The Indian city of Lucknow has a great tradition of bawarchis, domestic chefs with a high degree of culinary skill who would cook in the home of a nawab, shorthand in Hindi for a person of distinction. The food would be served in an elaborate way and sometimes more than 100 dishes would be prepared to dazzle the guests and hosts.
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On a recent culinary trip to the city, I learned a new dish called galawat kebab. Its texture is almost like pâté, but the flavours are boldly Indian. This smooth-textured kebab can be served in many ways and makes a perfect appetizer. Serve it with chutney on toast points or roasted potato.
2 to 3 pods black cardamom seeds
3 teaspoons peppercorns
2 teaspoons cloves
½ teaspoon mace
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon garam masala
500 grams lamb, finely ground
2 tablespoons papaya, finely shredded
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons chickpea flour, slightly browned
2½ tablespoons red chili powder (ground red chili peppers, not chili seasoning)
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon ginger, crushed to a paste
1 tablespoon garlic, crushed to a paste
Ghee or vegetable oil for frying
To make the galawat masala, grind the first seven ingredients into a powder and set aside.
For the kebab, pass the meat through a mincer 4 times or until very smooth. Fold the papaya and vegetable oil into the minced meat. Brown the chickpea flour in 1 teaspoon of oil for 30 seconds.
Add it, the red chili powder, salt and ginger and garlic pastes to the meat mixture. Fold the galawat masala into the ground meat. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
Form the lamb into thin, flat 2-inch-wide medallions. In a pan, heat some ghee or vegetable oil and cook medallions on both sides until evenly cooked. Serve on a toast point, accompanied by chutney. You can also serve them on potato slices (shown here) that have been pan-fried or oven-roasted till crispy.
Chef Vikram Vij is the owner of Vij’s in Vancouver.