Decoding Galauti Masala – By Chef Kunal Kapur

For years I was intrigued by the most fabled of the kebabs…The Galauti kebab. It is perhaps the only kebab that is shrouded in complete mystery and still is a piece de resistance. And the most important of all the masala mix, the heart of the kebab, The Galauti ka masala is camouflaged with mother of all mysteries. Really what is Galauti kebab and what is Galauti Masala? Why so much secrecy about and around it?

A popular version of the Galauti explains that any meat that has “Gilavat’(tenderizer) is a Galavat Ka Kebab and Galauti kebab falls in the category of galavat kebab. Legend has it that this melt in the mouth delicacy was made for the ageing Nawab who loved meat but could not chew. Another goes something like this; a British general on a feast at the nawabs palace complained of the coarse texture of the meat and in order to impress him gilavat kebab was made. It was so soft in texture that the general could eat with his lips.

This legendary kebab has a deep meaty flavour with over tones of floral fragrances, spiked with chilli and cooked in oodles of fat. It is a kebab so good that a lot of chefs have made their careers out of just this kebab. Even today in the 21st century the culinary might of an Indian chef is when he can pull off the perfect Galauti every time. But the biggest question here is how Galauti masala is made.

I clearly remember as a Taj management trainee working in the Indian kitchens more than a decade ago, the Galauti ka masala was the most protected commodity, saffron was always no 2. The Galauti ka masala was at any time locked up in a special drawer the keys to which were only with the Masterchef. Every third day at half past midnight, when all the kitchen staff had left the Masterchef along with his trusted “Chela”(pupil) would bring out the spice box and mix together with his andaaza the super secretive Galauti masala and will then keep in it in an air tight container marked “do not touch—By Order Masterchef”. This would then go to his drawer completely locked and in the morning he would use it to make the mighty kebab. No one was allowed to look into the making of the masala and at no point any facts about the ingredients would be divulged.

Now that’s a different story how I managed to take the “Chela” out for a couple of rounds of beer and got out the ingredients list. But I still lost because the Masterchef would still carry a blend of potli masala in his pocket which even the chela did not access to.

A very close friend of mine Chef Ajay Chopra, Executive chef of the Westin Mumbai went several steps further and as humble he is, approached the grandson of tundae miyan in Lucknow to ask about the Galauti masala mix. The otherwise very gentle face of the Tundae Miyan Jr. turned various hues before lashing out at him…”Bhago yahan se…yeh hamari jayadat hai, issae hum batatae nahi!!!! (Run off…this is our family wealth and we don’t share it.)

But determined as ever he is, he waited for 4 days and turned himself up again only to ask for a job as a daily help. After cleaning plates and tables for several days he managed to befriend the person who made the masala and got the recipe BUT as the fate goes a spice mix of 4-5 spices every afternoon would come from the Tundae Miyan’s house which the ladies of the house ground as a religion daily. Now that he could never get.Really why so much fuss, so I decided to decode the Galauti Masala recipe. There is one that Ajay managed to get and with his experience and travel he has created an almost identical recipe of the masala. I will share this with you also I will share a recipe of the masala that I learned from another Masterchef during my training days in Lucknow. But I will have to admit that this recipe uses ingredients that are used in ayurvedic and unani medicines. Most of these ingredients are not allowed to be used in our regular food as per the food law. So I don’t recommend that you use this recipe at all, it is only as a reference.

Recipe 1 Galouti masala

Ingredients

  • Pan Ki jad 30gm
  • Khus ki jad 40gm
  • Rose petals 10gm
  • Peppercorn 20gm
  • Black cardamom 10gm
  • Green cardamom 10gm
  • Clove 10gm
  • Cinnamon 15gm
  • Mace 5gm
  • Fennel 5gm
  • Coriander seed 100gm
  • Cumin 50 gms
  • Pathar ke phool 10gm
  • Star anise 5gm
  • Nutmeg 1nos
  • Red chilli powder 10gm
  • Pipli 10 gms
  • Pipla 8gms
  • Carom seeds 5 gms
  • Shahi jeera 05 gms

Method

Broil all the above ingredients and grind to powder.

Recipe 2 (for ref only do not try at home)

Best meat for Galauti is the meat covering the last 5 ribs of the goat.

Galouti masala

Ingredients

  • Ashwagandha
  • Balchad
  • Chandan burada
  • Kebabchini
  • Rose petals
  • Pan ki jad
  • Rampatri
  • Khus Ki jad
  • Rajgeera
  • Shahi jeera
  • Lajwanti
  • Coriander seed
  • Pathar ke phool
  • Peppercorn
  • Black cardamom
  • Green cardamom
  • Clove
  • Cinnamon
  • Mace
  • Star anise
  • Nutmeg
  • Pipli

They say some times luck favors those who wait. When I was the chef at Radisson Noida, a very quaint and humble gentleman approached me for a job. Allauddin Shah as he was called worked for about 8 years at the Tundae Miyan and now was looking for a job. Well his specialization was only 2 things —Parantha and Kebab…errrr…”Galauti kebab”. So what I have is a great recipe of Galauti kebab which runs successfully every evening at my Indian restaurant at The Leela, Gurgaon. The recipe for which shall yet be a mystery for someone to decode from me.