A Lucknowite’s vegetarian menu for Roza Aftaari
Aftaari is a time for bonding. Along with the dates to end the fast for the day, drinks are the first choice, nimbu pani, tea, water, juices…
Sweet, milky, masala chai (tea): a mix of spices is boiled with tea leaves, sugar and milk for a cup of masala chai. The masala spice blend could be a pepper-cinnamon-cardomom-clove mix or simple ginger tea, fennel tea (saunf ke chai), or cardomom tea (elaichi chai).
Sweet Lassi: Yogurt whipped with a little water, rosewater or cardomom and sugar.
Salted Lassi: Yogurt whipped with water and seasoned with salt, pepper powder, cumin powder and sometimes dry mint leaves' powder.
Light, nutritious snacks like fruit chaat, fruit salad, moong sprouts chaat are enjoyed while looking forward to a lavish dinner late night.
Moong daal sprout chaat: Moong lentils are soaked overnight. Next morning the water is drained off, and the moong allowed to sprout over a day or so. When the sprouts are ready. They are washed, and sauteed on a medium flame in a pan using a tiny bit of oil or ghee with cumin seeds, asafetida, finely chopped ginger and green chillies. Salt is added along with a sprinkling of water and then the pan is covered to simmer. Ready to eat when tender. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and garnish with coriander leaves.
Kaale chane: black grams boiled and sauteed, seasoned with pepper, roasted cumin, pepper, green chilly, ginger and asafotida.
Fruit chaat: Fresh fruit is tempered with black salt, pepper, cumin, etc.
Kuchumma salad: a mix of minced, fresh salad vegetables like onion, carrot, tomato, beetroot, boiled potato, shaljam, raddish, coriander leaves, seasoned with salt and lemon juice
Dahi Phulki: fried besan (gramflour) balls soaked in whipped yogurt, seasoned with salt, pepper and roasted cumin seeds.
Dahi bada: It is similar to dahi phulki, but besan is replaced by urad dal (lentil), and topped with sweet tamarind chutney. The tamarind chutney is made by soaking tamarind to make a pulp, which is then boiled with equal amount of sugar, and salt, pepper, roasted cumin seeds, dry ginger powder, a few dates and raisins are added. The mixture is boiled till the chutney looks thick and dark brown.
Raita: is quite like the dahi phulki, except that besan balls are replaced by fresh, minced vegetables like cucumber, tomato, onion, or boiled and diced beetroot, carrot and potato.
Cucumber raita :-)
Cutlets and Pakoras:
These fried savouries are crisp and spicy, served with tangy chutneys.
Potato cutlet: Boiled potatoes are mashed with a bit of arrowroot powder or soaked sago. Salt and pepper is adjusted to taste. The mixture is made into flattened balls and coated in a dip of besan (gram-flour), salt and red chilly powder (optional). These balls are then deep fried over medium flame and served with pudina chutney, anardana chutney, dhania chutney or tomato sauce.
Pakoras: are made by frying vegetable dipped in a batter of besan (gramflour). Onion, potato, paneer (cottage cheese), cauliflower, spinach, brinjal are some popular ingredients used for making pakoras.
Samosa: All purpose flour dough (with a touch of oil added to the dough) is rolled out into circles. The circles are cut into half, and a filling of boiled potatoes cooked with mint, green peas and bits of cottage cheese, seasoned with salt, chilly, cumin and asafetida is put on it. the half circle is pressed into a triangular shape and deep fried.
Pudina chutney: A bunch of fresh mint leaves are blended in a mixer with raw mango or lemon juice or tamarind pulp, salt and green chillies.
Dhania chutney: Replace the mint in the above recipe with fresh coriander leaves.
Dahi-pudina-dhania chutney: Take a mix of mint and coriander leaves, a small amount of cumin seeds, green chilly, salt to taste, and enough yogurt to cover the mixture. Blend in mixer and serve with pakoras, cutlets or chaat.
Lucknowites love their chaat. King of Chaat, Choudhary Sweet House and Shukla Chaat in Hazratganj, Radhey Lal in Chowk and many more places in Aminabad sell great chaat. Chaat is an evening snack in Lucknow.
Papadi chaat: Thin mathris are laid in a plate. Boiled potato rounds, boiled dry peas, and a shower of tamarind chutney and whipped yogurt, with a topping of powdered roast cumin seeds, black salt and red chilly powder (optional). A dash of green chutney completes the rainbow of flavours called Papadi chaat.
Pani batasha: This is called pani puri in most places in India, but Lucknow knows it as Pani-batasha. Light crisp puris are filled with spicy water, boiled peas and potatoes. The water can be prepared by adding jaljeera masala, or making your own jaljeera by adding green coriander chutney to water, and squeezing a lemon, and adjusting salt to taste. Tempering with a bit of asafetida, cumin seeds in ghee makes it taste great.
Dahi-chutney batasha: Tamarind chutney and whipped yogurt make another delicious filling for the pani batasha which is then called dahi-chutney batasha.
Aloo tikki: Boiled and mashed potatoes fried as flattened balls, topped with freshly grated ginger, coriander leaves, chaat masala (cumin, coriander, red chilly, black salt, pepper, dry ginger), tamarind chutney and whipped yogurt.
Matar: Dried peas boiled and fried, seasoned with chaat masala, tamarind chutney and yogurt or lemon juice and green dhania chutney.
Basket Chaat: Grated potato, is fried in the shape of a basket, and filled with assorted chaat items like aloo tikki, matar, pomegranate seeds, fresh coriander, ginger, tamarind chutney and whipped yogurt, and crunchy dalmoth. It is the ultimate in chaat!
Breads from the tandoor, tawa and wok
Rumali roti: thin as a handkerchief, this flat bread is a favourite with kebabs and saalans (gravy dishes). Rumali rotis are best bought from shops selling them in Aminabad, Nazeerabad, Chowk and Nakkhas.
Sheermal paratha: this rich paratha, is layered with ghee (clarified butter) and cooked in a Tandoor, an oven lined with clay, and using wood or coal fire. Like rumalis, sheermals are also best made by professional khansamas and bawarchis. Which means they are best bought.
Puri-aloo: The puris are simple to make. A dough of wheat flour. Rolled into small balls which is then rolled using a rolling pin. These flat, circular shapes are then deep fried in hot oil or ghee. To be accompanied by aloo-salan and mango pickle. The aloo salan is made by first boiling potatoes. The bolied potatoes are diced and kept aside. In a pan, a teaspoon of oil is taken and tempered with fenugreek and cumin seeds, apinch of asafotida and turmeric. To this yogurt or tomato paste is added and brought to a boil with the potatos stirred in, and garnished with fresh coriander leaves.
Gulab jamun: this sweet dish is made of flour and milk powder (or khoya, where available). the dough is divided into balls and ddep fried inghee or refined sunflower oil. The balls are then added to simmering sugar syrup flavoured with cardomom or saffron.
The sewaiyans are worth the wait…
Recipes from Blog
[Photo credits: Flickr]