Lakhnawi cuisine has a staggering variety of mouth watering non veg recipes, especially scintillating kebabs. It is believed that the royal chefs of Nawab Asa-ud-Daula included one special ingredient or spice each day in kebabs to create a variation, which had the Nawab wondering what it was.
The favourite cooking technique used by the khansamas (cooks) was ‘Dum style’ , where the food is cooked slowly over a low flame in its own juices.
These Dum kay Kebab, also known as Gilawti kebab, are one such melt-in-the-mouth, juicy, meaty treat from the princely repertoire of recipes, created especially for the aging, toothless Nawab who still retained his passion for good food. The balanced blend of spices, toasted coconut, caramelised onions and use of aromatics, give these dum kay kebab a distinct flavour.
Traditionally these kebabs are made through a meticulously elaborate process with a whopping 150 different spices but since our generation is short on time and patience, I have reduced the recipe to a few simple steps and ingredients – mix in a bowl, marinate and cook on dum (in steam).
Don’t worry, the ready dish will be fit for a king’s banquet – decadent and delicious!
Tips: – the list of ingredients might seem long but once you have assembled the ingredients it’s just mix it all in one bowl.
If you don’t have a couple of ingredients , you can still make delicious kebabs. The real taste comes from caramelised onions and few basic spices, like cumin, black pepper and cinnamon.
– Raw papaya is used to give the kebabs a melt-in-the-mouth texture. If you can’t find it, you can use ripe Papaya, pineapple or kiwi pulp to tenderise the meat. Mace also works as natural meat tenderiser.
-Bread slices work as binding agent. You can also use gram flour, eggs or bread crumbs for this purpose. But in my experience bread slices soaked in milk keep the kebabs moist and tender.
-never make kebabs with watery minced meat. The extra liquid causes kebabs to disintegrate and shrink in size when cooked.
1/2 kg hicken, mutton or beef mince
Salt to taste
1 heaped teaspoon red chilli powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
Seeds from 4-5 green cardamoms, crushed
1/4 teaspoon mace powder or 2 tablespoons raw or fresh papaya pulp or pineapple pulp
1/2 cup fried onions, crushed or pounded
2 tablespoons dessicated coconut, toasted
2 green chilli peppers, finely chopped
1 tablespoon ginger & garlic paste
2 bread slices, soaked in milk
2 tablespoons ghee/olive or coconut oil
2 medium onions, sliced into rings
Fresh mint leaves, a handful
THIS IS WHAT YOU DO:
Make sure the me at mince is not watery. You can place it in a drive or tie in cheese cloth to drain away all excess liquid.
Add meat mince, salt, all the dried spices, ginger-garlic paste, papaya pulp, fried onions and toasted coconut to a big mixing bowl.
Soak two bread slices in milk, squeeze out all the liquid. Add the dough like bread to the mince mix.
Briefly whiz the mince mix in a food processor or pound in mortar with a pestle to bind all the ingredients together.
Cover and leave to marinate for an hour.
Make long cylinder shaped rolls or flat patties shaped kebabs.
Heat oil on medium low heat in heavy base or non stick, deep frying pan. Place a few kebabs at a time in the frying pan. Fry them briefly for a couple of minutes just to seal in juices on all sides.
Remove partially cooked kebabs from the pan.
Place the same pan over a tawa/skillet on very low heat. Spread kebabs in the pan in a single layer. Add 2 tablespoons water to the pan just to get the steam going.
Cover the pan with a tight fitting lid so that no steam escapes or seal the lid with flour dough or foil sheet.
For chicken kebabs leave to cook in steam for 10-12 minutes, for mutton and beef 20-25 minutes.
Serve hot over onion rings, garnished with fresh mint leaves and lemon wedges. Naan and mint raita taste amazing on the side.