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(Laura Leyshon for The Globe and Mail/Laura Leyshon for The Globe and Mail)
(Laura Leyshon for The Globe and Mail/Laura Leyshon for The Globe and Mail)

Vikram Vij's galawat kebab Add to ...

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.

  • Preparation time: 1 hour (plus 2 hours chilling time)
  • Cooking time: 20 minutes
  • Ready time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
  • Servings: 8


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.

Suggested Wine Pairings

Not to be confused with a shish kebab, which is served on a skewer, this soft-textured dish is a good foil for an oily textured, fruity white wine. The aromatic spices would work especially well with musky gewürztraminer or off-dry riesling, wines that like - and harmonize with - the sweet jelly Chef Vij suggests as an accompaniment. I'd even suggest a cocktail of mango juice (four or five ounces) spiked with an ounce of vodka and dusted lightly with cumin or fresh, grated ginger. - Beppi Crosariol

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