Tunday Kebabs the delicacy of the Nawabs

It was only in the 17th century that the kebabs of Awadh saw a revolution of sorts; aimed at pleasing a toothless king.The Nawab wanted the softest kebabs that required no chewing.


By Foodie

Of the many culinary delights emanating from the nawabi kitchens of Lucknow, the Tunday Kebab is a specialty. It spreads its charm alongside other famous kebabs, such as Galouti, Boti and Chapli and, along with the famous Lucknow hospitality, adds to the many succulent dishes that India can showcase to the world. The Tunday Kebab is a product of exotic Awadhi cooking, traditions coming down from the exotic times of Wajid Ali Shah and others.

Mince meat dishes have been a specialty with Muslim rulers of our country, and its incorporation in staple breakfasts started in the 14th century Awadh. However, it was only in the 17th century that the kebabs of Awadh saw a revolution of sorts, aimed at pleasing a toothless king. What transpired was that the somewhat coarse kebabs before the 17th century, containing meat improperly minced, was not to the liking of Nawab Asa-ud-Daula. This was a Nawab who regarded his food as seriously as his court affairs.

As the Nawab grew older, his teeth failed to keep up and dropped on the wayside. The Nawab, however, was bent on enjoying his meat, and his khansamas (cooks) were ordered to make His Highness happy. The Nawab wanted the softest kebabs, that required no chewing, that would virtually melt in the mouth. This, the cooks had to achieve without any compromise on the taste.

It is said that to achieve this, the Nawab set up a contest. He declared that the maker of the softest and most succulent kebabs would henceforth enjoy royal patronage. It was a big challenge for the khansamas and several tender and succulent kebabs came to light and before the palette of the Nawab. It is said that the melt-in-your-mouth galouti kebabs were an outcome of this contest. As years passed, kebabs became even softer, finally yielding the Tundey Kebab.

The famous Kebab shop by Haji Murad Ali came into being around the end of the 17th century. It is said that the kebabs made here continue to follow a closely guarded secret family recipe. It is rumoured that the women of the family make a special masala for the kebabs that use 160 different spices.

The Nawab set up a contest. He declared that the maker of the softest and most succulent kebabs would henceforth enjoy royal patronage.

Tunday Kababy was established in 1905 in the lanes of Chowk area by Haji Murad Ali. It still exists. The best point with Tunday Kababy is that the food point has miraculously preserved the original taste and flavour of its kebabs.

Making Tunday Kebab
– Heat some ghee in a wok and roast the chana dal. Powder it in a food processor and sieve the dal chana roast.

-Crush and soak the saffron in some milk. Mince the mutton until really fine. Add the fried onion paste, fried cashew paste, ginger garlic paste, raw papaya paste, spices, chana dal, saffron, and salt. Rub well with your hands. Keep aside for 30 minutes.

– Heat a small piece of coal till it starts burning. Put it in a metal bowl and keep it in the center of the vessel containing meat. Add some ghee and put cloves (laung) and green cardamom (Choti elaichi) in it. This will release pleasantly aromatic flavour and flavoured smoke into the meat. Quickly cover the vessel with meat and burn coal with a bowl or foil so that meat absorbs all very earthy flavour of ghee and coal. Leave it covered for about 15-20 minutes. Smoke with cloves and hot embers for 10 minutes.

– Mix the pastes well and prepare uniform dough. Divide the meat mixture in even sized balls. Flatten with wet palms and shallow fry in a flat pan. Heat Ghee/Butter in Pan and shallow fry till golden brown and serve hot with Salad and green chutney.

Preparing Tundey kebabs on Charcoal Flame

-500grams minced mutton

– teaspoon galouti kebab masala powder

-1 teaspoon raw papaya paste(with skin)

-1 teaspoon garam masala powder

-1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste

– teaspoon fried cashew nut paste

-1 teaspoon fried onion paste

– 1 teaspoon finely chopped coriander leaves

-1 teaspoon gram flour (besan)

-1 teaspoon rose water

-1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder

-1/2 teaspoon saffron (mixed in warm water)

– Salt

Making Galouti Kabab Masala   

– Dry roasts all the spices in a pan for a minute on a very slow flame.

-Take in a bowl and let it cool down completely.

-Grind in a mixer to make a fine powder.

-Store in airtight jar and use when required