The weekend’s here finally! and you know it’s Friday evening when the entire house has a dreamy aroma of hot, spicy ‘n’ tangy tender flavourful kababs wafting through it! Finger-licking stuff that you can never get enough of!
Chapli kababs are the king of kababs in every way, flavour, texture and aroma! Tender succulent morsels of lamb, chicken or beef mince, infused with an assortment of freshly roasted coarse spices & aromatics, then lightly shallow fried to remain juicy from within.
Originating in the North west Frontier province with Peshawar being the capital city, these traditionally beef-meat kababs are a more Pakhtun take on the rustic Moghul staple and are today very popular throughout Pakistan and India, standing tall with their cousins, the shaami, seekh, galouti & boti kababs.
This unique name ‘chapli’ comes from the Pashto word Chaprikh which means flat, and therefore these are shaped as flat discs, using a combination of spices such as coarsely crushed coriander seeds, pomegranate seeds, pepper that make them distinctly Afghani in flavour. Taste best when served with a mint & green chilli chutney & pita bread or rotis.
In continuation with my theme of the month of love, I have an interesting story to tell you. A unique dedication this time to my purely vegetarian Aunt, who left her home in Benaras, North India at a very young age, to be married into a family far away in Maharashtra which was purely carnivorous & fish-loving.
To see her labouring over, & cooking all kinds of seafood, shellfish, eggs & meat, despite her reservations & aversion to it was something stupefying to me! Even if it came to her cleaned, she sincerely handled, marinated & stirred in all the spices & coconut with her bare hands, enduring all the aromas very bravely. As a child, it always amazed me to see the loving wife & mother put out this labour of love for her family, wondering how she made it look so easy. It only helped firm up my own resolve as a vegetarian, to emulate her selfless love & do it some day for my own loved ones.
So today, while handling & marinating this delicious mince recipe, I couldn’t help but reminisce & humbly dedicate this dish to her. There is love & then there is love, but some people & their stories of selfless love truly remain etched in your heart forever!!
Recipe for Tangy Spicy Peshawari Chapli Kabab
- 500 grams chicken mince / kheema or lamb mince
- 1 small tomato, completely deseeded, finely chopped & squeezed
- 1 large size onion, finely chopped and squeezed gently
- 1 tablespoon mint leaves, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons coriander leaves, finely chopped
- 2-3 green chillies, finely chopped (as per your taste)
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped ginger
- 2 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
- 2 tablespoons oil / ghee (in the mixture)
- 3 tablespoons chickpea flour(besan)
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chilli powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder / jeera powder
- 1 teaspoon dried pomegranate seed powder/ anardana
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed carom seeds /ajwain
- 1 teaspoon garam masala powder
- ½ teaspoon black pepper powder
- 1 teaspoon coarsely ground coriander seeds
- Salt to taste
- 4 tablespoons oil to pan fry
- Lemon wedges & onion rings to serve
- Place kheema/mince in a bowl.
- Add onion, green chilli, ginger, garlic, deseeded tomato, mint & coriander leaves & mix well with your greased hands for a minute, crushing the onion & tomato pieces lightly, as you go.
- Add the beaten egg & spice powders namely, salt, red chilli powder, jeera powder, anardana powder, garam masala, black pepper powder, ajwain, coarsely ground coriander seeds, 2 tbsp ghee/oil and chickpea flour.
- Mix well using your hands or a fork for atleast 3-4 minutes until the spices are well combined with the mince. This is a crucial step in getting soft, premium quality kababs, so do knead your mixture patiently, like you would for a dough.
- Cover with cling film & allow it to rest for an hour in the refrigerator. This makes a big difference to the texture & allows flavours to come out & marinate well.
- Before you shape your kebabs, place a frying pan on high heat & add oil to shallow fry.
To shape the kebabs
- Grease your hands lightly with ghee or butter & then keep dipping them in a bowl of cold water so that the mixture does not stick to them.
- Tear off a lemon chunk of the mixture, and roll it into a ball with your palms.
- Flatten it gently to form a flat disk, smoothing the edges.
- Once the oil is hot but not smoking, carefully place a kebab into the hot oil. Repeat the same for the remaining mixture, wetting your hands often in cold water, fry in batches of three or four at a time.
- Fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side. Remove kebabs with a slotted spoon, allowing the oil to drain & place onto a plate with a kitchen paper towel to absorb any excess oil.
- Serve your hot n tangy Chapli kebabs with freshly sliced onion rings, mint-green chilli chutney & lime wedges.
- For this recipe, it is recommended to buy meat pieces, wash & mince at home so that you can add some of the fat too. Else remember to add 20 percent ghee to the kheema for soft kababs. Works best with mutton with fat on it.
- Add one lightly beaten egg, a little at a time. Some recipes also call for an additional scrambled egg.
- Remember the tomatoes & onions will release a lot of moisture into the mixture, so completely remove all pulp & seeds, then chop finely & squeeze out some moisture with your hands.
- Do not add any water or milk to this recipe.
- Before shaping and frying the kebabs, fry a small marble-sized ball of the mixture till golden brown and taste it for seasoning. Add more salt if needed.
- Kebabs break when there is insufficient fat in them. Ensure to have atleast 20 percent fat in your kebabs.
- If they still break, add a little more chickpea flour.
- Avoid overcrowding the pan while frying.
Video for Tangy Spicy Peshawari Chapli Kabab