For centuries, Kanpur or Cawnpore as the British called it has been a food connoisseur’s haven. Traditional dishes made in the age-old methods, on wood fire and using excellent local ingredients were much sought-after by weary travellers from distant kingdoms and lands across Akhanda Bharat.
Even today, the Kanpur Railway Station has some of the best food at affordable prices in North India. The quintessential breakfast of Kanpur and perhaps its most iconic dish is luchi sabzi or luchai sabzi. Piping hot luchis are served with a delicious aloo sabzi that is spicy, tangy and comforting with the right amount of masala.
Luchis are deep-fried Indian bread prepared from all-purpose flour. First, maida or all-purpose flour, ghee and salt are mixed well with a little water. The dough is kneaded till it becomes soft. It is greased with oil and allowed to rest.
Small lemon-sized balls of dough are made and rolled out. These are fried one by one in a large kadai till they turn slightly brown in colour. The excess oil is drained out.
For the sabzi, potatoes are cut into cubes and cooked till soft. In a large kadai, mustard oil is added to which cumin seeds, finely chopped green chillies, ginger and tomato are added. It is stirred till the tomato becomes soft. Red chilli powder, a pinch of hing, garam masala, kasuri methi and turmeric powder are added. The slightly mashed potatoes are added to this and stirred well. A little water is added if required for consistency. It is garnished with fresh coriander leaves.
The mouth-watering reddish hued luchis are served with the fragrant aloo ki sabzi. This delectable breakfast is available in pretty much every part of Kanpur and best enjoyed with kulhad chai.
Written by Lakshmi Subramanian