India is truly the land of spectacular mouthwatering kebabs (meats roasted on a skewer or pounded fried meat). The art of Mughal-style kebab making was developed in the kitchens of the caliphs of Baghdad and perfected in Lucknow and Hyderabad, where kebab-makers mastered hundreds of variations of chicken, lamb, seafood, vegetables, cheese, and legume kebabs.
A traditional meal featuring a main curry dish might also include kebabs, rice, naan roti, chutney, salad, vegetables, and lentils. Kebab refers to small chunks, patties, or balls of lamb, beef, chicken, or paneer (cheese), broiled or fried in herbs and seasonings.
Skewered Mint-Flavored Lamb Kebab
Shish kebab is a Turkish word meaning broiled meat on a skewer. However, over the centuries, the ingredients in this recipe changed, and in India, the name switched to seekh kebab.
1½ pounds ground lamb
1 teaspoon chickpea flour
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
½-inch piece fresh gingerroot, peeled, grated fine
2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, chopped fine
½ teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon corn oil
Salt to taste
¼ cup plain yogurt
Preheat the oven to 350ºF or prepare the barbecue grill.
In a large bowl, mix the first nine ingredients to a smooth mixture. Divide into six equal portions and form into smooth balls.
Oil a deep baking pan. Using a wet hand spread each ball along the length of a 12-inch steel skewer at least 1 inch apart.
In a small bowl, whip the yogurt with a fork.
Brush the lamb skewers with yogurt and place on the baking pan. Bake for 8-10 minutes until evenly brown and tender.
Baste with yogurt; cut into 1-inch pieces and skewer on toothpicks. Serve hot with naan, mint chutney, and Indian salad.
Hot Mint Chutney (Garam Pudina ki Chutney)
1 cup fresh mint leaves
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
¼ -inch piece fresh gingerroot, peeled and chopped
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 fresh green chili
Juice of ½ lemon
Salt to taste
Remove and discard the stems from the mint leaves. In a blender, combine mint leaves and all other ingredients. Blend to a fine paste. Serve in a small bowl as an accompaniment to kebab.
Check out my cookbooks Feast of India: A Legacy of Recipes and Fables (1991, 2015) and India’s Unsurpassed Cuisine: The Art of Indian Curry Cooking (Editor’s Choice, 2016) at www.feastofindia.net.