These cutlets, or burra kebabs, are usually grilled over hot coals, but they lend themselves really well to a barbecue.
My grandmother recorded three different recipes for this dish. I noticed that the three different marinades were quite different. One in vinegar, one in oil, one in yoghurt. If you keep these separate, you have can three cutlets on a plate, with three different marinades. Despite the preparation differences this makes a wonderful dish. Each cutlet has a quite different taste.
This dish is yet another example of the Mughal influence. This technique of grilling marinated meat over hot coals was introduced to India by the Mughals. It is now common, particularly in Awadhi and other northern Indian cuisines. It was the origin of tanduri cooking.
These kebabs are a common street food in Lucknow. Each vendor has their own marinade and grills them in front of you over red-hot coals. Typically the bone is wrapped in grease-proof paper and used as the handle whilst you eat it.
We always serve this with kachumber, as described in the recipe below.
You will need to start this recipe at least the day before to marinate the cutlets.
- 12 lamb cutlets - frenched (see notes)
to cook the cutlets
- 1 lime - juiced
- 1 tsp salt
- Prick the lamb cutlets several times with a fork. Set aside.
for marinade one
- Place all the ingredients for the first marinade in a blender and blend to a smooth paste. Place into a small bowl and set aside.
for marinade two
- Heat a pan over medium heat, add the whole spices for the second marinade, and fry for two minutes, or until spices darken, and become aromatic.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Grind the spices to a fine powder, add to a small bowl with the turmeric and yoghurt, and mix well. Set aside.
for marinade three
- Heat a pan over medium heat, add the whole spices for the third marinade, and fry for two minutes, or until spices darken, and become aromatic.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Grind the spices to a fine powder, add to a small bowl with the garam masala and oil, and mix well. Set aside.
to prepare the cutlets
- Place four cutlets into each of the bowls with the marinades. Work the marinades into the meat, then cover, and refrigerate. Allow the cutlets to marinate at least overnight; longer is better.
- Remove cutlets from refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature.
- Preheat BBQ or grill to highest setting.
- Shake any excess marinade off each cutlet, and place on the BBQ or under the grill. Once on the grill or BBQ, distribute any remaining marinade over the tops of the cutlets, ensuring you do not mix up the marinades. One should be red, one dark, and one light. Cook for three minutes.
- Turn the cutlets. Sprinkle with the salt and pour over the lime juice. Cook for three minutes.
- Once cooked, remove from the heat, and allow to rest for another three minutes. The cutlets should be slightly charred on the outside – particularly those in the yoghurt marinade – but quite pink on the inside. The resting process will even out the cooking. If pink meat is a problem, increase the cooking time by about a minute a side.
- Prepare four individual plates by dividing the kachumber, and placing into the middle of each plate.
- Carefully stand one of each different cutlet on the kachumber. Sprinkle with red chilli slices, garam masala and coriander leaves. Serve.
- Ask the butcher to prepare the cutlets from the largest lamb racks they have and ask them to trim the fat from the bone. Many butchers will call this "frenching".
- This recipe is best done on a barbecue, which will give that slightly smoky flavour.
- Gingelly oil is Indian sesame oil. It is very different to the Asian sesame oil. Substitute with vegetable oil if unobtainable.