Rampuri Cuisine By Chef M. Rehman

A festival or gala is an event ordinarily staged by a community, centering on and celebrating some unique aspect of that community and its traditions, often marked as a local or national holiday, mela or eid. Festivals often serve to meet specific purposes, especially in regard to commemoration.

the Rampuri cuisine that we talk about and label as such is essentially a “courtly cuisine” — blending influences from Avadhi, Mughalai, Rajput, Afghani and other kitchens.

Though Rampur as a region has a rich and varied history of people of different ethnicities coming and settling here — as part of the larger territory of Delhi initially and then Lucknow. It is only post 1857, when the nawab sided with the British, that the principality came into its own. Rampur became a stable princely state. An evolved cuisine seems to have been a natural outcome of royal visitors, who came as guests, bringing their own cooks, spices and culinary traditions.While Nawabi cuisines of India are often a part of festivals and menus, the cuisine of Rampur is one of the most unexplored royal cuisines in India. However, according to Chef Rehman Mujabeer the royal cuisine of Rampuri Nawabs is no less historical & deserving than the famous Awadhi, Kashmiri, Mughlai or Hyderabadi cuisine.

Chef Mujbeer Rehman, one of the practitioner and propagator of old-style Rampuri cuisine in India, has experienced first-hand the labour of getting these recipes from the last few surviving khansamas. He says, “For them, these are not mere recipes but a legacy that is guarded with life. You could spend a whole year working with them, and yet there is a good chance that you may not find the recipe at all.” In fact, it took Chef Rehman over three years and constant visits to Rampur, and working under a few khansamas to get the recipes that were narrated to him like a story. “They would say it once, and you had to grasp it all.”

So what is that sets the Rampuri cuisine apart from the rest? The fact that they had specialists for each dish. Meaning a rice khansama would prepare all the rice dishes, and a kaliya would only make kebabs.

Last night the dishes which left a impression on my mind was a delicacy have never heard of and never ever tasted . I could not have imagined in my life time that some thing like could be invented or innovated … Eggs are important part of Food in every culture and civilization But this was defining moment for me When Chef M. Rehman after we relished it and not even a drop or grub was left in the bowl asked us what did you eat ? Answers or Guesses pouring in from all sides … Imagine to our own amazement it was ANDEIN KA HALWA … Texture was not that of egg … Egg was transformed into Mava or Khoya . Its just experience or cognitive reflex which brain could not understand … felt like khoya but made up of Egg . Its like those which they show in Star trek series … Matter has changed itself … Beyond words … just a experience .

Second dish was just another dish which I could have thought not possible … Main ingredient ofcourse the king of Veges – Potato but then Hero was not Potato … It was Sandal ( Chandan ) paste . baby potatoes nicely grilled in sandal paste and aromatic name of Sandali Allo . I think world is missing some thing if they have not tasted it .

In kebab section the plate was laid and kebabs were roaring .. Chapali kebab , sheekh kabab and then lovely tangy tamatari machi … ofcourse Rampuri cuisine and chapali kebab go hand in hand … But the Kebab which literally dented taste buds was Subz Khumani Kebab … sweety and tangy of khumani ( dried Apricot ) as stuffing … its like waltzing .

Last but not the least Chicken Chungezi … Subtle yet spicy … Chef M. Rehman said there is special chungezi spice which makes this dish royal .
To end this , I think Festival are meant for people to experience and commemorate lost culture and Lost cuisine …

Rampur Cuisine is not Lost … But I think it has come in right hands of Chef M. Rehman . Hoping Crown Plaza Today Gurgaon would make this Rampuri Cuisine a annual event in their Hotel’s annual event calendar

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