Kebab, Kabab or Kebob culture is one of the most common part of street food and celebrations all over the globe. But I can confidently claim that no other part of the world can boast of as much variety in kebabs as South Asia. As the explorers, traderers and warriors from different parts of the world left their deep and permanent marks on the region, these influences combined with local food trends flourished into a myriad of recipes for grill, stews and flat breads.
From the Afghani Namkeen Boti which uses very little spices and prefers to flavour the meat with basic seasoning of salt and onion juice to the very refined kebabs from the Nawab cuisine of Lukhnow where the melt in the mouth kebabs are created with gourmet spices and twice cooked meat, the region can comfortably be called a kebab hub.
This particular recipe for Pahadi Kabab comes from the people of the mountains, who rely more on herbs to flavour their food rather than spices and locally grown vegetables and crops are the nucleus of their daily diet. The herbs marinade lends a unique greenish hue and minty, earthy flavour which is very different from the punjabi Tandoori Tikkas.
I find this recipe particularly suitable for people who want to cutdown salt and fat from their diet because the delicious herbs naturally add a lot of flavour to the meat without the help of any other tastemaker. I have even cooked it at times totally without salt for my husband and he didn’t enjoy it less for the lack of salt.
I add a little oil to the marinade to keep the meat moist and succulent while cooking. You can cook the chicken in the marinade too if you want a little masala to scoop up with your flatbread. Other than chicken, boneless lamb and beef chunks taste equally delicious cooked this way.
1+1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
6-8 spinach leaves
4 green chilli peppers
4 cloves garlic
1/2 inch piece ginger
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup thick yogurt
2 tablespoons gram flour
2 tablespoons olive oil or ghee
This Is What You Do:
Marinate chicken in the green yogurt sauce for at least 30 minutes. It’s better to do it overnight and be done with the marinating part to save time.
Heat an outdoor grill or indoor skillet grill. Thread the chicken pieces on skewers or drop them just like that on the lightly greased skillet.
Cook till the chicken is nicely charred on outside and no more pink inside. Serve hot with naan, paratha or saffron rice. For condiments, fresh salad in lemon juice, hummus, cumin raita, sweet and sour tamarind chutney really go great with Pahadi Kebab.