The Fascinating History Of Lucknow's Tunday Kabab

It is said that Tunday Kabab is made with the secret recipe which apparently is the combination of 160 spices.

It would be near impossible to find someone who hasn’t at least heard of Lucknow’s famous Tunday Kababs. Not many however know the origin of this delicacy.

Initially, Tunday kababs didn’t have the buttery melt-in-your-mouth texture it’s now known for. In fact, till the 17th century, kababs are described as chewy. But everything changed after Nawab Asaf-ud Daula asked his cooks to re-invent the delicacy after losing teeth, making his favourite dish rather difficult to eat.

The nawab was a food connoisseur and to ensure he could continue eating kababs, he organised a competition and announced that the person who serves him the softest kababs would enjoy royal patronage. Many chefs participated in the contest, but it was Haji Murad Ali who got the nawab’s approval.

But why it is called Tunday Kabab?

According to Haji Murad Ali’s son Haji Rais Ahmad, the chef (Haji Murad Ali) lost his left hand while flying kite on the terrace. In colloquial lingo, a person with hand disability was called ‘tunday’, and so when Haji Murad Ali won the contest, his kababs became famous as ‘Tunday Kababs’.

Tunday Kabab is made with a secret recipe which apparently is a combination of 160 spices. The secret recipe was passed on to his son Haji Rais Ahmad after Murad’s demise.


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Craving for some? Here’s where you can still get the original taste of kababs

In 1905, Haji Murad Ali opened a shop named ‘Tunday Kababy’ in the crossroads of the Chowk area in Lucknow. Over the years many competing food chains were established in different areas. However, earlier this year the Delhi High Court ruled that the ‘Tunday Kababi’ name belongs exclusively to Muhammad Usman, the grandson of Haji Murad Ali ‘Tunday’ in Lucknow.