The weekend before Christmas, Trace and I got together with some long time friends for a couples night out. It’s so nice to go somewhere with adults! It was a perfect evening for a date night; the snow was falling, it was cool and crisp but not horrendously cold, and just very festive all around.
We chose to meet at a British pub in downtown Denver called The British Bulldog. I like this place for a number of reasons:
- It’s called the British Bulldog
- It’s a pub (even though I don’t drink, that evening they had a great mulled cider)
- It has great food
- They show British football games (complete with the yobs that come with that whole scene)
What’s great about their menu is that along with the traditional British pub fare, they have quite a good selection of Pakistani/Indian food. I am sure you know that Indian food is very popular in the UK and so finding this menu at the pub was no big surprise to me. We’ve come enough times for me to have tried almost everything on the Indian menu, except for the lamb and that’s not going to happen anytime soon. They also have proper chips.
I ordered a chicken masala dish which was excellent and I love how they don’t skimp on the heat. It’s perfectly spiced. My friend, Chris, ordered the Chapli kebabs which are a North Pakistani/Afghani kebab. They are called Chapli because they supposedly resemble the sole of a sandal (chappal). Thankfully, they aren’t named after the texture of the sole of a sandal!
I have yet to find an authentic Chapli kebab recipe and it just could be that it’s different regionally. Once, I have perfected mine to my liking, I will share it with y’all. One characteristic of the Chapli kebab is the tomato slice stuck to one side of the kebab before it is fried. However, I’ve also seen the tomatoes diced into the meat mixture and some, like the Bulldog, do not use any at all. They, however, use dried pomegranate in theirs.
Now, as you can imagine, here I am sitting eating my chicken masala and yet, my mind is churning wondering how fresh pomegranate arils would work in a kebab recipe. This particular recipe has been knocking around in my head for a couple of weeks now and I only managed to make it the other day.
It had been undergoing some refinement in my head and finally, having swapped out the minced beef for chicken and some additional spices, here it is, Pomegranate Chicken Kebabs. I also ended up moving away from an Indian spiced kebab to a more Persian/Moroccan one.
Ok, so these kebabs aren’t life changing or anything, but they are pretty good and they’re different. If you like your kebabs smooth and without texture, then these aren’t for you. Why? Well, because they have pomegranate seeds and a lot of sweet crunchy texture.
They are not overly spiced but what’s in there adds a background flavour and if you are a saffron fan, they are fragrant and heady. I am not a huge saffron fan, but I liked the addition. These also release a bit of juice which is great drizzled over the rice.
I fried my first test batch; they don’t take long and you don’t need a lot of oil. They do splatter a bit but you can prop a lid or a screen. The second test batch, I broiled them and they also turned out well. Of course, the fried ones are a tad bit juicier. Surprisingly, the pomegranate seeds managed to stay embedded. I think I lost only four my entire batch. The patty shape works better here than a long kebab purely because of the pomegranate seeds.
- 2 lbs/1 Kg ground chicken
- 1 cup pomegranate arils, about one pomegranate
- ½ small red onion, medium dice
- 1 green chilli, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon turmeric, ground
- 1 teaspoon cumin, ground
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ground
- ½ teaspoon all spice, ground
- 1 teaspoon dried mint
- 1 teaspoon salt
- generous pinch saffron
- generous handful, chopped fresh mint
- oil to fry
- Pretty easy!
- Mix everything together and shape into patties.
- You can make the mix ahead and chill in the fridge until ready to cook.
- Wet your hands with some water before shaping, makes it easier.
- If you're frying the patties, pour a a thin layer of oil in a fry pan and shallow fry the patties till lightly browned on both sides.
- They will take barely 5-7 minutes.
- I didn't make my patties too thick since I prefer them thinner and browned.
- If you want to broil them, lay them on a baking tray and broil till firm and lightly browned, about 12 to 15 minutes.
So, I hope you try these and tell me what you think. I liked them and so did my family. Then again, there’s meat, spices and pomegranate seeds, what’s there not to like? And they look so pretty on the plate, bejewelled kebabs.
I hope you’ve all had a great start to the New Year. I know the North East is seeing a bit of snow! Stay warm everyone. I am going to leave you with a couple of photos of our New Year’s Day trip to Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. It was windy (like all our picnics) but invigorating!