Beyond “Rampuri Chaaku”. We bet you didn’t know about these five bizarre Halwas of Rampur.
Whenever we hear about Rampur, the first thing that comes to our mind is the famous “Rampuri Chaaku” we have heard in some popular Bollywood Movies. However, more to explore in Rampur than the “Chaaku”, and Rampuri cuisine is a must-try. Rampuri cuisine is greatly influenced by the Nawabi style of cooking and is one of India's few existing courtly cuisines. From the use of chulhas to khada masalas, Rampuri cuisine and cooking style is preserved by the khansaamas of the Rampur royal families. From delicious taar korma to the mindblowing halwas, Rampuri cuisine is unique in its way.
Here are five delicious Halwas with surprising ingredients you won't believe could be incorporated into a dessert.
1. Neem ka Halwa: Shocked already? We have often heard our grandmas advising us to eat neem leaves to treat various ailments and the mandatory gag that came from us after. The Nawab of Rampur was prescribed neem leaves for similar reasons, but no one could imagine serving something as bitter as neem to Nawab Saab. So, the Khansaama of the court invented the recipe to satisfy both the taste buds and the gut of the Nawab. The neem leaves are washed and boiled thrice before cooking for riddance of the bitterness and then ground to make a smooth paste. The paste is then cooked in desi ghee, milk, sugar, and spices like cardamom and served with some nuts on top.
2. Adrak ka Halwa: This ingredient was also prescribed by the Hakeem to the Nawab, but the pungent flavour of ginger was what made the khansaama’s job difficult. Ginger is chopped finely and fried in ghee till the raw taste disappears. The mushy ginger is then cooked with milk, sugar, cardamom, and nuts are added in the end. However, Adrak ka Halwa is served in small portions due to its heat.
3. Fish Halwa: No matter how strange it sounds, Fish Halwa is a dish of pride for the residents of Rampur. Fish is first descaled, filleted, and boiled for riddance with its raw smell and taste. The fish meat is then cooked in ghee, sugar, milk, and khoya till it is reddish and served with Rampuri nut garnish. Some Khansamas also sprinkle fragrant water to get rid of any smell.
4. Mirchi ka Halwa: The Khansamas were putting in constant efforts to impress the Nawabs, and Mirchi ka Halwa is a part of the same effort to impress Nawabs, who loved spicy food. Green chillies are boiled in sugar syrup and then cooked in khoya, sugar, cardamom powder, and milk till a slight caramelization is attained. The Halwa is then served with nuts and raisins.
With the growing trend of fusion food, Rampuri cuisine is one of the few cuisines in its original form. With the traditional spices and cooking style, Rampuri cuisine is earthy and moreish as well. Apart from Rampuri Halwas, various other dishes are waiting to be relished.