The story of Lucknow’s famous Tundey Kebabs

For those who don’t know, let me enlighten you a bit with an extract from Wikipedia:

Kebab, (also kebap, kabob, kebob, or kabab) is a Middle Eastern, Eastern Mediterranean, and South Asian dish of pieces of meat, fish, or vegetables roasted or grilled on a skewer or spitoriginating in the Eastern Mediterranean, where it is mentioned by Homer, or the Middle East, and later adopted in Central Asia and by the regions of the former Mongol Empire and later Ottoman Empire, before spreading worldwide.

Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, India is famous for its kebabs. Lucknow was a former centre of Mughal power in India. The Mughals were  heavily influenced by Persian culture and you can see that easily  walking the streets of this once great city.
There are undoubtedly many varieties of kebabs, but one of the most famous are the Galaouti Kebabs of Lucknow.

One of the forms of this is called the Tundey Kebab, which is known for its mouthwatering taste throughout the nation of India.

There is an interesting story behind the origins of this famous dish.
The Nawabs(rulers) of Awadh(Lucknow and its surrounding areas) were great patrons of art and big time foodies. It is said that a King from a place called Kakori had lost all his teeth but still craved for non-veg food. So he ordered his chefs to come up with a kebab which was soft enough to melt in his mouth and yet remain delicious. One of the chefs tenderised the meat by marinating it in papaya and hence was born the Galaouti kebab(‘galaouti’ roughly means ‘one which melts’).

Later, in 1905 another chef, Haji Murad Ali( 1877 – 1967 ) mastered the recipe and decided to sell the kebabs by setting up his shop in Chowk(a place in Lucknow).

Since he had only one arm, his place became famous by the name “Tundey”(which is slang word used to describe a person with a hand disability). Hence, the kebabs were branded as Tundey Kebabs and it is now one of the most famous kebab joints in India and definitely Lucknow’s most famous eatery

Its fame has attracted Bollywood celebrities such as Dilip Kumar, Shah Rukh Khan, Anil Kapoor, Shabana Azmi and Anupam Kher, as well as several politicians. Photographs of celebrity visitors adorn the walls of the place.

So, whenever you happen to visit Lucknow, don’t forget to try the delicious kebabs!.


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