HYDERABAD : When we talk about Awadhi food, the biryani and kebabs from the erstwhile princely state in North India come to our mind. One kebab which has possibly emerged as the poster boy of the cuisine is the galouti or galawati kabab. The tender minced meat delicacy is perhaps a dish without which no Awadhi food festival is complete. It gets its name from the fact that it virtually melts in the mouth.
It is said that in the Nawab of Lucknow Asad-Ud-Daulah was a kabab lover and had employed a large team of chefs to innovate new kabab recipes. With age, the Nawab lost his teeth while still yearning for good kababs, but could not eat them as they were course in texture. So, the khansamas came up with a kabab which retained the flavours but needed no chewing at all, and thus galouti kabab was born.
Over time, galouti kebab travelled from the royal kitchen and also became the food of the masses thanks to Haji Murad Ali. The kebab expert working for Nawab Wajid Ali Shah had lost one arm in an accident, and still he used to churn out the best quality galouti kebabs even with one hand. He came to be known as Tunday Kebabi or kebab maker without an arm. His recipe of galouti with 160 spices and buffalo meat became legendary as Tunday Kebab. His son inherited the secret recipe from him and opened an eatery in Lucknow serving these kebabs, and even today Tunday Kebabi is a place of pilgrimage for the ardent food lovers.
For preparing galouti kebab, finely minced meat is tenderised in a paste of raw papaya, ginger, garlic, roasted chickpea flour and a special combination of spices. Onion, coriander leaves, green chillies, kewra and rose water among other things are then added before a dough is formed out of the mixture. This is shaped into round patties and fried in ghee. Smoky flavour is infused by dhungar, a traditional technique of burnt charcoal.
In Hyderabad, quite a few restaurants serve this melt-in-the-mouth dish from Awadh. Norfest the Dhaba at Gachibowli and Hi-Tec City serve some soft mutton galoutis with a smoky flavour. They do a vegetarian version as well with soya chunks. As per Prateek Rathi, one of the owners, this signature dish served with ulte tawa ka paratha is in high demand. The Ohri’s restaurants Tansen in Necklace Road, Serengeti in Banjara Hills as well as Rubaiyat in Hitech City are some other places serving this dish. The vegetarians too can enjoy jimikand ka galouti, a version using yam instead of meat. K&K at ITC Kakatiya has included galouti kebab as a new item in their recent menu.
Sabyasachi is a food enthusiast and blogs at www.foodaholix.in