Shammi kebabs for Christmas snacking

Mallika Basu - Shammi kebabs for Christmas snacking


shami-kebabs-small.jpgShami kebabs are nibbles just made for party snacking. And as it’s that time of the year, when we ditch our size zero diets and eat like pigs on speed what better than a super easy, super moreish kebab to tempt our overactive tastebuds?

I learnt how to make these on my recent trip to India. My friend Alka who hates cooking made these for me, which is really saying something. I then got the recipe off my mum’s red-lipstick and kaftan-wearing, chain-smoking friend Litu mashi over a cup of tea and three samosas. Size zero diet has not been going well for a while now…

Shami kebabs are from that staple house of Indian cooking known as Mughlai food. Handed down from the Moghal Emperors who ruled India yonks ago, it is a rich and luxurious style of muslim cooking ever-popular in India.

My recipe made about 12, which hubby and I went through in seconds. The best thing about these is that you can make them in advance and reheat in a microwave when ready to serve. Always have them hot though.

Makes 12:

250gms lean beef or chicken mince
Quarter cup chana lentils, soaked in cold water
Half tsp turmeric
Quarter tsp chilli powder
Half tsp garam masala
1 onion, chopped fine
1″ ginger, chopped roughly
1 large bay leaf
1″ cinnamon
3 cloves
3 cardamoms
1 green chilli
3 tsp flavourless oil
1 egg, beaten
1 cup hot water
Salt to taste

Soak the chana dhal for at least an hour before you start cooking. Heat 1 teaspoon of oil, and fry the onions, then ginger and all the whole spices (bay leaf, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon).

When the onion starts going translucent, add the mincemeat, chana dhal and all the other masalas and the chopped green chilli, and stir viciously until the meat is brown all over.

Now add the water and boil until the chana is cooked (you will know when it’s soft and squidgy to taste) and the water completely evaporates.

Leave the mixture to cool slightly. Then add salt to taste and grind it in a food processor. Don’t worry if a few pieces of channa dal are whole, this will only add character to the kebabs.

Now take meatball size amounts and shape into flat discs. Heat the remaining two teaspoons of oil. Then dip each side of the kebabs in the beaten egg and shallow fry in batches until golden brown on either side.

These are great with mint chutney and tomato ketchup.

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