I love Middle Eastern food and think their kabobs are the best! When I was pregnant with my son, I had developed an aversion to chicken and even the smell of it made me want to throw up. Hence cooking chicken at home was a definite No No. Then one day we came across this Pakistani restaurant close to the apartment where we lived at that time and the lovely aroma coming out of that small place made me stop there and so we packed Dal, rice and a platter of seekh kababs! Oh boy was that one lovely dinner or what? …I ate like a pig in a long time! (Btw I started just writing this post without meaning it to be a Mother’s day post and then realized that this could be actually a good Mother’s day post after all since it has my pregnancy reference ! – So Happy Mother’s day to all of you ! 🙂 So over the years I have tried to make kababs but I found making them in that seekh kabob shape to be challenging as they would invariably fall apart. I have also seen recipes where the ground chicken (keema) is first cooked with the spices and then further minced a second time through a food processor to get a really fine paste. then egg or cooked lentils can be used to bind the paste together . But you know me, right? Although I don’t always shy away from a difficult recipe, whenever possible I am also looking to make things easier for myself.! So I came up with this small rounded patty version and later on learnt that these rounded version of kabobs are called ‘shaami kababs'(although traditionally they are also first cooked and then made into rounded shapes and grilled further). So Shaami or Seekh kabobs, whatever..what’s in a name! These are so delectable that I don’t care what anyone calls them. They are perfect as an appetizer especially when you have a large gathering (always a huge crowd pleaser! ) or for a simple home meal accompanied with rice and dal, which is how we like to eat it most of the times! Since this is a crowd pleaser, I will be bringing these to Fiesta Friday too! 🙂
Now, before reading the recipe , here’s a warning : I put green chillies in these because my husband and I both like the kick that it gives when you bite into one of those. Indians love heat in their food! However for those with a ‘not so adventurous’ palate, I recommend that you skip these or you will be cursing me non stop (and for several hours that too! 🙂 )
Chicken Mince Kababs (Shaami kababs)
2 lbs ground chicken,thawed completely at room temperature
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger (Add less if you want less spicy)
3 tbsp finely chopped garlic(about 10-12 cloves)
4-5 green chillies(or 1 halopeno chili)),finely chopped (AVOID if you can’t handle the heat!)
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves,finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (red chilli powder)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp kabab masala*(optional)
2 tsp freshly roasted cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
2 tbsp lime juice
Light olive oil or any other cooking oil for shallow frying
Take the ground chicken in a large mixing bowl. (Make sure it is completely thawed and make sure to dab dry with paper towel to remove any water)
Next add all the other ingredients into the bowl with the chicken. (Make sure you have chopped everything really really fine!)
Then using a spatula or your hands mix the chicken with all the spices and the other ingredients so that it is uniformly mixed.
Heat a large frying pan with some oil and then make small rounded patties of the ground mixture and cook on medium heat for about 2 minutes on one side and then flipping them to cook on the other side for an additional 2 mins or so. (Make sure you do not overcook them or they will get hard on top!) Remove onto plate with paper towel to drain off excess oil.
You can also cook these in the oven by cooking under Broil setting for about 5-7 minutes total brushing them with oil on top and then flipping them over after 4 minutes or so. You have to be constantly checking these though as they can easily get overcooked.
*Kabab masala: I add this to get an additional burst of flavor – You can get this at Middle Eastern/Pakistani grocers and the ingredients in this are black pepper, cinnamon,clove,dry mango powder,fenugreek leaves.
Do not overcook the kabobs or the outer covering will become thick. You should remove them as soon as they are done.
Fresh cilantro,lime and cumin I believe are the three main ingredients in this and so the other spices you can add per your taste. Use freshly roasted cumin powder for the best taste by roasting cumin seeds in a pan for a couple minutes and then grinding them.