Kakori kabab which is also called Seekh Kabab has long been considered as a principal dish in the Awadhi Dastarkhwan - a meticulously laid-out ceremonial dining spread. It is one of the food that every Lucknowi is proud

of. Kakori kabab was introduced in this region by the Mughals and was originally prepared from minced beef on skewers and cooked on charcoal fire. But later influences and innovations led to the use of minced lamb which was preferred for its soft texture. Besides, serving it on the Dastarkhwan did not offend the sensibilities of the Hindu guests. Its immense popularity of led to further refinements and improvements and one bawarchi (a cook) from Kakori found much acclaim for his efforts in this direction. Kakori is a small hamlet on the outskirts of Lucknow, in the Lucknow-Malihabad mango belt. During the freedom struggle, it become well-known for the famous "Kakori Case" when a band of freedom fighters looted the train carrying the British Treasury money at this obscure place. In the same period of British rule, it was also customary in this region for the rich Rajas and Nawabs to entertain senior British officers and ply them with the best hospitality they could offer. And if it was the mango season, a mango dinner was very much in order (dinner in a mango orchard, was followed by a variety of chilled mangoes served in great style). At one such party in Kakori, stung by the remark of a British officer regarding the coarse texture of Seekh Kabab, the host, the late Nawab Syed Mohammad Haider Kazmi summoned his rakabdars, hakims and attars the very next day and asked them to evolve a more refined variety of the Seekh Kabab. Ten days of incessant research and design efforts resulted in the now famous Kakori Kababs which were as far as perfection could go. The mince for the kabab was to be obtained from no other part but the "raan ki machhli" or the tendon of the leg of mutton and rawaz or animal fat was replaced by khoya, black pepper by white pepper and a brand new mix of powdered spices which still remains a closely guarded secret added to the perfect blend. And of course, the Nawab invited the same officer again and presented the new version of the Seekh Kabab and needless to say it met with great applause. Since then the Seekh Kababs of Kakori became famous by word of mouth until at present times. Kokori Kababs are grilled on a specially designed barbecue, on slow charcoal fire.

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