The shikampuri kebabs are a well-kept secret of the Nizams of Hyderabad that need more attention than shamis and galoutis.
Of all the states well-known for their kebabs, Delhi and Lucknow top the list. Given the culinary invasions of Shahjahanabad and the Mughal rule in Delhi as well as the Nawabi kitchens of Lucknow, it is but natural that succulent kebabs are coming to us from their path. The origin of kebabs is believed to have Middle-Eastern or Arabic origins, where the kebabs were brought to Indian soil much before the Mughals established their empire in the country. The chewy and chunky kebabs were replaced by soft and juicy ones when the Mughals laid their hands on our sone ki chidiya.
The largely vegetarian population of India couldn’t have been the grilling ground for kebabs, so it was brought by the invaders and settlers. The fan fare of galouti, shami and tunday kebabs is no stranger to us. Once you set foot in the city of Lucknow, each street would be brimming with the aroma of these freshly-prepared kebabs. However, there’s another spot on the kebab map of India that you might have missed out on. Andhra Pradesh. Take a quick recap of the historical lineage of Hyderabad and you’d recall how the Nizams ruled the land for several years.
Confluence of cultures and intermingling of ideas, practices and tastes are bound to happen in such a scenario. What the Nizams of Hyderabad left with us were the Shikampuri kebabs. These soft and moist kebabs have a special tale of their own that needs to be heard.
Shikampuri Kebabs Have Something To Say
Once you take a bite of these melt-in-your-mouth kebabs, you would be forced to wonder where they came from. The kebabs derive their etymology from the Urdu words shikam meaning belly and pur meaning full. The satiating and fulfilling feeling that you get after eating these kebabs gives them their interesting name. The regal flavours of the kebabs owe themselves to the combination of Indian and foreign flavours.
Meats were a huge part of Mughal cuisine. Nizams too loved having meaty delicacies on their tables during meals. Shikampuris kebabs were developed during the patronage of the Nizam of Hyderabad. Though there is no clarity on when and where the kebabs took birth, it is believed that these kebabs got their smoky flavour from a unique cooking technique. The kebabs were prepared on a stone that was heated using wood fire. Due to this method of preparation on heated stones, the dish also came to be known as Patthar kebabs.
Tasting The Regal Flavours
The hot and fiery flavours of the cuisine of Andhra Pradesh are replicated really well in these kebabs. The distinct smoky aroma adds a tantalising element to the whole dish. The kebabs are stuffed with hung curd and fried onions which have been finely chopped along with the core mixture of chana dal and minced mutton. The dough takes the shape of meat patties which are shallow-fried in oil along with some green chillies and coriander. Oftentimes, the flavour of the kebabs has been compared to shami kebabs but the distinction lies in the sourness and spiciness of these shikampuri kebabs.
Pair the kebabs with some onion rings and mint chutney and your perfect meal is ready.