Shami Kebab
Serves: 18 depending on size
A favourite Ramadan kebab made with ground meat and lentils.
  • 1½ pounds/680g boneless beef
  • ¼ cup/60g split yellow lentils, chana daal
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 6 cardamom pods
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon red cayenne powder
  • 2 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, minced
  • 2 or 3 eggs (depends if your meat mixture binds or not)
  • ¼ cup red onion/shallot, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  • 3 cups water
  • oil to shallow fry,(coconut, grape seed or avocado)
  • 2 teaspoon kala zeera/ black cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom pods,
  • 2 black cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon whole black pepper,
  • ½ teaspoon whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks.
  1. Grind all the garam masala spices together and store in a clean jar.
  2. The recipe can be doubled and tripled.
  3. Use this in biryanis or these kebabs.
  1. The quickest and easiest way to tenderise the meat is in a pressure cooker.
  2. You can boil the meat on the stove top until it is very tender.
  3. Put the meat cubes, spices, garlic and ginger in the pressure cooker and cook according to your cooker instructions.
  4. I pressure cooked mine for 30 minutes so it was very tender.
  5. Once the meat is cooked, pull out the cubes of cooked meat and drain from the liquid and whole spices.
  6. Allow to cool a little.
  7. Cook the chana daal separately.
  8. Some people cook the daal and meat together, but I have never had much success with that method.
  9. You can cook the daal in the pressure cooker also, should take about ⅞ minutes.
  10. You don't want it too mushy or liquidy, just very soft.
  11. The end kebab mixture should not be too soft because it will have a hard time binding and forming into patties.
  12. So, the daal has to be soft but intact.
  13. I process the daal in the food processor first and then add the meat once the daal is mashed.
  14. Once the meat is chopped fine and mixed with the daal into a dough, tip out into a bowl.
  15. Add the chopped onions, cilantro and green chilli.
  16. Check for salt and add as needed.
  17. Mix through.
  18. Add 2 eggs and mix into the meat dough.
  19. Form into an oval patty about 3 inches long or as big as you want.
  20. If the patty has a hard time keeping its shape, add another egg.
  21. Form the rest of the patties.
  22. You can freeze uncooked patties or cook them and then freeze them.
  23. If cooking right away, heat the oil in a fry pan, less than ½ inch (1.25 cm) and fry a few patties at a time.
  24. When one side is brown, flip and brown the other side.
  25. Serve with mint chutney, hot sauce as a snack or part of a dinner or breakfast.
The choice of meat is personal preference. My mother used mutton when she made her kebabs but I usually use boneless beef. I have also made these with boneless chicken.
Recipe by Coffee and Crumpets at