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Sheek Kebab, Meat 1
Seekh Kabab, Meat 1

Mamta Gupta

Sheekh Kebabs, pronounced 'ka-bab' in Hindi, can be served as a side dish with an Indian meal, as a starter or as a main meal with salad. They are good for a BBQ too. The name Sheekh comes from being cooked on a 'seenkh' or a thin bamboo/wooden stick (a skewer). Do not be frightened by a long list of ingredients, they are very easy to make. In India, Kebab is spelled as Kabab.

Also see BBQ Selection and Marinade Selection.

Edited March 2016.

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Ingredients

450 gm. lean mince lamb or mutton or beef
1 large onion
1/2 inch piece of ginger
4 cloves of garlic
2-3 green chillies (according to tastes)
6 mint leaves
A small bunch of fresh coriander
1 egg
2 slices of fresh bread crumbs or 2 tbsp. besan (chick pea flour)
A few strands of saffron or kesar, soaked in 1 tbsp. of warm milk
Salt to taste
1/4 tsp. chilli powder to taste
1 tbsp. ghee or olive oil for oiling hands (step 8). You can use just water.
Whole spices:
1 tsp. cumin seeds*
2 cloves*
4 green cardamom pods or illaichi* (small ones)
1/2 blade of mace or javitri*
1/2 inch piece cinnamon stick or dal-chini*
A Kebab rod, usually made of iron. You can use the thick end of a chopstick instead.

Instructions

1.Roast all whole spices together in a hot pan for a few seconds, cool & grind in a coffee grinder. Keep aside. If in a hurry, use 2 level tsp. garam masala (see recipe) in place of all the whole spices marked*.
2.Peel, wash and roughly chop onions, ginger and garlic.
3.Clean and wash mint and coriander leaves.
4.Put onion, garlic, ginger, mint, coriander leaves, green chillies and spices in a food processor and grind coarsely. Do not purée.
5.Place meat in a large bowl, add egg, bread crumbs, spice & onion mix from the food processor.
6.Add saffron, salt and chilli powder. Mix, cover with a cling film* or put in an airtight container and leave in the fridge, for a minimum of 4-6 hours. Overnight is better for flavours to infuse into the meat.
7.Take about a full tablespoon of the mix in your palm and shape it with dampened or oiled hands into sausage shapes on an oiled kebab rod/skewer/pencil (not a lead pencil).
8.Gently slide off each kebab and place on a baking tray lined with aluminium foil (if you have enough skewers, you can leave them on the skewers, until after they are cooked). Bamboo skewers can also be used but try to find the thick ones. Soak bamboo skewers in water for 30 minutes before using, it will stop them from burning.
9.Cooking : a. Cook the kebabs under a grill, turning over once or twice, until nicely browned on all sides. b. Cook in a very hot oven (230º C), for 15-20 minutes, until browned on all sides but not overcook. This will toughen the meat. c. They can also be cooked on a barbecue d. or in a frying pan.
10.For a party, when you need to cook a large number, keep them ready on an oven tray, before the guests arrive. Cook in a preheated oven at around 200C/400F/Gas mark 6, for 20-30 minutes.
11.Serve hot, with Green Mango Chutney or Garlic and Mint Chutney.
12.Sheek kebabs can be served wrapped in tortillas or Chapatties, along with shredded salads.

Notes

* I collect plastic shower caps from hotel rooms, they make excellent bowl covers.
Thick skewer results in a larger hole inside each kebab, resulting in even cooking from inside.
Kebabs look very nice when served on a bed of finely shredded crisp lettuce, with thinly sliced red onion rings and wedges of lemon as garnish.
They can be made in bulk in advance and frozen uncooked. To do this, spread out kebabs on baking tray lined with wax paper or foil and freeze. Once frozen, keep them in a plastic bag or container. This will keep them separate. When you need them, just take a few out and cook from frozen.

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