If you are just getting into the wonderful world of kabab-making, these are the easiest ones to start with.

Shami kabab is well loved not least because it is one of the easier kababs to make. While producing good kababs generally requires special grilling, charring or tandoori techniques, shami kabab can be easily prepared at home with no special equipment. Popular on the Indian subcontinent, this snack resembles a pan-fried, ground-meat patty. It is best made with a lean, boneless red meat of your choice (mutton, beef, lamb, etc.). It is important that the meat has a low fat but high muscle content. Fat within the meat tends to melt the kabab when it is fried, while we want it to hold itself together. More muscle and fibre, on the other hand, will ensure that the meat has some texture when it is ground, providing a satisfying resistance with each bite. The use of chhola’r dal (split Bengal gram) adds nuttiness. Besides that, the other flavours come from chopped mint leaves, green chillies, garam masala, and ghee. We use a beaten egg to bind everything together. Depending on the recipe, such kababs may sometimes be coated in eggs or bread crumbs before they are fried. We, however, fry them directly so that the meat itself forms a rich, brown, caramelised crust.


COOKING TIME 2 hours
YIELDS 16–17 kababs


Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 kg Boneless mutton or beef (lean)
200 g Chhola’r dal (split Bengal gram)
100 g Onions
30 g Ginger
20 g Garlic
4 pcs Bay leaves
8 pcs Dried red chillies
16 g Green chillies
10 g Mint leaves
30 g Raisins
10 g Lime juice
4 g Shahi garam masala
5 g Ghee
1 Beaten egg
20 Salt
~ 200 g Vegetable oil (1-cm deep, for frying)

Equipment

  • Boiling pot
  • Flat frying pan | skillet
  • Jhhajhhri | perforated frying spoon
  • Jhuri | draining rack | colander

Method

  1. Wash and soak chhola’r dal overnight. Drain the water in the morning.
  2. In a boiling pot, add the boneless meat cut into 3-cm cubes, soaked dal, roughly chopped onions, ginger and garlic, bay leaves, dried red chillies, and salt. Add about 400 g water and set the pot to boil. For this dish, the meat needs to be absolutely tender, but remain dry. It’s best, therefore, to add water a little at a time and keep an eye on the pot so that the bottom doesn’t catch, and yet there’s no extra water. Once the meat has cooked (this should take about 60 to 90 minutes depending on the meat and your location), on high heat dry off any excess water.
  3. Pick out the bay leaves from the pot and discard them.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a grinder jar and grind it on the lowest setting until it is uniform. You may need to scrape the sides of your jar a couple of times. Remember that a good shami kabab has texture. Your grind should not be too smooth or pasty. Rather, the meat fibres should still be visible.
  5. Transfer this ground mixture to a mixing bowl. Add chopped green chillies, chopped mint leaves, raisins, lime juice, shahi garam masala powder, ghee, and a beaten egg. Mix everything together thoroughly by hand.
  6. Portion the mixture into balls weighing 60 g each. Apply some ghee on your palms so the mixture doesn’t stick to them and form discs 6 cm in diameter, making sure to patch up as many cracks as you can. This will prevent breakage while frying.
  7. On medium flame, heat your flat frying pan or skillet. Once hot, add vegetable oil, about 1 cm deep. For a good crust, its level should reach half the height of the kabab. Once the oil is about 180°C, gently lower the kababs one by one. Do not crowd the pan; fry no more than 4 to 5 kababs at a time.
  8. Fry each side for about 2 minutes until they are brown. Drain from the oil on to a perforated vessel to keep them crisp.

Served with

  • Coriander and coconut chutney
  • Mint and yoghurt chutney
  • Tomato ketchup
  • Salad (onions, cucumber and tomatoes)
  • Slider buns