Indian history never fails to amuse, enthral and awe. And a lot of the times India’s notorious obsession with food, results in some absolutely absurd historical occurings coming to light — from Indian kings gobbling down fried rats for dinner to tracing the roots of good ol’ baingan ka bharta all the way back to the Harappan civilisation. One such amusing tid-bit from India’s rich culinary history is the tale of how Galouti Kebabs came into being.
Galouti Kebabs are essentially minced meat cutlets that are known for their method of preparation that makes them melt in one’s mouth. In fact, the word ‘galouti’ translates to “the thing that melts in the mouth.” A common find in most Lucknowi households’ menus, Galouti Kebabs first originated in the kitchen of one of Lucknow’s famous Nawabs, Asad-ud-Daula.
Successor of Siraj-ud-Daula, Asad-ud Daula was known to be extremely fond of kebabs. It is also believed that he appointed a special team of chefs dedicated specifically towards creating a new variety of kebab for the Nawab every single day. From experimenting with exotic ingredients like rose, red ginseng, juniper berries and sandalwood to using varied techniques like smoke flavouring and slow cooking, the team left no stone unturned.
Another quality that the Nawab was believed to possess, apart from his appreciation for kebabs, was his unparalleled ability to laze around. Hence, when he grew old and subsequently lost his teeth, putting in an effort to chew his favourite dish wasn’t even an option to be considered. So, the chefs being their dedicated selves got together and produced a variety of kebabs that the Nawab could consume. After a series of trial and errors with technique and ingredients, the chefs concocted what is now considered a culinary breakthrough — a kebab that would melt in the Nawab’s mouth without moving a single muscle. And that’s how the much-loved Galouti Kebab was born.
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