Tracing origin of Lucknow’s Tunday Kababi
It was during the reign of Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula when kebabs underwent a change. Until 17th century, kebabs used to be chewy and course in texture.
115 years and counting! Lucknow’s Tunday Kababi must have treated several generations of a single family. Sitting in the heart of Uttar Pradesh’s capital city Lucknow, it is famous for its melt-in-mouth kebabs.
Tunday Kababi was established in 1905, but the story of its origin dates back to the 17th century. It was during the reign of Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula when kebabs underwent a change. Until 17th century, kebabs used to be chewy and course in texture.
Food was always on priority for this Nawab of Awadh. Age was catching up and he began to lose his teeth. But by no means he wanted to stop eating kebabs and apparently, this was when a contest was set-up. It was declared that the maker of the softest and most tender kebabs would enjoy royal patronage henceforth. This contest gave birth to the world famous galouti kebabs.
All the khansamas had put their best foot forward, but it was Haji Murad Ali who won the contest. There’s a very popular story about how the kebabs made by Haji Murad Ali got their name, Tunday ke kebab.
Haji Murad Ali had only one arm. When he was young, he fell from the terrace while flying a kite and lost his left arm. In vernacular, any person with a hand disability is referred to as a ‘tunday’. Thus, the kebabs he made were called Tunday ke kebabs.
The recipe for these kebabs continues to be a well-kept secret. It is believed that around 160 spices are combined in a unique ratio to give these renowned kebabs their matchless flavour and texture. The recipe is passed down from generation to generation by the ladies of the house.
The first shop of Tunday Kababi was established in 1905 in the crisscrossed lanes of Chowk area by Haji Murad Ali. The most interesting part is that even after a century, the shop still stands sturdy in its original structure.