The Lucknow Food Trail- Part 3 (Tunday Kebabi)

The Lucknow Food Trail- Part 1 (Dastarkhwan)

The Lucknow Food Trail- Part 2 (Chowk Ki Chaat)

Tunday Kebabi
Tunday Kebabi

After a day full of discovering the food gems of Lucknow, we woke up to the whiff of hot Kachoris and Jalebis. Shubham had also joined us at Devang’s place for breakfast, such was the excitement. Seldom do you get such mornings when you get to eat with the family that talks about food with such ardent devotion. Devang’s Dadi (Grandmother) told us endless stories of her husband, sons and grandsons, which only highlighted further their collective love for food from various parts of the city. In fact, her worst nightmares, funnily enough running out of adequate ingredients or cooking gas. In the midst of Dadi’s adorable stories, the Kachoris were served with Aloo ki sabzi (potato curry), pudina (mint) and saunth chutney made from dried ginger and tamarind paste chutney.

Needless to say, the Kachoris and Jalebis were yummy. But what set them apart was the tinge of local flavours, not to be found anywhere else. In fact, I was told that Kachori and Jalebi form an essential part of breakfast in most parts of Uttar Pradesh. All of us had stuffed our faces and tummy to the brim. As a result, everyone took an unavoidable nap, which certainly helped settle down the food.

Kachori

Jalebi
Jalebi
Aloo Sabzi
Aloo Sabzi

Before we knew, it was time to move our bums to Shubham’s place for lunch.

The thought of meeting Aunty and listening to her cheerful chatter was exciting. Only later did I discover that even Shubham’s dad had quite a funny bone. Always an admirer of Shubham’s sense of humor, now I know that ‘humor’ runs in the family. But the thing that amazed me the most was THE DINING TABLE. There was an endless array of dishes waiting to be savored.

The table was lined up with traditional Bengali dishes – Dhokar Dalna (gram flour cubes cooked in ghee), Mangshor Jhol (Mutton Curry), Bhaat (Steamed Rice), Ginger and Mango Pickle, Baingan Bhorta (minced Aubergine cooked in ghee) and our very own Punjabi Daal Makhni. Shubham’s elder brother is a professional chef and after tasting Aunty’s food, it became obvious, that he had acquired great culinary skills from his mother. Each dish was strikingly different and tasted heavenly.

It was hard to pick one favorite dish among all the dishes. But just looking at Lucknawi Shubham turn into a typical Bengali, while eating his Mangsher Jhol & Bhaat, made me love that dish even more.

Although exploring local food is always my priority, but the delight in savoring home-cooked food is simply unmatched. This mega lunch fiesta was undoubtedly the highlight of the trip. Somehow the unwelcomed rain, made it even more special, as we pigged out on such warm comforting food on a cold winter afternoon. This had to be followed by a cup of tea because we were in a Bengali household. It’s no secret that Bengalis love their Cha (Tea).

After some rest, we went to check out the most famous monument of the city – Bara Imambara. The design and architecture of the Imambara is Mughal. It is renowned for the largest arch in the world, where in the ceiling doesn’t have any beams for support. Besides, it is the only existing labyrinth in India. Though the heritage site is quite fascinating, it is in desperate need of maintenance. The walls are littered with endless pan stains and scribbling.

After walking up and down the endless stairs of the labyrinth in Imambara, I was really hungry. And the thought of Tunday Kebabs, made the pang of hunger even worse. With much ado, we headed towards Aminabad, the house of Tunday Kebabi.

A food paradise for non-vegetarians, Tunday Kebabi serves the famous Lamb and Beef Galouti kebabs as their signature dishes. The kebabs apparently contain 160 spices, teamed up with onions, chilies, coriander, crushed garlic, lime and curd.

Mutton Galouti Kebab @Tunday Kebab
Mutton Galouti Kebab @Tunday Kebab

The aroma in the lane leading up to Tunday Kebabi, was enchanting. The busy bustling lanes of Aminabad reminded me of old Delhi. It reminded me of Karim’s, another legendary place for food in Delhi. As Karim’s is famous for Mughlai delicacies, Tunday Kebabi is known for its Awadhi food. I couldn’t wait to have the kebabs and find out which preparation is better. We reached Tunday Kebabi, the place that is conferred with the title of Legend and ordered for Mutton Kebab, Shirmal and Kheer.

Shirmal
Shirmal

The kebab arrived in no time, as huge batches of it are cooked in the outdoor kitchen that faces the bazaar. And just like most delectable kebabs, these too melted in my mouth. The well-guarded secret ingredient is almost impossible to identify but who so ever can, has figured out a way to gourmet wonderland.

The shirmal at Tunday Kebabi is flavored with saffron and the dough is prepared only with ghee and milk. After giving it shape, this bread is baked in the tandoor. Certainly, one of the best and the tastiest bread I have ever had. One can eat this bread even without a curry.

We had just ordered one serving of Kheer, which we hoped to share. And few minutes later, there were 4 empty bowls sitting on our table. This was the best Kheer I have ever had outside my home. The Rice, Saffron, milk, sugar and dry fruits were cooked together so beautifully, that it was unbelievable tasty.

Kheer @Tunday kebabi
Kheer @Tunday kebabi

The bill came upto Rs 200. Compared to Karim’s this place is way cheaper and as far as food is concerned, it’s hard to pick which one is my favorite. Both play to their own strengths and the taste of food is very distinctive.

Since we were in Aminabad, we even had our share of the famous Prakash Kulfi. It was amusing to find a sitting area for people, as the place just thrives on selling Kulfi. Although, we enjoyed our chilled Kulfi with Faluda, the experience was nothing out of ordinary.

Kulfi Faluda @Prakash Di Kulfi
Kulfi Faluda @Prakash Di Kulfi

After 3 sumptuous days of relishing Kebabs, Chaat, Makhan Malai, Kulfi and Pani ke Batashe, it was time to bid adieu to Lucknow. But most importantly, I’ll always be thankful to the families of Devang and Shubham for being such amazing hosts. If not for Devang’s mother, I would have never realised that a simple vegetable like Arbi(eddoes) would taste so delicious in a heeng curry. The Tamater wale Baingan (Aubergine in tomato curry) and Hari poori in the dinner was pure bliss. Each and every dish I had at their home was oozing with love. I realized we all shared a common love, love for simple delectable food.

It’s a truth that I’ve have come to discover, that the food is as good as the one who serves it. Somehow the ingredients of a dish tend to imbibe the love with which one serves it. Lucknow wasn’t just about food exploration, but the people who embraced me with all their heart. And I’ll be eternally thankful for that.

Lucknow- I’ll certainly be back for more to come.

Gulaab Jamun
Gulaab Jamun

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