Tangy Hyderabadi Lukhmi, snack with no comparison
June 14 2018 09:26 PM
SPICY: Lukhmi is served as a starter in Hyderabad and specially during festive occasions. Photo by the author

During a recent trip to Dallas, Texas and a visit to a local restaurant, owned by a Hyderabadi entrepreneur, reminded me of a long lost dish - Lukhmi. It is always a great feeling to see people preparing their traditional food and serving them far away from their hometowns and carry the legacy forward. Lukhmi was the hot selling item in their menu and patrons used to flock for this delicacy. So what is Lukhmi? It is everything that can satisfy a true food connoisseur. It is a snack that has no comparison, It is spicy, tangy, lamb mince encased in flaky pastry, layered, crispy fried. Lukhmi is a bite sized snack, hence the name ‘Lukhmi’ derived from the word ‘Luqma’ meaning small bite. It is served as a starter in Hyderabad and specially during festive occasions.
Hyderabadi cuisine has the rich legacy of the Nizams and deep influence of Turkish, Mughal and Arabic cultures. The cuisine is rich, refined and involves dishes that are meticulously prepared and served in their traditional style. Even the day to day food is prepared and served as if it is a work of art. When Hyderabadi cuisine is mentioned, the first thing that comes to the mind is the Hyderabadi biryani, but there is much more than that. There is a long list of recipes and dishes that are on the verge of extinction due to the modern and busy lifestyle and availability of other common food items in supermarkets. Once found on the table in almost every Irani Café, the flavoured mince meat stuffed starter is slowly disappearing. Dishes like Lukhmi, Shikampuri kebab, Sheer khurma are few of them Lukhmi might appear to be a variation of popular samosa, another stuffed and deep fried savoury pastry from the region but they differ greatly. The moment you bite into the crisp, fluffy, light pastry of Lukhmi you will realise it is a class of its own.
The filling is traditionally made with lamb mince but you can also choose chicken or beef. Use as little oil as possible to cook the mince meat and cook till it is completely dry. Any excess liquid in the filling will make it difficult to prepare and pastry go soggy. When making lukhmi for Iftar or big gatherings, you can cook the minced meat ahead and freeze or refrigerate. You can also make the pastry dough in advance and refrigerate it covered with plastic wrap for a day or two. You can make your Lukhmi with your choice of meat like chicken, lamb or beef. Vegetable stuffing can also be prepared.
Keema Lukhmi

Serves 8
For the Lukhmi Pastry
All purpose flour 2 cups
Semolina ½ cup
Clarified butter 1/3 cup
Salt to taste
Warm water 1 cup
Oil to deep fry

For filling
Lamb mince 500 gm
Red onion, chopped 1 no.
Ginger garlic paste 2 tbsp
Red chili powder 1 tsp
Cumin powder 1 tsp
Coriander powder 1 tsp
Turmeric powder ½ tsp
Salt to taste
Lemon juice 2 tbsp
Coriander leaves, chopped ¼ cup
Mint leaves, chopped 1/2 cup
Green chili 2-3 no.
Oil 2 tbsp
Tamarind chutney to accompany
Mint chutney

To prepare the filling for Lukhmi, heat oil in a heavy bottom pan over medium heat
Add chopped onions, till they are light brown, add ginger garlic paste and sauté for few minutes
Add all the spices and add the mince meat and stir to avoid burning the meat
Reduce the heat and add water if required, cover and cook the meat till fully cooked
Drizzle lemon juice and ensure the mixture is dry, remove from flame
Sprinkle chopped coriander, mint and chopped green chili and keep aside
For the pastry, sift flour in a mixing bowl
Add semolina and salt, rub in clarified butter and add water gradually
Make a firm yet elastic dough, knead well to make the dough smooth, cover with plastic wrap and leave aside for 10 minutes
Divide the dough into equal sized dough balls
Flour a work top, flatten a dough ball onto the work top
Roll out a big, thin bread, brush clarified butter and dust flour and fold it like an envelope, roll again
Repeat this process two more times, you can allow the dough to rest in refrigerator between each fold for about 10 invites
Cut 3 inch square out of the rolled dough, place 1 tbsp of mince meat mixture in the centre
Brush the sides with water, Cover with another square or turn half of the triangle over the other half to make a triangular pastry
Press the edges with a dusted flour to seal the pastry
Repeat for the remaining dough and prepared filling
Heat oil in a very deep bottom pan over medium heat and fry 204 prepared Lukhmis to the hot oil, fry till light golden and puffed
Drain on a sieve to remove excess oil, serve hot immediately with mint chutney or tamarind chutney
Note: You can prepare the Lukhmi in advance and half fry them and then store them in freezer for later use. Just thaw them in microwave for a minute and then deep fry them to light golden brown colour.

* Chef Tarun Kapoor,   Culinary Mastermind,  USA. He may be contacted at [email protected]

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