi Tukda, the cuisine of Uttar Pradesh will leave you asking for more.
Talking about the rich tradition of food here, let’s begin with the home of the Taj. Once the seat of the Mughals, Agra offers a sneak-peek into the royal kitchens even today. Creamy & boldly flavoured curries, variety of ground and whole spices, dried fruits and nuts, roasted meats and much more are the testimony to the indelible imprints left on Agra’s cuisine by the Mughal monarchs.
Besides the gourmet meal, the city offers a varied fare in its eating out option. Bedai and Jalebi usually served at the street stands, is a typical breakfast of Agra. The bedai is a fried, puffy bread that is served with a bowl of sabji dotted with lots of potatoes and a squirt of curd. Sweet jalebis along with it makes a perfect morning meal. Crispy & spicy Dalmoth made from fried lentils, nuts, spices, and oil is the kind of snack you’d enjoy best with a hot cup of tea or a chilled soft drink. Then there is a centuries-old sweet made from ash gourd called Petha, which is indeed a quintessential must try.
Thereafter comes the luscious vegetarian cuisine of the Braj region. No trip to Brajbhoomi is complete without gorging on variety of dals & sabjis, fluffed rotis with ghee, sweets and rice in one thali. Different forms of Stuffed Parathas with spicy green chilly chutney and white homemade butter is a popular breakfast of the region. Moreover, one cannot miss the famous ‘Mathura ke Pede’. This sweet dish with a divine taste is famous across the country.
Then comes the foodstuff that every epicurean crave for. With the streets bursting with heavenly aroma, Lucknow’s dietary opulence is splendidly archived in the kitchens feasting royalty. A must-try for foodies, Lakhnawi cuisine is delightful, especially for a non-vegetarian. Prepared with exotic spices, herbs and garnished with dry fruits, the Awadhi cuisine of Lucknow screams magic. Marked by the elegance of the Nawabs and the influence of the Mughals, the city has an elaborate menu consisting of kebabs, kormas, roomali roti, nahari-kulchas, zarda, biryanis and many more.
Popular among the royal families, Murgh Mussallam, a whole roasted chicken cooked in masala, can be described as a perfect example of exotic flavours mixed with the Awadhi style of cooking. Seekh kababs prepared with beef mince on skewers cooked on a charcoal flame is another inseparable part of the Awadhi cuisine. Tunde ke Kabab, a yet another delight, has been a love of the foodies for years. In fact, it is not just about the ingredients that simmer in the cooking pot, but also the way they are cooked that leads to creating something sumptuous.
So dine in the Lakhnawi andaaz and re-create the nawabi platter for your dinner table!
Now let’s come to the soulful town of Varanasi, where the street food is at its authentic best. From its piping hot kachoris to paans to sweets, wander around in the city for a day or a two and you’ll never know which narrow alley takes you to food heaven.
Litti-Chokha, roasted wheat balls along with a mixture of roasted vegetables and mustard oil is the most sought after delicacy in Varanasi. Made up of mashed tomatoes along with a variety of spices, Tamaatar Chaat is another lip-smacking delicacy of the town. Prepared from raw milk and dew drops on a moonlit night, Malaiyyo is Banaras’ little secret. And what entices you after every meal here is the delectable Banarasi Paan. This leafy delight with a wide variety of flavours just melts in mouth, leaving a delicate taste on the palate.
Indeed, food of Uttar Pradesh is amongst the favourite on the charts of food connoisseurs. It is almost impossible to capture U.P.’s culinary horizon at one glance. Like its poetry, like the canopies of its palaces, it is multi-layered. As the playwright Abdul Halim Sharar rightly said, food is a window to the community’s culture- its adaptive strategies, its response to the external challenges and internal cravings, its way and interpretation of life. Thus, the diverse cuisine of U.P. makes it an extremely colourful state.