There’s a lot going on in the world right now. Personal coaches are offering lessons on mindfulness and cognitive restructuring. Millions of dollars are being spent on the power of positivity. People are flocking to TED Talks to learn how your thoughts could take you places so you feel like a king.
But then that’s the longer and more exhaustive route — one that’d never strike you, especially when you are in Goa. Because in Goa, there are much easier ways to feel like a king.
For one, you could simply head to The Awadh House in Panjim.
A luxury restaurant nestled amidst the beachy coastal city, the edifice of The Awadh House is an enchanting time warp of sorts. On the outside, the peachy wall of the restaurant is reminiscent of an authentic yet fading Goan heritage. One the inside, you will find an elegantly decked micro palace in hues of red, gold, and green – the shades that will teleport you to the legendary Awadh culture.
What is Awadh?
Wrong question. Rather you should be asking, “Where is Awadh?”
Awadh, spelled Avadh or Oudh, is historic region of northern India, which now constitutes the northeastern part of Uttar Pradesh.
Awadhi cuisine: A tantalizing tale
One of the most sought-after cuisines in North India, Awadhi food has an interesting backstory. Legend has it that Nawab Wajid Ali Khan, a patron of arts and culture, is also a sucker for scrumptious food.
According to an old wives’ tale, the chubby Nawab could devour the meat of a fully grown buffalo in one sitting. However, all the biting and chewing wore him out. The Nawab, therefore, ordered his chef to soften the meat so he could concentrate on relishing its flavor rather than expend his energies on chewing. Tunday, the Nawab’s one-armed royal chef Tunday marinated the meat for hours and minced it to perfection so it would melt in his mouth. Thus began the culinary birth of the Awadhi cuisine. Even today, the sons and grandsons of chef Tunday are on a quest to popularize the Nawab’s favorite among the world foodies.
But why an Awadhi restaurant in Goa? “Because the Goan society is similar to that of Lucknow,” says Gaurabh N Quenim, director, The Awadh House.
“People in Goa are humble. They appreciate their food. They are willing to accept something new and they are kind and inviting. I can say the process was fulfilling especially now when we see the acceptance and people welcoming these well-crafted Lucknowi recipes with an open heart. To be honest, marrying these two beautiful cultures was not a difficult task,” says Quenim.
The delectable munchies at The Awadh house is definitely a foodie’s delight. With the use of over hundred exotic spices, a great deal of effort goes into the making of each dish. Not just that. The founding team of The Awadh House spent a great deal of time in Lucknow, interacted with the traditional chefs, and explored Awadhi cuisine, both on the streets and gourmet setups, to capture its authentic flavors.
“Let me start by saying that the dishes are not simple. They need time and expertise to be invested. The Galouti kebab is minced mutton that is kept to marinate for a few hours. The Dal Awadh is kept overnight to cook and the biryani is cooked using dum, which demands its own time. Even the Nalli Nihari has to be carefully cured and then cooked. Our rituals even include making fresh masalas on a daily basis. How would all our dishes not demand this dedication, commitment and perfection? They belonged to the royal era after all. It would be criminal to not attempt to retain such traditions,” says Quenim.
View the full menu here