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Shami Kabab
By Anita Shah   

Shami KababA popular Pakistani and North Indian dish served as a snack with tea or as a side dish to complement any meal. Traditionally made with beef, but you can easily substitute chicken for beef. Shami Kababs are ideal for freezing individually, and can be used later for sandwiches, meals and entertaining. A labor-saving trick is to cook the ingredients overnight in a crockpot/slow cooker, and make kababs together as a family the next day


  • Beef – 3½ lbs, stew style
  • Chana dal (split gram lentils) – 1 cup
  • Eggs – 2, beaten
  • Onion – 1 medium, finely chopped
  • Garlic – 12 cloves, alternatively: garlic paste – 1 tbsp
  • Ginger – 2 small pieces
  • Cilantro – 1 bunch, chopped
  • Cumin seeds – 2 tsp
  • Red chili peppers – ¼ cup, whole dried
  • Coriander seeds – 2 tbsp
  • Black peppercorns (whole kali mirch) – 1 tsp
  • Black cardamoms – 4
  • Cinnamon stick – 1, whole
  • Cloves – 4
  • Bay leaf – 1, crumbled
  • Salt – 1½ tsp or to taste
  • Breadcrumbs – ½ cup, optional
  • Cooking oil for frying


Soak chana dal (split gram lentils) for 2 hours.

Cook all of the above ingredients – EXCEPT cilantro, onion, ONE egg, breadcrumbs and cooking oil – in 5-6 cups of water on medium heat until the meat is tender and the water has dried. Add more water if required. Alternatively you can cook in a crockpot/slow cooker overnight.

Add chopped onion and cilantro and mix well.

Use a handheld food processer/grinder or use a blender to mash the mixture to a smooth doughy texture.

Add one beaten egg and knead.

Form small balls in the palm of your hand and flatten to form round patties (kababs). If it is hard to form then let the mixture set for an hour. Place the formed patties/kababs in a tray.

Heat a heavy-base frying pan, add just enough oil to pan-fry one side at a time (not deep fry).

Dip the kababs in beaten egg, roll both sides in bread crumbs.

Fry 4-5 kababs at a time on medium heat and flip until golden brown on both sides.

Place fried kababs on kitchen paper towel to blot out excess oil.

Garnish with fresh cilantro or mint leaves and serve hot with chili garlic sauce or mint chutney.

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Serves: 6

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