Shaami Kabab

Even though I am Indian, I have not posted very many Indian recipes on this blog because I had assumed that since there are so many Indian food blogs that are already out there, no one would be interested in Indian recipes. But now I have received so many requests for recipes of specific Indian food items that I am going to try to post at least some of my favorite ones.
This recipe for Shaami Kababs (all Punjabis take note, they are NOT Shammi Kababs but Shaami Kababs and I know this because my own Punjabi pronunciation of it has been corrected multiple times by my Urdu speaking in-laws) is of particular significance in my life because when I visited my husband’s family (right after I got married) this was the first thing I tasted at my in-laws’ house. Before my marriage, I could not even boil rice and my mother-in-law was an amazing cook.These kababs (which were their family specialty) blew my mind away and I asked her to teach me how to make them. I did get the recipe from her but it took me almost 10 years of experimentation to get them up to snuff and each time I made them, I’d ask my husband “so are they as good as the kind your mom made?”  Poor man must have been sick of this oft repeated question but being a good husband he’d answer most positively each time.  After being married to him for 23+ years, I am still not completely convinced that my kababs are as good as those I got to eat at his parents’ place, but they are pretty darned close! For those of you who have not eaten these earlier, think of them as a spicy Indian version of a hamburger…


1.    1.25 lbs of ground meat (beef, lamb or goat)
2.    ½ packet of Shaan Shaami Kabab powder (available at Indian stores)
3.    ¾ cup of peeled Chana Daal/lentils (also available at Indian stores)
4.    Two inches of a thick fresh ginger root
5.    6-7 large cloves of fresh garlic
6.    One medium onion
7.    One green chili
8.    ¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro leaves
9.    About 4-5 tablespoons of cooking oil ( I use canola or corn oil)


1.    Peel the ginger and the garlic cloves and chop them into medium sized pieces.
2.    Peel the onion and chop it in medium sized chunks.

3.    Place the ground meat, chopped ginger, garlic, onion, Chana daal and approximately ½ cup of water (the water should just about cover the surface of the meat or a little less than that) in a medium sized sauce pan and place on medium heat.
4.    Add the Shaan Shami Kabab mix to the pot, stir and cover the pot and cook on low heat for approximately 45 minutes.  During this period, keep stirring the pot from time to time, and if the meat looks very dry, add a little bit of water at time and continue cooking. We have to ensure that the daal is cooked and all the water has been dried off or absorbed.  If by any chance if you have added too much water, remove the lid and let the water evaporate.

5.    When the lentils look cooked (feel soft to touch) take this cooked mixture out of the pot and grind it in a food processor.  The resultant mixture should look like a dry muddy paste. Yes, I know it is not attractive looking but believe me, these kababs are to die for.

6.    Let this mixture cool down and in the meantime chop the green chili in fine pieces and also the fresh coriander leaves.

7.    When the meat and daal mixture is cool and close to room temperature, add the chopped green chili and coriander leaves and mix thoroughly.
8.    Using your hands, shape small quantities of the mixture into small pancakes/patties about ½ inch thick.
9.    In a large non-stick pan, add a tablespoon of cooking oil and heat it on low heat.

10.    Place 6-7 patties in the pan and brown on each slide on low heat.

11.    You may need to cook them in batches and this takes some time but the effort is worth it indeed.
12.    Serve the kababs with a salad of finely chopped red onion, tomatoes, cucumber and radishes and any flat bread on the side (pita bread or freshly made rotis are the best)

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  1. Permalink Submitted by Shilpa Patel on Thu, 26/04/2012 - 03:26

    my absolute favourites! Thanks for posting your recipe. I will try them this way. Adding raw chana dal and cooking the whole lot together before grinding is new to me. Recipes I’ve seen call for besan…which, even if roasted first, give a slightly floury taste.

    • Permalink Submitted by Shabnam on Thu, 26/04/2012 - 16:18

      Yup Shilpa – Besan also tends to make the Kababs harder and therefore drier (because it absorbs a lot of water) than they should be. And cooking the daal with the ground meat gets all the flavors well fused. Try this recipe – it works well.

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