When a kebab’s name literally translates as ‘melting’, the expectations are set pretty high. Add to it the fact that this particular kebab is among the top stars of an already star-studded Lucknow culinary tradition, and those expectations get multiplied manifold. So I have always attempted the Galouti kebab with the respect and nervousness it deserves. And while it isn’t even within waving distance of anything you’d taste from a half-decent cook in India, I quite like what I manage to whip up. It is made with spiced mutton mince with the protein broken down to the point that it should almost melt in your mouth. I have had some back home that I think I could have sucked down with a straw!
I chop the mince again to make it even finer and tenderise the meat with a bit of raw papaya (only a little, so it doesn’t taste of papaya), add fat to the mince with the spices, and finally infuse some smoke in it by letting the mince sit in a sealed bowl with a piece of smouldering charcoal. And then you’re ready to pan fry the soft, smoky, spicy kebabs.
This time, I attempted a Sheermal to go with the kebabs, a flat bread prepared with milk and saffron, that is soft, a little sweet and complements the spices of the kebabs very well. A dollop of sour cream and coriander on top rounded off the dish nicely. ‘Indian burritos!’ as one of our friends, called it, as she tucked into it with a fair bit of enthusiasm. A rose by another name, and all that…doesn’t matter what you call it as long as you like it.