Thursday, July 21, 2011

Shami Kebabs

Shami kebab literally means Syrian kebab (Sham) in ArabicThese succulent Juicy kebabs have been around since the Moghul era.I however, learned how to make them from my mom who is the best cook i know :)
Shami kebabs are very popular in India and are usually made with beef, Channa dal(lentil) and a bit of rice.I have gone for the healthier option and chosen chicken here instead.It tastes equally good with chicken as it does with beef.
These kebabs make a grand starter and do not take much time to prepare.They have always been a hit at my dinner parties.They can also be served as a whole meal dish with freshly cut salad, naan bread and any sauce of your choice.

Shami kebabs need a bit of pre planning though.The chicken needs to be marinated in ginger garlic paste and left over night or for a minimum of 4-6 hours.The daal and rice also needs to be washed and pre soaked in hot water for an hour to ensure they are soft and get cooked well. Use just enough water to soak the daal and rice. 

To make these delicious kebabs you will need

Cooking time - 20 minutes
Preparation time - 15 minutes
Makes roughly 40 medium sized kebabs

1kg bonless chicken washed and cut into cubes and marinated in 2tsp ginger paste and 1tsp garlic paste
175g channa daal
75g rice
7-10 whole red chillies
1tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp garam masala(mixed spices)
1 handful chopped corriander
1tbsp whole cumin seeds
1tbsp whole corriander seeds
2eggs lightly beaten
salt to taste

  • Place the marinated chicken and pre soaked dal and rice in a pressure cooker along with the whole red chillies and salt to taste. Cover with the water in which the daal was soaked. You can add more if required. Make sure there is just enough water to cover the chicken.Adding too much water will make the kebabs soggy and hard to make.

  • Pressure cook until chicken is tender. This usually takes 20 minutes
  • Make sure there is no left over water in the chicken, daal, rice and chilli mixture.If there is any water remaining, dry it on high flame making sure you dont burn the mixture.
  • Wait for it to cool. Then using a hand blender or mixer grinder, blend this mixture into a paste.It will be thick and slightly sticky due to the presence of daal. Transfer into a big mixing bowl.
  • To this add the chilli powder(the red chilli powder can be adjusted to your level of spice. The kebab mix already has whole chillies in it so adjust accordingly.), garam masala and chopped corriander.
  • Put the whole cumin and corriander seeds on a pan and roast it until it crackles.Add this to the Chicken mixture. Mix well until evenly spread

  • Add eggs to this and mix gently. The eggs should be added just before you make the kebabs. Egg ensures proper binding of all the ingredients

  • Then make small balls and flatten them with your hand.Shallow fry this in a pan and serve hot with onions and lime.Mint chutney goes great with this.

1kg chicken makes around 40 medium sized kebabs but if you don't want to make so many kebabs, you can halve the quantity of all the ingredients and make half as many. I usually freeze them and store them in food packets to fry and have later. Its great to have these in the freezer for those lazy days when you don't want to cook. Just fry these delicious kebabs and enjoy with naan bread and salad. 
If you shami kebab mixture does become soft/sticky then add a slice or 2 of plain bread into the mixture. Knead it into the mixture so it absorbs the excess water. You can also add bread crumbs or toast the bread slice and powder it before adding it to the mix. Alternatively you can add 1-2 tbsps of gram flour. Addition of gram flour does change the taste a bit.



  1. hey shabs...these kebabs looks too delicious ! love the pics :)

  2. Thanks shruts :) glad you liked them

  3. Hi shabu
    ur recipes r very well presented n easy to follow
    they r a motivwtion for everyone to learn cooking with ur step by step method n d colourful pictures
    I m proud of u keep it up d chilli panner looks dlicious

  4. Thank u so much : )
    Im so glad u liked it.
    its nice to know that the steps are helpful and motivational

  5. Hi shabnam...finally tried them kebabs..came out really well and we both enjoyed it very much...made a difference to our lunch packs:)...your prep method was easy to follow...keep it up..hoping to see more:)

  6. That's so nice to know : ) Thanks
    More coming up soon ; )

  7. asalamu alaikum sister
    i tried to make shammi kebabs ...
    but i used only chicken breast pieces...
    mixture was dry , so kebabs started falling apart
    while making...
    please can u suggest can i make it a little sticky

  8. W.salaam....I usually use chicken breast pieces only for this recipe. If you use the right amount of channa daal and rice in the mix it won't turn out dry. Make sure you add enough water while cooking it. Addition of egg to the kebab mix should also make it of good consistency and prevent it from breaking.
    If its still dry you can dip the flattened kebabs in egg white before frying them to prevent them from breaking.
    Hope this helps



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