Shami Kebabs are soft, melt-in-mouth, tender pan-fried meat and lentil patties made with either mutton, lamb, beef or even chicken. Best served with a squeeze of lime juice and some red onion! Follow my easy Shami kabab recipe to learn how to make and shape the dough and also how to perfectly fry shami kebab.
Muslim Food Bloggers Challenge is completing two years now! And just like the first year celebration, we can pick or revisit any of the past month's challenges. So, yeah, not so proud as I have taken part in only two of them, Arabic sweets and Back to school lunch box ideas.
My shami kebab story
Mr F is an ardent meat eater and loves all things that Pakistanis make; from Shami to chapli, from Bihari to nihari...He has been eating that from some of the best places and so knows if what I made is anywhere close to it. Newly married, newly moved and newly cooking... and all I wanted was to make his favourite dish... nothing new there right? Shami Kebabs was one of the first disasters!
I remember how the kebabs used to just disintegrate into the oil or get soaked up with oil and taste well... oil. I gave up after trying a couple of times. But it was always in the back of my mind, sitting in some corner of my brain along with a few random thoughts.
A lady in Yanbu's FB group offered to make Shami kababs on order during Ramadan! Can you imagine my joy! Yes, I have never tasted shami kebabs before that! We ordered both chicken and mutton shami kebabs to see us through the month. 🙂 When I went to fetch my order, I shared my predicament with making these patties and to my surprise, she was more than willing to give me the ratio and the tips😊. She definitely motivated me to give Shami Kebabs another try...
October 2018 is the month I made plenty of shami kebabs. Started with lamb, mutton, and chicken thighs and last week I ended up making another batch with chicken breasts... well which was not at all planned. I wanted to make Kerala-style chicken cutlets but ran out of curry leaves 😆 As the chicken was already defrosted, I made Shami Kebab again. 😜 So this is a perfect shami kebab recipe and definitely fail-proof.
What is Shami Kebab?
Let me tell you what is NOT shami kebab. Soggy with oil and not holding shape, cakey and hard, dry and flavourless. How it should be? A perfect shami kebab holds the shape and yet melts in the mouth.
Shami Kebab is part of the Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi cuisines and is a very popular snack throughout the year. It is made with beef, lamb or mutton, and even chicken along with split chickpeas and spices. They are often garnished with lemon, sliced raw onions as a side salad, and some like it with mint coriander chutney.
Now, why am I calling it easy? If you have a jar of Pakistani Garam Masala and ginger-garlic paste, then this recipe gets easier than it already is.
On the note of garam masala, I would highly recommend making a jar of my Pakistani Garam Masala recipe or going for any North Indian garam masala recipe and using that for making Shami Kebabs.
- Meat: boneless lamb, mutton or beef or chicken thighs
- split chickpeas
- Veggies: potatoes, red onion, ginger, garlic, coriander leaves, mint leaves, and green chillies
- Ground spices: garam masala and chilli flakes
- oil to fry
How to make?
Add all the dough ingredients into a heavy-bottomed pot. Pat dried choice of meat, soaked and drained lentil, potato, onion, ginger garlic paste and the spices. Add water as per the meat used. Refer recipe for details.
Cook for 45 minutes stirring occasionally. Add more hot water if required and continue to cook covered until no liquid remains and both meat and lentils are cooked thoroughly.
Keep it open to cool or transfer to a wide plate. DO NOT COVER THE POT until cooled completely to avoid moisture falling back into the mixture and making it wet.
Pulse and grind the mixture in batches until both meat and lentils come together.
Transfer the mixture to a clean bowl.
Use your hands to mix in the chopped coriander leaves, mint leaves, green chillies and onions.
Line the work area with a bowl of water, the dough and a lined tray. This setup will help you shape then kebabs in one go.
Dip both your hands in the bowl of water. Scoop a tablespoon or two of kebab dough and shape it the way you want keeping it thick evenly around ¼ inch.
How do you freeze Shami Kebab?
Place the shaped shami kebabs on a lined tray and freeze until hard.
Remove from the tray when frozen and transfer them to a box or ziplock bag. Freeze for upto 2 months.
When you want to fry frozen shami kebabs, you use them straight from the freezer. Do not thaw as it will get messy and not hold shape when you fry.
A short video on how to fry shami kebab
Fry shami kebabs after chilling or freezing for 30 minutes. Dip the patties in whisked egg and fry on medium flame. Flip and fry until both sides are golden. Takes around 2 to 3 minutes in total.
Transfer them to a kitchen tissue. Serve shami kebabs with lime wedges and sliced onions or green chutney.
Make Easy Shami Kebabs with your Favourite Meat
For the dough
- 500 grams boneless meat chicken thighs or lamb or beef
- 100 grams split chickpeas washed and soaked overnight (channa dal)
- 80-100 grams potato peeled and chunked (1 small)
- 125 grams red onions peeled and chunked (1 large)
- 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste 1 and ½ inch ginger and 9 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon chilli flakes 3 dried red chillies
- 1¼ teaspoon Pakistani Garam Masala ½ tablespoon cumin seeds, 1 black cardamom, 1-inch cinnamon stick and 3 cloves
- 1½ cup water For chicken thighs use only 1 cup of water. For chicken breast use ¾ cup of water
- Salt to taste
Add to the prepared dough
- Fresh coriander leaves chopped finely
- Fistful fresh mint leaves chopped finely
- 2 to 3 green chillies chopped finely
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
- 1 egg refer to notes
- cooking oil
Cook the meat
- Add all the ingredients listed under For the dough into a deep saucepot and heat on medium flame. Stir thoroughly and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover the pot and reduce the flame to low. Cook for 45 minutes stirring occasionally. Add more hot water if required and continue to cook covered until no liquid remains and both meat and lentils are cooked thoroughly.
- Switch off and keep it open to cool completely. If time crunch, transfer to a wide plate and let the mixture cool completely. DO NOT COVER THE POT until cooled completely to avoid moisture falling back into the mixture and making it wet.
Prepare the shami kebab dough
- Remove most of the whole spices if you have used whole spices else skip this step. Pulse and grind the mixture in batches until both meat and lentils come together.
- Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the coriander leaves, mint leaves and onions. Taste test one last time and adjust the salt and mix again. You may use your hand or mix the dough. Refrigerate the mixture for a good one hour.
Shape the shami kebab patties
- Line the work area with a bowl of water, the dough and a lined tray. Dip both your hands in the bowl of water. Take a heaped tablespoon of the kebab dough and shape it the way you want keeping it thick evenly around ¼ inch. Place the shaped patty on the tray and repeat for the remaining dough.
- Place the tray in the freezer and let it freeze completely and then transfer the patties to a ziplock bag and use as you need. If you want to fry it immediately, let it freeze just for 15 to 20 minutes.
Fry the shami Kababs
- Heat cooking oil in a flat shallow pan on low to medium flame. Whisk one egg in a small bowl. Take a frozen or chilled Shami kebab and dip it in the egg and place it in the hot oil carefully. Repeat as much as the pan can hold. Do not crowd the pan as you will need some space to help you flip them neatly.
- Scoop some hot oil and pour it on the top side of each shami kebab. Flip them carefully and cook until both sides are golden around 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer them to a kitchen tissue. Serve shami kebabs with lime wedges and sliced onions or green chutney. Watch more video clips on my Instagram highlights.