Za-aiqa – from the kitchen of the begums


It’s time to rejoice as there are so many food festivals happening in the City. Bhopal’s culinary scene is so diverse that you can find food to satisfy any taste bud. And when it comes to Indian cuisine, almost all the restaurants serve one dish or the another. But if you’re looking for a revival of ancient cuisines, you need not be disappointed. Hotel Noor-Us-Sabah Palace Bhopal is all set to entice the food lovers of Bhopal with the ethnic food coming straight from the royal kitchen of Begums of three different dynasties. Za-aiqa – from the kitchen of the begums.


Chef Suman said that everybody talks about the ‘favorites’ of Nawabs and Kings, but rarely people talk about the favorite dishes of the Begums. “To give the respect to the royal women and their love for food, we have organized this festival. I and my team has done a lot of research on the cuisine of three different dynasties before introducing this festival. After a long research of one and a half month, we prepared the menu.”

Elaborating further he said, “It took us a lot of hard work to prepare for this food festival. We used different spices and flavors to add the charm of the authentic cuisine with some of our innovations and hence we finally succeeded to come up with this menu.”

This fest is a culinary tribute to various Begums of three Royal dynasties of the States of Pre Independent India including Bhopal, Nizams of Hyderabad and Nawabs of Awadh.

Bhopal: Bhopal has its own cuisine, highly influenced by the Mughlai cuisine, the cuisine also is a mix of a bit Awadhi and Hyderabadi style too. The use of the generous amount of spices and the method of cooking makes it a bit different from others.

Awadhi: Native to the city of Lucknow. The awadh cuisine is greatly influenced by the Mughal cooking techniques. The richness lies in the ingredients used.

Hyderabadi: It is an amalgamation of Mughal, Turkish, Arabic along with the influence of the Telegu and Marathwada cuisines.

I’m not going to bore you with history anymore. Let’s begin with the hogging!!

P.S. I was extremely full because of my busy schedule so I did not binge on the food. But, I certainly tasted a few and tried to capture them in my camera. I’ll try to describe them in short for you all to have a basic idea and yet not get bored with the history.




Shammi Kebab: Okay, one small story related to this is that these kebabs were invented by a highly skilled chef for a toothless Nawab of Lucknow. 😛 A small patty of minced meat made so brilliantly that it just melts in the mouth.


Kacchi Gosht ke Kebab: Again very scrumptious and juicy kachhe gosht ke kebab made out of lamb minced meat Soft and succulent.

Berasia Durbari Patti Samosa: A special collection from the kitchen of nawab begum of Bhopal. The samosa was filled with dal and was deep fried. Amazing!

Dahi ke kebab: This dish needs no introduction. Made with hung curd these kebabs give you the actual royal feel just because they taste so good.

Kuta masala paneer tikka: Not just a regular paneer tikka. The paneer cubes were marinated in yogurt but the spices that were used were made on the spot and were absolutely fresh. These had a very different taste as compared to the regular paneer tikkas what we get in other restaurants.

Akrot Mawa aur badam ki tikki: coming from the kitchen of Badshah begum. Wife of Nawab Ghazi-ud-din. These tikkis were made with walnuts, almonds, and mawa.

Few other varieties on the menu are: Murg ke parchey, Murgh Badami Tikka, Pudina Macchi fry, Subz shikampuri kebab.




It was super duper hot and I literally had to skip trying out the soups but you can find Gosht Yakhni Shorba and Dal Pudina Shorba on the menu.


Main Course

Nizami Laal Gosht Korma: This one was again a shahi dish made with mutton and homemade spices and is full of all the rich ingredients.

Raan Masala: Roasted leg of lamb, marinated in a delicious blend of aromatic spices and then roasted for a few hours which made it tender and succulent.

Bhopali Chicken Rezala: A rich, Mughlai and creamy dish coming from Bhopal’s begum Sultan Shah Jehan’s kitchen. The Bhopali Chicken Rezala is made with yogurt and cashew nut gravy. Utterly rich and creamy.

Shahi Paneer Korma: A creamy dreamy royal dish made with cashew nut gravy, yogurt, and fresh aromatic Indian masalas. One of the best Paneer dish I’ve had in the longest time.

Some other dishes on the menu were: Lauki Lazeez , Khatti Arbi ke Salan, Nizami Bhuna Subz, Mirch Ka Salan, Bhindi Pyaz, Milijhuli Tarkari, Nargisi Kofta, Nawab Begums Chicken Korma, Maas ke Dal, Massor dal ke mussalum.






Murgh Kacchi Biryani: Coming from the Nizam’s Kitchen this biryani was prepared by slow cooking the raw meat and raw rice in the dum-cook style which gives it a different taste and the outcome was simply beautiful.

Taheri: Again a very delish preparation of rice with potatoes and veggies. It’s all about the cooking style which makes it amazing.

Indian Breads: Sheermal, Kulcha, Khamiri Roti and Naan



I might burst out because of overeating but still, I manage to eat the desserts. Thanks to the sweet tooth which goes uncontrollable when my eyes witness the dessert section. “Facepalm*


Gil – e- Firdaus: This was one hell of an amazing kheer. Made with milk and Lauki. Yes, the ugly vegetables can also become beautiful when cooked properly. 🙂

Phirnee: A rich creamy dessert made with rice combined with milk, cream, sugar and some saffron strands for flavoring. My all-time favorite Indian dessert.

Shahi Tukda: A very popular rich dessert from the begums’ kitchen. Shahi tukda is bread that is deep fried in ghee then garnished with rabri, nuts, and mawa.

Sheer Khurma: A famous and rich Mughlai dessert made with vermicelli and thickened milk, dried dates, dry fruits and sugar during Eid ul-Fitr.


Some desserts you can look forward to are Rasmalai, Metha Zarda, and Badam Halwa.


The food at Hotel Noor-Us-Sabah Palace is for the Rich, and by that, I mean fit for the Royals. It’s an opportunity for the Food Lovers in Bhopal to learn and explore about the dishes that are not known by everyone. The food festival features the favorite cuisines of the begums to pay a culinary tribute to the royal women. They surely use the secret ingredients that were inherited and passed on to the generations by the Begums and they do justice by adopting those techniques. Must visit!


P.S. The author was invited and the reviews are personal.

Tastes are subjective and may differ from person to person.

Till then, Happy Hogging!


Food Festival: Za-aiqa – from the kitchen of begums

AddressNoor-Us-Sabha Palace, VIP Road

Date: 11th May to 13th May 2018

Timing: 1930-2300 Hours

Price: INR 1000/- Plus Taxes per Person

INR 650/- Plus Taxes for children below 12 years.


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