But first for the uninitiated Tunde ke kebabs are finely minced lamb meat kebabs made famous by a one armed chef Murad Ali (nicknamed Tunde because of his one arm) in Lucknow. The original recipe is a close guarded secret but it is believed that the kebabs are made with a mix of 160 spices.* (I don’t think I could name 160 spices, let alone make a dish with 160 spices. But maybe I could. Mental Note: make a list of all the spices I know.) The cooked kebabs are so delicate that they crumble when you hold them and melt in your mouth as soon as you bite into them.
The first time I had these kebabs was during my undergrad years. When I was living in a hostel in Delhi. One of my friends, G, was from Lucknow. When she went home or if someone was coming from Lucknow, more often than not these bites of heaven would pay our stomachs a visit too. And since then I was hooked. More than a year back, I ate them again at G’s wedding. Still as good as how I remembered them to be. You know how it is when you have this memory of something or someone making you feel so good, and you keep building that feeling up and when you do get a chance to eat it (or see that person) again you realize you had just overhyped it. These kebabs were nothing like that. They were still every bit delicious. Now the second part of the story happened a few months back. My dad was still in the Air Force (good times!) and posted at Allahabad. We were invited to dad’s staff officer’s house for lunch and he made mutton kebabs. Flavor wise they were delicious. He served them as tunde ke kebabs. And said he got the recipe from the guy who makes these in Lucknow. And I knew I had to try the recipe. He was generous enough to share and I tried them and loved the recipe.
Now since there are many people serving the famous tunde ke kebabs, so I am not sure how original this recipe is to the original tunde ke kebab recipe. For one, it does not have 160 spices. Just a handful, and I think for most home cooks an easy way to get a good tasting kebab. Two, I doubt such a close guarded recipe would be leaked by the cook in a drunken state, but then drunk people are known to do stupid stuff, so who knows we might have a heavily guarded secret being leaked on this site today!
Since taste wise these were pretty great even though they might not be the tunde kebab recipe, I thought they were worthy enough to share with you all today. Read More →