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Shami Kabab – lamb and chickpea kababs

Homemade Shami Kababs bring back so many memories of Delhi and my childhood there. Minced meat and split chickpeas slow cooked with spices, ground, shaped into patties and pan fried. I learnt how to make these from my bestie’s mum. They were from Aligarh and their meat dishes were always superb. This is a little bit time consuming because you have to cook the meat and chickpeas first and then grind them. I do this manually because I want to keep the mixture as dry as possible and food processors usually cannot cope with grinding meat in this way.
Cuisine Indian
Keyword CHICKPEA, Lamb, Shami Kabab
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings 7 people


  • 1 kg minced lamb
  • 1 cup split chickpeas soaked for at least four hours
  • 1 medium onion coarsely chopped
  • masala see ingredients for that below
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • salt
  • bread crumbs
  • oil for shallow frying

Masala ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp coriander seed
  • 1 tbsp cumin seed
  • 1 tsp black pepper corns
  • 8 cloves
  • 1/2 inch cinnamon stick


  • Grind all the masala ingredients together in a spice/coffee grinder or pestle and mortar. If you do not have grinding apparatus then buy a good quality garam masala. Place all the ingredients together with the masala in a slow cooker, pressure cooker or heavy bottomed pan with a lid with 1/2 cup of water. Depending on which method you use this will take you anywhere between half an hour (pressure cooker), an hour (ordinary pan) or more. Once the meat and chickpeas are cooked, strain the remaining liquid out. Mix in half a cup of breadcrumbs. Grind the mixture in a manual meat grinder or powerful meat processor.
  • Shape into balls on the palms of your hands and flatten each ball to form a small patty, about 2.5 inches wide and 3/4 inch thick. Shallow fry one to see if it holds its shape. If the edges start to fall apart and the patty goes very squishy in the oil, add more breadcrumbs to the mix.
  • Shallow fry until reddish-brown on both sides. Serve with roti or naan.

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