Ananta in Oberoi Dubai | For The Love Of Galouti Kababs, Here’s The Royal Recipe

Posted on January 26, 2014


Every one who knows me, knows my love for Galouti Kababs.  Galauti Kababs melt me down, always… as the spiced up minced kebabs melt in my mouth. Galauti Kabab always deserved a separate post in my blog and I had enough material to write on this. But with a hands-on experience on how to make real Galoutis in a Masterclass, that too in the Dum Pakht style of cooking, I feel that I can finally belt out a melting post full of the aroma, with the taste that’s still lingering on in my taste buds. Lingering on from the Galoutis that I just tasted a few days back, prepared by Chef Dirham – a Galouti expert, at the Oberoi Dubai’s fine dining Indian restaurant – Ananta. Galouti, Galauti or Galawati? Well, I’ve been on my own trail in search of this special form of Kebab which practically melts in the mouth, lending the name Galawati or ‘the one that melts’. Galauti Kabab is a minced meat round patty cooked over griddle, smoked with aromatic spices (traditionally, there were 120 different spices that were used in Galoutis!). Invented during the rule of Nawab Asaf ud Daula in Lucknow (another princely Indian city that gave birth to the Lucknowi or the Awadhi cuisine), the Galauti Kababs were made specially for him since he had weak teeth and eventually became toothless… yes, that’s the story that has been going around! Another Indian restaurant in Dubai – Patiala restaurant in Souk Al Bahar, claims that their Chef Arif has an ancestral heritage that I can only envy of – his forefathers had been the creators of the famous Galauti Kabab! I also believe that it’s my love for Galautis that has been instrumental in forcing Chef Sanjay Behl, who was till recently at the helm of the Patiala kitchen, to take up a Twitter handle like @galoutiontweet! {Chef Sanjay Bahl | Flavours And Flavours And Flavours of Patiala!}The historical connection between Kolkata and Awadhi Cuisine: For a Kolkatan, North Indian cuisine doesn’t mean the Punjabi cuisine but it means essentially Mughlai food cooked in the Awadhi style. In 1857 AD, after the Awadh kingdom (modern day Lucknow) was annexed by the British, the Nawab or the ruler of Lucknow – Mohammed Wajid Ali Shah Bahadur (1822 AD-1887 AD) was exiled to Calcutta (today’s Kolkata). His passion for gourmet food traveled from Lucknow to Calcutta and was nurtured, garnished and fueled by his special Bawarchis or the Chefs of the Nawab. Although Mughlai food is definitely not Bengali food, a discussion on Kolkata cuisine will remain incomplete without the former. The Biryani or the Kababs that we have grown up eating are the authentic Awadhi Biryani or Awadhi Kababs, cooked in the Dum pukht style. This is the style of cooking where the dish is cooked on very low flame, mostly in sealed containers so that the meat cooks in it’s own juices – the Indian version of the sous vide cooking! In fact, such is my love for the Kolkata Biryani, that a few months back I did end up showcasing the royal Kolkata Biryani in the Lafayette Gourmet. It’s also worth mentioning here about another restaurant in Dubai, although not in the fine dining category, which serves the Mughlai food that I have grown up eating – Shiraz Golden Restaurant in Bur Dubai. {More on Lucknowy or the Awadhi style of cooking and the Dum Pukht}

Galouti Kabab

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 12hr 30mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1kg Lamb boti (cubed lamb)
100g Lamb kidney fat
10g Dry Rose Petal flower
60g Ghee or Clarified Indian Butter
15g Green Cardamon Powder
5g Black Cardamon Powder
5g Clove Powder
10ml Kewra Water (Screwpine, more here)
10 ml Rose Water
70g Fried Brown Onion Paste
30g Raw Papaya Paste
1gm Saffron Powder
3g All Spice*
Salt to taste

Method of Preparation
– Mince the Lamb boti and kidney fat together, mince it 7-8 times to get a very fine mince
– Transfer the lamb mince to a big bowl
– Add all the spices above and mix well with your hands
– Refrigerate the marinated mince for about 12 hours
– Heat a flat frying pan. Add Ghee (oh yes, generously!)
– Make small patties of the minced Lamb and shallow fry on a very low heat until the kebabs and cooked and tender

* All Spice is actually a blend of spice that is available in the Indian section of most supermarkets in Dubai (Lulu, Spinneys, Carrefour. If not, then definitely Al Adil Supermarkets would be storing it)

Tips from my hands on experience: Ghee, more Ghee and slightly more Ghee (example of that below) – that indeed is one of the secret ingredients to the Kababs, apart from the very many spices that go into them. The mince taken from the lamb leg is the most judicious choice and marinating it overnight is also one of the key factors that goes in giving out a strong flavour and aroma, something that is so intrinsic to Galoutis. I think, to arrive at the right balance where the minced lamb should be tenderly cooked yet the patties shouldn’t be fried so much as to have a hard crust, is difficult and requires a lot of practice.

Apart from the Galouti Kababs, I also learnt to make the Warki Paratha that day –  a layered wholemeal flat bread with a coronation of edible silver foil on top (above) – a perfect complement to the soft, melting Kababs. All the hard work (to watch with full concentration amidst the aroma and retaining every bit of the knowledge till I downloaded every little detail and and my five-pence of wisdom onto my humble post, is hard work, isn’t it?) was soon compensated by the Royal North Indian thali (further below) that arrived at the table with an Indian Bellini to gulp down the food with. Indian Bellini? My food blogger friend who writes Coffee, Cakes and Running, shares the amazingly easy recipe. Later that day, I found that a reader had left a comment on my Instagram post – ‘Is this a South Indian thali?’ Well, that set me thinking whether serving food in Banana leaves, is also a North Indian tradition or does it confirm only to the South of India and Bengal? Do fill me in if you have any knowledge on this please.

Unblogging it all… Ishita

Disclaimer: Chef Dirham has been flown specially from Gurgaon and his Dum Pukht menu is available at The Oberoi between 22nd – 31st January, 2014. Please note that this post is not a sponsored post and the subject, story, opinions and views stated here are my own and are independent. While you enjoy reading the posts with lot of visuals, please do not use any material from this post. You can see more pictures of my travel and food journey here.