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How to make it: Mohsin Qureshi’s galawati kebabs recipe

Learn how to make this classic Lucknowi dish

By Mohsin Qureshi
Published 7 Jun 2019, 18:00 BST
Galawati Kebabs
Galawati Kebabs
Photograph by Matthew Parker

This classic Lucknowi dish has a distinctive smoky flavour, recreated in this recipe using charcoal. For ease, you can skip this step — but it’s well worth the effort. If you can’t find roasted gram flour, toast it yourself in a frying pan over a low heat for 5 mins, or until it has a nutty aroma

Serves: 3-4   
3 hrs 15 mins – 3 hrs 45 mins 


½ small unripe papaya, deseeded and
cut into small pieces 
½ medium onion, peeled and quartered
1-2cm piece ginger, peeled
1 garlic clove, peeled
250g minced beef or mutton 
½ tsp red chilli powder
½ tsp kewra water (available from
1½ tsp garam masala 
½ tbsp roasted gram flour 
pinch ground mace
seeds of 2 green cardamom pods, ground
½ tbsp double cream (optional)
½ green chilli, very finely chopped
small handful finely chopped coriander
1 tsp ghee for smoking, plus extra for frying
selection of garnishes, such as sliced raw onion, caramelised onion, chutney and chopped coriander
parathas, to serve (recipe online)


1 Add the papaya, onion quarters, ginger and garlic to a blender and blitz to a paste. Transfer to a bowl along with the minced meat, chilli powder and some salt. Mix thoroughly using your hands, cover and leave in the fridge for 1 hr. (If you’re not smoking the meat, skip straight to step 3.)
2 When there’s 30 mins to go, take a few pieces of charcoal and set them alight on a barbecue for 20-30 mins. 
3 Remove the meat from the fridge, add the kewra water, garam masala, gram flour, mace, cardamom, cream (if using), chilli and chopped coriander. Mix well using your hands, then set aside for 10 mins. (If you’re not smoking the meat, pop it back in the fridge for another 1 hr and skip to step 6.)
4 You’ll need a bowl-shaped piece of onion peel or a small metal bowl for this next stage. Carefully transfer one red-hot piece of charcoal from the barbecue into the onion shell or metal bowl, then place it in the centre of your marinated meat. Drop 1 tsp ghee over the coal, cover the bowl straight away and let it smoke for 10 mins. 
5 Remove the bowl of coal and discard.Mix the meat mixture thoroughly again, then return it to the fridge to rest for
a final 1 hr. 
6 Take the bowl of meat out of the fridge. Wet your hands a little, then shape the mixture into about 14 patties roughly 5cm in diameter. 
7  Place a large frying pan over a low heat, add a little ghee and fry the kebabs for about 10 mins per side, until golden. You’ll need to do this in batches — keep your cooked kebabs warm in a low oven while you get on with the rest. 
8 Serve hot with parathas and a selection of garnishes of your choice.

Read our feature about Lucknow

Published in the June 2019 issue of National Geographic Traveller Food

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