Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Seekh Kebab

Seekh Kebabs

These  particular kebabs  are named after the tool used to prepare it on, the 'skewer' or 'seekh'. 
Made up of minced meats, the seekh kebabs are a native of the Northern half of Pakistan extending into the North of India as well. Originally the meat was ground on a stone, with another stone, much like the mortar and pestle or a Masala No Pathar (spice-stone) until it was completely macerated to a fine pulp. Using water, ghee or butter to help it along and even cream or milk was used in this preparation. The final product has to be soft. Once cooked it should almost melt in ones mouth in-spite of it being a meat dish.
Beside the method of preparing the meat, the result is just as dependent on the cooking method. Tandoors and open fires are the best options, while the aromas of the coal enhance the taste, the high temperature and  short timing helps caramelise the outside of the kebabs to prefection. . 

The metal skewer itself emits enough heat within the kebab to cook the meat, yet keeping it soft and pinkish while the blazing heat from the outside is meant to crisp and caramelise outer kebab forming almost a skin to keep the kebab together. The true art of a good seekh kebab is how well one manages to skewer it on the seekh; The thinner you manage to keep the kebab the faster it will cook, keeping it moist.

Yet there are plenty of types of Kebabs, an old traditional food of the Persians, Indian, Pakistanis, Afghanis, Turks and the Middle East as a whole. A commonly prepared, timeless street food it continues to be just as popular to date. From food trucks to cafes, fine dining and hotel restaurants, everyone seems to have it on their menu. The choice of herbs and spices as well as the shape and size mainly defines the 'type' it is. Made up of any kind of meat, chicken, vegetables and even paneer/cottage cheese. While the meat kebab can be either minced or in pieces the vegetable and paneer is generally cubed.

One can only imagine the magical flavour of an outdoor bbq pit fueled with wonderful charcoal.
 Simply delectable.

Dressing it up to serve as "Fine Dining"?

Makes 50 kebabs

In a food processor blend until smooth
2 large onions
2 1/2 tsp salt
1 packed cup fresh corriander leaves
10 leaves of fresh mint 
Now add until a smooth pulp
1 generous tsp of garam masala
6 green chillies
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 1/2 tsp red chillie powder
2 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp tamarind paste
1 tsp jaggery
1 tbsp ghee or clarified butter
3 tbsp cream
8 tbsp bread crumbs
2 eggs
2 generous tsp garlic paste
2 tsp ginger paste
2 kg /4.4lb Mince meat

Remove to a working bowl and refrigerate for a few hours until chilled. 
Mix it well and divide into 24 equal parts. Wet your hands and skewer it up. 
Taking a wooden spoon with a rounded drum stick like handle, working around the 'stick' can be your skewer. Preparing one at a time, remove to place on to a tray lined with parchment. Keep it chilled until ready to cook. 

To start off make your griddle or skillet screaming hot. Add a spoon of canola oil/ghee. Place each kebab carefully ensuring they are not touching the next one. Cook it on a high flame. Turn it after a minute being very gentle. It will cook very quickly. After both sides are nicely browned, cover and lower heat. Cook for another 3 minutes.  Eat with warm naan, a fresh salad made up of sliced onions tomato and a date and tamarind chutney, green coconut chutney and a squeeze of lemon. Do not overcook as they will get harder by the minute.


The length of the kebab can vary, this recipe is for fifty of about 7 inch/18cm long.

Chill the kebab mixture before trying to skewer it. This helps it stick easier. 
Keep it as thin as possible; the thinner they are, the faster they will cook, leaving the meat moist and deliciously soft ~ 'moo-ly-em' is the word which describes it best!

If you have skewers you can leave the kebabs on to chill and use later on a grill or bbq.
Use the fresh coriander with the young soft stalks which are flavourful.
Using medium to lean mince generally is the best. How ever using completely lean mince can make the kebabs dry especially if you use it in a hot tandoor or bbq grill.

The end result; caramelised from the outside and creamy-soft from the inside.

Read my cookbook The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine for the history, origins and more on Parsi Food.

Photograph courtesy  Yashaan Mavalvala and Jehangir Khan

Readers Comments
April 22 

Seekh kebabs ready for girls night tonight👠👠🎉Thank you Niloufer Mavalvala for the recipe....😙

Only change was I baked them in the oven at 425 F Chaalo time to party

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