Lucknawi Shaami Kebabs

Lucknow, the city of nawabs is my favourite city in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.A vibrant city bustling with the heavenly taste of  awadhi cuisine, the undercurrents of nawabi hospitality showcased in the way people talk and behave, makes it one of the most unusual legendary of beautiful  poetry.Every time I visit Lucknow, I discover something new about the awadhi cusine.I love the city for its laid backness, the chikan embroidery & its cultural heritage which resides in Imambara, British Residency , Chattar Manzil,Rumi Darwaza & the Jama Masjid.Oh I love the city!

Okay coming back to the cuisine ,the Lucknwai kebabs are the world famous.The main difference between awadhi kebabs and muglai kebabs being that while the latter are either grilled or deep-fried, the former are slow cooked [not fried] on a tawa/skillet.The kebabs are served with parathas or roomali rotis[indian flat breads]and onions and are a popular evening appetizer.A versatile dish which is sold on the road side food stalls and served on thedastarkhawans of the rich & royal!The aroma of the dry spices combined with meat & legumes makes it a very delicious snack which can also be served as a side dish.

What I needed:

  • 500 gm boneless mutton [you can use lamb meat too]
  • 1/2 cup Chana dal [soaked in water for about 1/2 hour]
  • 3 cloves of garlic, grated
  • 2″ ginger shoot , grated
  • 2 green chilies, finely chopped [ optional]
  • Cilantro , finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup raisins [optional]
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp canola oil [ for pan cooking the kebabs]
  • 2 cups water

Dry Spices

  • 6-7 whole red chillies [adjust to taste]
  • 1 tsp whole black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 ” cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 green cardamon pod [elachi]
  • 3 cloves
  • Pinch of nutmeg, grated

How I did it:

  • In a pressure cooker at medium high heat add mutton , soaked channa dal ,the dry spices and salt to 2 cups water.Close the lid and let it pressure cook until the meat is tender.
  • Open the lid and drain the extra water [yakhni].This water can be used in meat curries or for making biryanis and this is where the actual taste is.So use it instead of throwing it.There should be no water in the mixture left.This is important, else you will not be able to properly shape them later on and they will start loosing their shape and spreading on skillet while you cook them.
  • Let the mixture cool down.Once cool, discard the cinnamon stick & the bay leaves.
  • Add the mixture to a food processor with the plastic blade. Throw in the cilantro,grated garlic & ginger, raisins, green chilies[if using] and process, without adding any water, until smooth and chunky. About 10 pulses.Do not make a fine paste.You can do this by hand ,that has a far better texture.
  • Wash your hands clean. Smother some oil on your palms. Take the above prepared meat mixture, and shape the mixture into an oblong shaped balls on the palm of . Keep aside on a plate. Continue preparing kebabs until you get the number you need.

  • Cover the plate with kebabs with a plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours.
  • On a tawa, pour 1 tbsp of oil and on a very slow heat , cook these until the kebabs crisp dark brown on both sides.Cook these in batches.Add more oil as required.
  • Serve warm with onions,lemon & parathas.

Tip: If  the meat mixture you have prepared for kebabs is very loose and not tight enough to hold a shape, dry roast about 2 tbsp gram flour/besan for a few seconds, and once cool, add it to the meat mixture. Mix well and you will now be able to shape it better. Add more if required.You can use bread crumbs too.



  1. kababs looks sooo perfect …i also heard a lot abut these kababs when i went to Lucknow as its street food their .. being a vegetarian i missed it but we had jalebi with curd n kachori with chutney some other yummy dishes too …ur post makes me reminds all those… thanks for sharing

  2. Satya
    Oh…dun talk about jalebis & kachori & chaat!My mouth waters! :)
    I think Lucknow has the most authentic chaat in the country!

  3. Loved to know about awadhi cuisine…the kabobs are super declicious….My uncle stays in Lucknow, but I have never visited the place….wish to visit that place once….

  4. not a big mutton fan, but i guess i can give it a go with beef..

  5. This looks like it is bursting with flavour. I hav not had mutton for a while and this would be a great time to eat it again . Looks lovely

  6. Shammi kebabs look so good..must be a treat for meat lovers !!

  7. They look delish! Today I too cooked some meat patties…yummy!

  8. Awadhi, the royal cuisine, is one of the best :-) These look absolutely yumm,Tanvi.
    Thanks for visiting collaborative curry, hope to see you more often :-)

  9. Ey Tanvi!

    Howdy? Looks like its Shami Kebab season! I’m already writing a post on it and hopefully will be published in few days. We make it similar but we deep fry them (thats what mom used to do). I did think of the tawa method but then urgghh! Had I read this before I won’t have. Could have saved so many calories :D Alas! Next time.

    Are you on twitter?

    • Hey Kulsum,
      I came across mutton the first time in a US grocery store and I cudnt help but buy it.and the second thought was to make kebabs..You must be knowing how deprived Indians feel of goat meat in here!
      In my house…we being a typical Uttar Pradesh family ..ofcourse settled in Delhi now ….the cooking styles are still the same old…so this ‘tawa’method.
      I have not eaten fried variety as yet…but any deep fried stuff is divine!

      Ya …i have just joined twitter a few weeks back…happy to follow you nw :)

  10. This is exactly how my mum makes the mutton kababs and yes she used to sometimes add raisins as well as slivers of soaked almond, the only difference is she beats an egg and takes a little bit of this beaten egg and adds it to the mutton mix; taking care to see that egg is not in excess or else the the mix will be watery. Well thanks for giving me this link. The pictures look yummy.

  11. I am from Lucknow so, I am so happy when anyone even talks about Lucknow and to share Lucknawi recipes – nothing like it!!

  12. Good recipe with nice presentation.Delicious and wonderful looking very nice and yummy..

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