The food specialties in Uttar Pradesh are wide, ranging in variety, taste and flavour. Different cities have their own styles of preparing the strong flavoured food items with exotic gravies. The base for most authentic dishes is prepared by a mixture of onion, garlic, ginger, tomatoes and a number of spices. Uttar Pradesh cuisine is categorised into six groups- sweet, sour, salty, spicy, bitter and astringent.
Puri-Aloo and Kachori are among the most famous vegetarian dishes and considered necessary during festivities. Meat delicacies and Biryanis (rice preparations) of Awadh are world famous. Another interesting type of cooking in Awadh is ‘Dum Pukht’, in which the food is sealed and cooked in a mud-pot called 'handi'. It takes about three days to prepare a meal in this traditional manner. The influence of the Mughals is reflected clearly in the cuisine as well. The traditional Mughal food items, comprising mainly of non-vegetarian dishes, are prepared with rich and strong spices, seasonings and nutritious ingredients such as leafy vegetables, grains, fruits, and legumes.
For vegetarians, Uttar Pradesh offers almost all the dishes that are popular in India. For non-vegetarians, there are rich, creamy kormas; tender steak like pasandas in an almond sauce, nargisi kofta, mince (usually mutton) moulded etc.
A few other non-vegetarian specialties are:
-Kundan Kaliya (a mutton preparation with gravy along with turmeric or saffron)
-Nargisi Kofta (hard boiled egg, wrapped in mince and deep fried)
-Zamin Doz (an old recipe for cooking fish)
-Lucknowi Biryani and Zarda (rice preparations)
Sweet specialties are:
-Gazak and Rewri (Meerut)