Shami Kebabs
Recipe type: meat
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16-18 kebabs
Kebabs made with long simmered beef, lentils and spices, shaped and fried.
  • 1½ pounds/1 kg boneless beef cubes
  • ¼ cup chana daal/ yellow split pea lentils, rinsed and soaking
  • 1 teaspoon black cumin
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 7 green cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, minced or grated
  • 4-5 cups water, divided
  • 1 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh mint, finely chopped
  • ½ green chilli, finely chopped
  • 3 eggs
  • 1½ teaspoon sea salt or to taste
  • oil, for frying
  1. The quickest way to tenderise the meat and lentils is to use a pressure cooker.
  2. If you don't have a pressure cooker, we can cook it traditionally; it will just take longer.
  3. Most of the time is inactive while the meat slow cooks.
  4. First, grind up the whole spices in a spice grinder.
  5. Wash and soak the lentils till needed.
  6. In a medium Dutch oven (5qt), add the meat, all the spices and 2 cups of water (or to cover by an inch)
  7. Bring up to a boil and then turn down the temperature to low.
  8. Cover the pot and let simmer.
  9. The meat will take 2 to 3 hours to tenderise depending on the cut of meat used.
  10. Check on the meat periodically to ensure there's enough water and to check the doneness.
  11. Add a cup of water after an hour, the drained lentils and the garlic and ginger
  12. If the meat is still pretty tough, cook for another hour, add another cup of water if needed.
  13. Check to see if the meat is tender and the lentils soft.
  14. If not add a ½ cup more water if needed and continue cooking.
  15. Once the meat is tender and the lentils are soft, uncover the pot and cook until the mixture is dry.
  16. Stir occasionally to prevent catching,
  17. Once the meat and lentils are soft and tender and the moisture has evaporated, pull off the heat and allow to cool.
  18. While still warm, place the cooked lentils and meat in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely chopped, almost paste like.
  19. Remove the chopped meat and lentils into large bowl.
  20. Season with salt to taste.
  21. In same processor bowl, add your onions and pulse till finely chopped.
  22. Remove into the bowl with meat and lentils.
  23. Pulse the cilantro and mint and green chilli.
  24. Add to the bowl.
  25. Crack in 3 eggs.
  26. Mix everything together into a meat dough.
  27. Take golf ball size balls of dough and shape into patties or ovals.
  28. Place on a plate lined with wax paper until ready to fry.
  29. You can shape the patties ahead of time and place them on a wax paper lined tray or plate and freeze or refrigerate.
  30. Heat up a large skillet or cast iron pan, add ½ cup oil to shallow fry.
  31. Place the kebab patties gently into the hot oil and fry until brown and crispy on one side, and flip and brown the other side.
  32. Drain on paper towels and serve.
PRESSURE COOKER: in a pressure cooker, add the meat, spices and 2 cups of water and cook for 20 minutes according to your cooker instructions. Carefully release the steam, and add the lentils and garlic and ginger to the cooker and ½ cup more water. Pressure cook for another 15 minutes.
Release the pressure and check to see if meat and lentils are tender.
Remove the cover and cook until almost dry, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
Recipe by Coffee and Crumpets at