Updated: Jun 2
Kakori is a small town outside the city of Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh. The city is known for being the centre of the start of the freedom movement in 1925 and of course these kebabs.
As the legend goes, the Nawab of Lucknow, Nawab Syed Mohammad Haider Kazmi, arranged a party for one of his British accomplices. The Nawab served the best of Awadhi cuisine for his foreign friends, including the very popular seekh kebabs. However, he was insulted by British officials when they commented on how coarse and tough the kebabs were. He summoned his royal chefs, khansamahs, and asked them to fix this situation. The chefs worked for 10 days and came up with this recipe. They used the green Malaibali mango to tenderise the meat and added ingredients like saffron and rose water to enhance the flavours. Here we have the recipe for one of India's most famous and loved kebabs.
This is a super soft kebab that almost melts in your mouth. The soft meat has subtle flavours from the spices and mild heat from the chillies. The kebab finishes with the subtle scent of saffron and rose water making these divine.
This is a wonderful cookbook that tackles both the traditional cuisine from the region, some dishes from the Raj period, the famous street food of Kolkota, and some dishes from the influence of the Chinese.
For more recipes from this cookbook click here.
1 onion, thinly slices
1 tablespoon oil
1 lb ground mutton or lamb, passed through a mill at least 3 times
1 tablespoon ginger paste
6 garlic cloves, minced and mashed
10-12 mint leaves, minced finely
10-12 cilantro leaves, minced finely
2 tablespoons chickpea flour, lightly roasted
1 teaspoon red chilli powder, or to taste
2 tablespoons green mangoes, preferably malaibali, or green papaya paste
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
A pinch saffron
A few drops of rose water
Salt, to taste
1-2 tablespoons yoghurt
For the spice mix:
4 green cardamom pods
1/2-inch cinnamon stick
1-inch bay leaf
10 black peppercorns
1 blade mace
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
Wedges of lime to garnish.
Start by making the spice mix. Lightly roast all the ingredients individually on a dry frying pan till lightly coloured and aromatic. Cool and grind to a fine powder in a spice mill. Set aside.
Mix all the ingredients, including the spice mix and excluding the ghee. Put the mix into a small blender and blitz till you have a smooth purèe. If the mix is too thick, add a tablespoon of yoghurt. The final mix should be very smooth, like silk,
Remove and make a small tablespoon-sized kebab to taste. fry the kebab till browned on both sides and tase for spice and salt. Adjust as needed.
Marinate the meat for 4 hours minimum, but overnight is always better.
make small kebabs, about the size of a ping pong ball. You can either grill these basting with oil, or fry in ol, or broil them in the oven basting with ghee. Remove when well browned. Serve immediately with wedges of lime.