Casserole Evening – Potluck
Broadly, there are three categories of cooks in Lucknow. The bawarchis cook food in large quantities. The rakabdars cook in small gourmet quantities. The nanfus make a variety of rotis, chapatis, naans, sheermals, kulchas and taftans (breads). Normally, one cook does not prepare the entire meal. There are specialists for different dishes and also a variety of helpers, degshos wash the utensils, the masalchis grind the masala and the mehris carry the khwan (tray) to be spread on the dastarkhwan. The wealthy always had their kitchens supervised by an officer called, ‘daroga-e-bawarchi khana’ or mohtamim. It was this officer’s seal on the khwan that guaranteed quality.
Cuisine is indeed a vast subject and it is absolutely a wrong notion that the cook who is a good cook can do all the dishes well. He could cook well, but then surely not all of them from him would be the best. One who makes the best Shaami Kabab may not make the best Murg Musallam. Specially in Awadh, where perfection in cooking is a serious business and where cooks too have been classified according to their expertise, it is all the more difficult to say that a meal any where was the best, a dish or two could be, but surely other dishes could be better elsewhere. Casserole Evening is just that, we get the best by the best, so what you get is just the best. Casserole Evening is a concept that revolves around the best dish from a home, in a casserole that is brought to the venue, usually a local home, to be shared with the guests over dinner. A casserole of Shaami Kebabs comes in from Rashida aapa, Lucknowi Keema-Matar from Begum Parveen Sahiba, Gosht Daalcha is cooked by Begum Almas Abdullaha, Raan Mussalam is done by Saleeman Bi, Phirni by Nooreen, Bun-Kababs by Nadeem Bhai and so on.
On a pre-announced date (please check below upcoming event dates), the venue pops up as a large dining space, casseroles arrive, diners reach too and the dinner is served. Guests enjoy a full course meal, interact with the people who prepared it, understand the recipes and of course enjoy one of the best home-cooked dinner in Lucknow at our Casserole Evening.
This experience is based on pre-announced schedules, updated on this page of our website from time to time. Or this may be exclusively arranged for visiting groups (min 6 guests).
Upcoming Casserole Evenings (2017)
January : 28, 30
February : 07, 11
March, April, May, June, July, August, September : No events on schedule during these months.
BE THE GUEST WITH THE BEST
As a visitor to the city, we do not expect you to be able to contribute a dish. We absolutely understand that you are a guest in our city and it is possible that you can’t come prepared with a casserole of your own. We can give you a kitchen to do just that, let us know what ingredients (of course there is a natural limitation of ingredients here, so you may have to innovate and make use of the ones available) you would like to have, so that we can arrange these and offer our kitchen to you earlier that day. Even if you’re not comfortable in the kitchen and you still want to be invited to the potluck festivities at the Casserole Evening, do get in touch with us we might just ask you to bring in some ready to eat accompanying food, such as some pickle or chutney.
General Rules for Guests
- Try and bring everything you need to serve your dish. We have already given you our kitchen and the dining space. While after our guests have left we toil to clean when all the guests have departed, so help out by bringing some things from home. And people don’t have 20 trivets—bring your own, or bring dish towels to place under your hot dish.
- Try and get some rare and innovative dish, rather than just bringing in a boring stuff that all the guests have eaten before and might tend to compare with the earlier ones. Talk to us before you have decided on what you can bring, so as to avoid a repetition. You need to understand that it is not a cooking competition, so let your dish be unique and stand out from the rest on the table.
- Avoid the triple-S: stinky, spicy, and strange. Things that are super garlicky, overly spicy, or have “weird” ingredients make people hesitant to go for your dish.
- Casserole Evening is not always a cooking session, unless announced in advance. Please bring in prepared dishes, so that you just need to warm them up or garnish them here or may be just serve as they are. If you intend to bring your dish in a container other than the casserole or a serving plate, ensure that you have that too with you. This is important to reduce the burden on the host of providing multiple dishes to our guests. If you absolutely have to make a dish live please let us know that in advance, so that special provisions are made for this at the designated venue.