6 Delicious Lucknawi Vegetarian Starters To Try This Monsoon
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Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, India, is a cultural, historical, and culinary treasure. Lucknow, known as the "City of Nawabs," has a rich legacy that can be seen in its architecture, music, and, most importantly, gastronomy. Lucknow is well-known for its luxurious non-vegetarian meals, such as biryanis and kebabs, but its vegetarian choices are equally attractive, with a delicate blend of spices and unique cooking techniques that define its culinary legacy.

Lucknawi cuisine is renowned for its rich heritage of non-vegetarian delicacies, such as kebabs, tandoori dishes, and more, which are famous worldwide. However, the vegetarian offerings are equally exceptional, showcasing a blend of aromatic spices, delicate flavours, and culinary finesse that make them truly delightful. From the melt-in-the-mouth kebabs to the savoury kachoris, the list is never-ending.

This monsoon, bring the flavours of Lucknow into your kitchen with some tasty vegetarian starters. Begin with making galouti kebabs, spiced patties made from finely minced vegetables or lentils, offering a melt-in-the-mouth experience. For a burst of freshness, try dahi kebabs, creamy hung curd blended with herbs and spices, coated in crisp bread crumbs, and shallow-fried to golden perfection. Try bhuna matar, a popular vegetarian dish from Lucknow, known for its simple yet flavourful preparation. This dish features green peas sauteed with a blend of aromatic spices, tomatoes, and onions, creating a delightful balance of textures and tastes. 

Vegetarian Shammi Kebab

A flavourful vegetarian alternative to the traditional meat-based Shammi Kebab. These kebabs are known for their crispy exterior and soft, flavorful interior, making them a popular starter. To prepare these, boil and mash chickpeas and potatoes until smooth. Combine with chopped onions, green chillies, ginger-garlic paste, and spices including cumin, coriander, and garam masala. Make small, round patties and pan-fry until golden brown and crispy. Season with desired spices and serve it hot with dips and chutneys for a mouth-watering experience.

Galouti Kebab

Galouti kebab, originating from the royal kitchens of Lucknow, is a culinary gem renowned for its delicate texture and rich flavours. This kebab is traditionally made with minced meat, but the vegetarian version substitutes meat with a blend of vegetables or lentils. To prepare these galouti kebabs, steam veggies or lentils. In a pan, heat ghee and sauté finely chopped onions until golden brown. Add ginger-garlic paste, clove powder, cardamom powder, and a pinch of saffron soaked in warm milk. Combine this mixture with the minced vegetables and lentils, season with salt, and stir in garam masala and fresh coriander. Form patties, coat them with roasted gram flour and then shallow-fry in ghee until they are crispy. 

Bhuna Matar

A popular vegetarian dish from Lucknow, it features green peas sauteed with a blend of aromatic spices, tomatoes, and onions, creating a delightful balance of textures and tastes. To prepare this, start by heating oil in a pan and sautéing chopped onions. Add garlic, ginger, green chillies and chopped tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes soften and blend into the mixture. Add the green peas and season with cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric, and salt. Saute the peas on medium heat until they are well coated with the spices and slightly browned. Garnish with freshly chopped coriander leaves and enjoy! 

Dahi Kebab

These kebabs are renowned for their flavourful, creamy texture, which is tempered with a hint of spice and aromatic herbs. The inside filling is creamy and smooth, with a nice crunch from the exterior covering. These kababs are made using hung curd. Add grated ginger, finely chopped green chillies, and a mixture of aromatic herbs, such as mint and coriander. Shape the dough into small round kebabs, roll in bread crumbs, and fry till golden brown and crispy. serve with chutney and enjoy. 

Basket Chaat

Basket chaat is a flavourful, street-style starter option that is famous in Lucknow. Made with edible potato baskets and fresh veggies. First, prepare edible baskets by grating potatoes and frying them in the shape of small baskets until they are crispy. Fill these baskets with a mixture of spiced curd, boiled potatoes, and chickpeas. Top with tangy tamarind chutney, spicy green chutney, and crunchy sev. Garnish with pomegranate seeds and fresh coriander leaves. Enjoy Lucknow's street food this monsoon.

Vegetarian Kakori Kebab 

A flavourful and aromatic dish inspired by the traditional non-vegetarian Kakori Kebab, originating from the city of Lucknow. The vegetarian version captures the essence of the original kebab with a blend of vegetables, paneer, and aromatic spices. To prepare, blend vegetables like carrots, peas, and beans with crumbled paneer and a delicate mix of spices, including cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom. Shape the mixture into small kebabs and grill them until they are smoky and perfectly cooked. These kebabs offer a tender texture and a subtle spice blend, giving them a nice flavour. Pair them up with chutney and enjoy!

These were some vegetarian starter options from Lucknow; you can surely explore more, as the cuisine is rich in dishes, spices and cooking methods. Enjoy these delightful starts with your favourite chutneys and yes, pair them with tea.