In Rampur the food was evolved from contact with two major cultures, the Afghan and the Avadh,which created a revolution in the cuisine. The merging elaborated and grew beyond its confines. They combined their expertise of the imperial kitchen of the Moghuls with the rustic pashtun cooking and mixing them with local spices created new flavours of unique standard. With so many creative and expert chefs at their disposal, the Nawabs finally began developing their own cuisine, which till the time was predominantly of Pasthun style. . While Rampuri cuisine has many influences and similarities between Avadhi cuisine and the food from the kitchens of the Mughal courts of Delhi, it has its own distinct flavours. As compared to the Awadhi food of Lucknow it is less fragrant and uses whole spices in its cuisine.
The doodhiya biryani yet another example of their culinary excellence. The biryani characterised by its white colour, by using milk to create a dish that looked like white sheet.
The popular Tar qaliya, a creation of the Rampur cuisine became the signature dish of the Rampur dastarkhwan ,a must for every banquet.
The nawabs of Rampur were basically meat eater and lamb was most favoured meat.
The chefs created various exotic dishes using lamb, chicken and fish to please their masters. kachche gosht ki tikya, taar qaliya,shabdeg,panjtan mahi,murgh mussallam.various Flavourful dishes of rice were introduced on the nawbi dastarkhwan. The nawabs had sweet tooth and in view of their liking chefs excelled in making sweet preparations like meethe chawal,chogni ka meetha, gullathi, and many halwas of unique kinds like adrak ka halwa, mirch ka halwa (made with capcicum) and gosht ka halwa.
To sum up would like to quote Naghat Abedi, who said in one of her interviews that her father, nawab Murtuza Ali Khan was a gourmand.Rampuri food is heavy on non vegetarian delicacies especially red meat based preparations. While it has many influences and similarities between Lucknawi food and the food from the kitchens of the Mughal courts of Delhi it has its own distinct flavours. Also the dishes lack the sweetness that is often associated with the food from Lucknow.”
With the changing life style the cuisine has undergone many changes Nawab kazim Ali khan the present Nawab of Rampur is making efforts to revive the old traditional flavours.
-By Rajendra Kumar