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TUNDAY KABABI, LUCKNOW

The decades-old Tunday Kababi is synonymous with Lucknow and people need to eat there even on a flying visit to the city! That's the message I want to communicate. Why? Because their melt-in-the-mouth 'Galavati Kababs' with mint chutney and roomali roti is worth the experience.. it is exotic fare with a menu packed with meat dishes and breads. Indian cuisine is principally about a universe of spice blends and aromatic flavors.. and the cooks explained as my friend and I devoured plate after plate(!) of kebabs that the 'Galavati Kababs' we returned for each night of our three-day stay is prepared with a number of ingredients including finely minced lamb with plain yogurt, grated and crushed ginger and garlic, ground cardamom, powdered cloves, melted ghee, dried mint, onion, vinegar and lime. Of course ingredients of Tunde Kabab's authentic masala prepared by women in the family is a closely-guarded secret!

 

The history is as fascinating as the kebabs. In Urdu 'tunda' means 'without an arm'. Haji Murad Ali [Tunday Kababi] who used to feed the Nawabs in olden-day Lucknow (despite being handicapped) earned recognition and reverence for his specialty — preparing delicious and mouth-watering kababs with one hand. It is he who established it in 1905 in Akbari Gate and it has miraculously preserved the original taste and flavor since.  It was only after keeping it confined to that spot for decades that his son persuaded him to move out and start another outlet in Aminabad in 1996. Today there are various outlets across the length and breadth of Lucknow. On our third (and last) night there we struck a rapport with the cook who explained that even with the availability of gas stoves Tunday Kababi prefers to prepare its kebabs on charcoal to retain the distinct taste and aroma of the kebab.. and makes it melt-in-the-mouth soft. PS In addition to kababs the famous outlet offers other traditional cuisine including Biryani and Mutton Korma.

 

Though the outlets have simple seating and ambience its widespread fame has attracted Bollywood luminaries such as Shah Rukh Khan and Shabana Azmi as well as prolific politicians.. and it's easy to see why. Do not miss it on your next visit to Lucknow. Bon Appétit!

— JASMEEN DUGAL

 
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168-6, Naaz Cinema Road, Aminabad, Lucknow and many other outlets

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