Kebabs have been an integral part of my life. It is one of those dishes that can lift my mood instantly. Growing up, my favourite treat was the Bihari kebab. They are bigger pieces and also spicier, unlike other versions in the country. It also has a special place in kebab legacy and hierarchy for me because I grew up enjoying these succulent and spicy offerings... It is this flavourful kebab that made Nawab Wajid Ali Shah of Lucknow, who was losing his teeth, order his khansamas to make him a kebab that could be consumed easily. It resulted in the delicious and popular galawati kebab of Lucknow. But I can guarantee that once you eat a Bihari kebab, there will be no turning back.

  • Serves


  • Cook Time


    Plus 12 hours for marination


For the kebab garam masala (A)

  • 12 dried red chillies
  • 10 green cardamoms
  • 6 black cardamoms
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 tbsp whole coriander
  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 4 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 2 tsp kebabchini
  • 2 tsp fennel
  • 1 tsp mace
  • ½ tsp nutmeg

For the kebabs

  • 1½ kg buff chunk or lamb, thinly sliced and pounded
  • ¾ cup yoghurt
  • ¾ cup raw papaya with skin, finely grated
  • ¾ cup fried onions
  • ¾ cup mustard oil (optional)
  • 4 tsp ginger, freshly grated
  • 4 tsp garlic, chopped
  • 4 tsp Bihari kebab garam masala
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder, or to taste
  • 2 tsp poppy seeds
  • 1½ tsp cumin powder, roasted
  • 1 tsp nutmeg powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • Salt to taste


  1. On a hot pan, dry roast all the whole spices (A) till they release their fragrance. Then, grind it into a fine powder to make the kebab garam masala.
  2. In a clean bowl, add all the leftover ingredients, oil and four teaspoons of the kebab garam masala. Mix it to a smooth paste and massage it properly on to the meat.
  3. Let the meat sit for at least 10-12 hours.
  4. Stick the meat onto an iron skewer and grill on an open flame, ensuring to apply ghee at regular intervals till the kebabs are cooked. If you don’t have a barbeque, grill the kebabs on a normal pan.
  5. Serve with fresh onion slices and green chutney.

Excerpted with permission from Daastan-e-Dastarkhan, Sadaf Hussain, Hachette India.

Sadaf Hussain

Sadaf Hussain

Sadaf Hussain is the author of Daastan-e-Dastarkhan, a consultant chef based in Delhi, and a TEDx speaker. He was one of the top MasterChef India contestants in 2016. He is a passionate storyteller and his interest lies in discovering stories related to the origin of various kinds of food. He runs a food website,, and hosts online food shows that feature street food and rare dishes.

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