From 'ande ka halwa' to 'kali gajar ka halwa', Lucknow has a lot to surprise you with.
If the city of Lucknow were a theatre, its local food would, without a smidge of doubt, take the centre stage! Lucknowites can rave tirelessly about the epic culinary culture of the city, which is a fine blend of luxurious Nawabi zaikas and contemporary cooking styles. While Lucknow is known to be a city that moves at its own sweet pace, its food and flavours will get you all geared up to get going on an eating-spree! And when you have seasonal specialities rolling out in a long, long list, you will be grateful for the index below that introduces you to the top 13 delicacies you just cannot miss when here in the City of Nawabs, during winters.
Makke Di Roti aur Sarso ka Saag
This rich and authentic Punjabi winter dish is probably why we all are so welcoming to the biting cold temperatures every year. It is that one dish that is the definition of healthy, with its wheat alternative, corn pone, which not only has a high fibre ration but is also gluten-free. The saag, which is the star of this dish is made by mixing various seasonal green leafy vegetables that are only available during this cold stretch.
If you have a sweet tooth but still want to keep your calories in check, worry not! This dish comes with a side of jaggery, which soothes your taste buds like never before. You can find this special dish at Lucknow's Ranjan Fast Food Corner in Hazratganj which strives to create a homely and wholesome experience for you with an extravagant dollop of white butter!
Noon Chai/ Pink Tea
We don't think we can ever have enough of this Kashmiri delight, found in the nooks and corners of Kashmiri Mohalla in the old city. Widely consumed during the winters, this blush pink tea, also known as Noon Chai or Gulaabi Chai, is an aromatic blend of warmth in a teacup. This chai is prepared with a hint of salt, that truly makes all the difference, and sipping onto this will do you more good beyond imagination.
Popularly known as Makhhan Malai and Daulat ki Chaat, this frothy and fluffy dessert is the definition of delicious if you ask us. This winter speciality is more than just a dessert to us! To put it simply, this delicacy embodies the taste of both comfort and luxury melting in your mouth and if you haven't tried it yet, well, it is time! During your strolls amid the nooks and corners of famous markets in Lucknow, you'll find sellers beckoning you with their Makhhan Malai thelas but if you want to taste the authentic tones of this dish, then you've to head to the Gol Darwaza in Chowk.
Kali Gajar ka Halwa (Black Carrot Halwa)
We are pretty sure you've already had a heavenly bowl of Gajar ka Halwa at some point but we know that the chances of you eating or even knowing about the stellar Kali Gajar ka Halwa, is really low. This is a luxurious amalgamation of milky textures that is laden with cashews and 'black' carrots are the heroes of this dish. Head straightaway to the lanes of purana Lucknow and ask for this halwa and we bet, you will not be disappointed!
Fun Fact: The carrots aren't actually black but deep purple in colour. When mixed together and cured further, the mixture looks black.
If you have ever been here, then you know that Lucknow kebabs are made with minced meat, authentic spices and a dash of magic! We know it can be an ordeal to order one favourite out of the long list of kebabs that the city offers, however, if you are visiting Lucknow in winter, then you have to try the Kakori Kebabs here. Known globally for its heavily guarded recipe, Lucknow's Kakori Kebabs will take you to the closest rendition of what was served to Nawabs in the era of yore! This winter-special kebab can be found anywhere in Lucknow but if you want to taste the flavour of authenticity, find your way to the outlet which is located near the Islamia College locality in Lalbagh, where they sell this delicacy on selected days only.
Nolen Gur Sondesh
If you are looking past the flavours of Lucknow, beyond the scapes of the Nawabi kitchens, then you have to try Nolen Gur Sondesh available here in the city. This special Bengali dessert is available only in winters, as the key sweetener, nolen gur, is harvested only during the chilly winters. Get your hands on this seasonal delicacy at Kanchan Sweets located at Indira Nagar in Lucknow, which is famed for serving the best Bengali sweets in town!
Hare Bhare Kebab
Lucknow has the art to convert even the simplest of ingredients into savouries that will charm you in a jiffy! One such delicacy served here is the Hare Bhare Kebab, which is made by a blend of sweet peas and spinach that yield the best harvest in winters. Though you will find this dish all year round, nothing beats the relish of the sweet seasonal peas that are used to specially craft this dish! Visit any of the eateries in the city and you'll find this item on their menu for sure!
Chikki - Ghazak
This winter, get your hands on this traditional Indian sweet, made of jaggery, sugar and nuts! While Chikki has a hard candy-like texture, which blends jaggery and any nuts you can possibly imagine into a bite-size delight, a Ghazak has a biscuit-like texture that crumbles in your mouth. Trust us when we say that these are addictive- you won't be able to stop yourself from binging on these. There is NO WAY that you can eat just one piece of either of the two. Head out to the famous Lucknow Chiki Centre in Aminabad to find a plethora of its variations.
If you are a Mughlai cuisine fan, this dish is just what you've been looking for. This winters, warm up your body and soul with the flavours of this roasted dish, that is cooked slowly in a mud baked oven. Bhuni Kaleji is the remedy for treating the biting cold and you really need to go to Lucknow's Maulviganj to indulge in this heavenly dish!
To simply put it, Paya ki Nihari is not just a dish; it's an emotion which has our childhood memories and nostalgia of the bygone winters packed and served on a plate. This is a slow-cooked mutton-based dish, prepared on low flame for hours and garnished with lots of spices. Well, sweater weather pays no heed to the grease and Paya ki Nihari tastes like love so we don't count the calories when it comes to this. So if you want to catch the best of it, go over to Raheem's or Mubeen's and order it with a side of garam kulche, nimbu and pyaaz.
Kadhai Wala Doodh
If you have been to a wedding in Lucknow during winters, you may have noticed a fellow Lucknowite's love for this drinkable bliss. Kadhai wala Doodh or Kesari Milk, is probably one of the most popular beverages among the city people, especially around the winter season. This beverage is simmered for a long time on a slow flame which gives it a thick creamy consistency and we just can't get enough of it. With a generous garnish of saffron (kesar) and dry fruits, this is the only way to end your winter food-walk in Lucknow! Head to Chowk, for a glass of this drink and you'll be floored.
This lesser-known winter-special delicacy of Lucknow, comes with sinful flavours and just at the first bite, you'll know that you'd be sinning a lot more now. Prepared by blending several unusual ingredients, this is one of the best things you can have this winter. Loaded with a handful of dry fruits to spread the warmth within you, the chunky and crunchy texture of the nuts blend smoothly with the halwa and it is a must-try when here! Head down to Rehmat Ali Sweets Corner in Phool Waali Gali, Chowk, for a taste of this.
Ande Ka Halwa
Bizzare but true! The city of Lucknow serves a halwa that is made of farms eggs! Prepared especially to ease the winter chills, this halwa is a rich source of protein, which amps up your immunity against the common cold. Ande ka Halwa has a unique taste, which you can opt for when you are saturated with the usual sorts of malai, khoya and gud halwas. The best part about this dish is that it is a quick fix, unlike other dishes that are cooked over a long time to yield rich flavours. This delicacy is yet again from the kitchen of Rehmat Ali Sweets Corner in Phool Waali Gali.
So what we're saying is-
The chilly weather has gripped the city and it is the perfect time for you to head out and satiate your winter carvings. Chalk out your plans with your squad or family and embrace the winters in the most delicious ways possible. For more such food recommendations, follow Knocksense Lucknow on Instagram.