3 Lucknowi dishes from 'The Lucknow Cookbook' you can easily recreate at home

Chand Sur and Sunita Kohli's cookbook is a veritable treasure trove of Lucknowi cuisine.

Every family has their own culinary secrets and versions of the local cuisines which make for interesting food stories. Chand Sur and Sunita Kohli have some too, which they have compiled in their latest book, ‘The Lucknow Cookbook’. The book reflects the oral tradition of cooking that has passed through generations and eventually became a family tradition.

The book includes recipes of signature dishes from different homes, and gives a glimpse of the Lucknowi culture and of the lives behind these recipes. The book contains around 150 recipes, of which we’re reproduced three which you can easily cook at home.

The Lucknow Cookbook

The Lucknow Cookbook

Kakori Kebab

Kakori Kebab is specifically a specialty of Lucknow and not an Awadhi delicacy, despite popular opinion. It is said that the dish was invented by the Nawab of Kakori, after a British bureaucrat told the Nawab that the Shammi Kebabs he’d been served were served were hard to chew. The Nawab ordered his chefs to make something easier to chew, and Kakori Kebab were born.

kakori kebab

kakori kebab (Photo: Dreamstime)

Serves: 8; Preparation Time: 1 hour

1 kg minced from lean gol boti Mutton
¾ cup chopped Onion
¼ cup browned Onion paste
¼ cup Kaccha Raw papaya
3 tbsp, ground to a paste Cashew nuts
1 tsp Garam masala
¼ cup washed Poppy seeds
1 tsp Black peppercorn powder
1 tsp Red chilli powder
1 tsp Green cardamom powder
½ tsp powdered Cloves
1 tsp Red chilli powder
1 tsp soaked in 1 tsp of warm milk Saffron
2 drops Kewra essence
7 tbsp roasted Gram flour
50 gms melted Butter 50 gms
4 tsp Desi ghee

1. Grind the mutton twice and then the third time, grind it with the desi ghee.
2. In a large flat metal platter, mix the mutton with all the ingredients, except butter, and knead it well. Set it aside for half an hour. Then, knead again.
3. Divide the mixture into 16 equal portions. With oiled palms, shape the meat portions evenly around the skewers, about 4–5 inches each. Place the skewers with the raw kebabs on a charcoal grill or over a low charcoal fire for about five minutes. Baste with butter and cook again for four minutes, rotating the skewers slowly so that the kebabs cook and brown evenly. Serve kebabs hot with small onion rings and mint chutney (these are the subtle differences of garnishes between Delhi and Lucknow).

Garam Dahi Ka Shorba (Hot Yogurt Soup)
Originated in Istanbul, Hot Yogurt Soup has become part of the cuisine of Lucknow.

Garam Dahi Ka Shorba

Garam Dahi Ka Shorba (Photo: Dreamstime)

Serves: 6; Preparation Time: 40 minutes

2 cups Yogurt
3 tbsp Gram flour
4 peeled Garlic gloves
1 tbsp peeled Ginger
4 Radish
8 Curry leaves
3 dried Red chilli
1/8 tsp Asafoetida
1 tsp Black mustard
1 tsp Cumin seeds
1 tsp Coriander seeds
2 tsp Sugar
6 strands Saffron
1.5 cups Water
1/2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Oil

1. Beat yoghurt with a whisk or a fork
2. In a saucepan, slowly add 1.5 cups of water to gram flour and mix it well. Add sugar, salt and whole radishes. Mix and pour into a pan. Bring to a boil, then on a slow flame, simmer uncovered for 10 minutes (if it becomes thick, add some more water and cook for five more minutes). Remove the radishes and keep aside.
3. Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add asafoetida, then mustard seeds, cumin seeds and coriander seeds. When the mustard seeds start to sputter, add curry leaves and red chillies. As soon as chillies start darkening, add the chopped garlic and ginger. Stir until the garlic pieces start to brown a little. Then add the contents of the frying pan into the saucepan of soup. Simmer the soup for 5 minutes. Before serving, cut the radishes into small pieces and add to the soup. Serve hot, garnished with saffron strands.

ALSO READ: Everybody can cook: 5 simple recipes from Chef Shipra Khanna’s latest book

Raan Mussalam (Roasted leg of goat)
Lucknow specialises in meat recipes, some recipes are simple, while others are complex. Raam Mussalam is one of the tastiest preparations in the city.

Raan Mussalam

Raan Mussalam (Photo: Dreamstime)

Serves: 8; Preparation time: 2 hours

1 kg Mutton
1/2 cup Raw papaya
For the Marinade
1 cup Yoghurt
1 tbsp Gram flour
200 gm Onions
3 tsp ginger paste
3 tsp Garlic paste
2 tsp Red chilli
6 strands Saffron
3-4 drops Yellow colour
1.5 cup Ghee
1 tbsp Salt
For the Stuffing
1.5 cups Cashew nuts
5 tsp Onion
4 tbsp Poppy seeds
1 tbsp Dry coconut
4 pods Green cardamom
2 pods Black cardamom
12 Black peppercorns
6 Cloves
1 Nutmeg
2 pieces Javitri
For the Garnish
10 chopped Almonds
2 Silver leaves


1. Generously smear the leg of the mutton with raw papaya, rubbing it in so that the mutton soaks in the juice. Marinate for two hours.
2. Grind the cashew nuts, onion seeds and poppy seeds along with the grated coconut to a paste. Separately grind green and black cardamoms, peppercorns, cloves, nutmeg and mace. Mix these with the cashew paste.
3. Mix the yoghurt, red chilli powder, onion paste, ginger and garlic pastes, saffron and the yellow colour along with the gram flour and salt. Apply this marinade evenly on the leg of mutton and let it marinate for two hours.
4. Place a lagan (a wide and heavy-bottomed utensil with a tight lid, often used in Lucknowi cooking) on a medium flame. Pour in the ghee and put the mutton leg in the pot along with the marinade.
5. Cover with its lid and put two or three burning charcoals in a metal bowl on top of it. Dum cook for 15–20 minutes. Remove the lid and turn the leg over, again cover and dum cook for 15 minutes until the meat becomes tender.
6. Remove the meat leg from the lagan and place on a large roast dish, garnish with the silver leaves and chopped almonds. Serve hot.