Shami kebabs and Shikumpuri Kebabs are such delicacies that have no match anywhere else in the world. These two kebabs are actually Minced meat and lentil cakes. The difference is that Shikumpuri kebabs are made more formal and festive than Shami kebabs with a stuffing made from very thick and creamy hung yogurt, combined with finely chopped onions, mint, coriander, green chillies and an assortment of nuts and dried fruits.
The resulting shallow fried, Meat and Lentil Cakes have a smooth, melt in the mouth texture with a creamy core and loads of texture and flavour blast from the chopped herbs and nuts. These kebabs are a divine indulgence that you want to cherish with each bite. But also quite filling, hence the name ‘Shikumpuri’ which means bellyful or satisfying.
I reserve this treat for special occasions like Eid or a family gathering. You can serve them as a tea snack with some chutney or as a side with pulao and raita, or korma and naan.
1/2 cup gram lentils (chana dal)
1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1 teaspoon black pepper powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1/2 cup raisins
Salt to taste
1/2 cup hung yogurt
1/2 cup assorted nuts and raisins
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 green chilli peppers, finely chopped
A small bunch fresh coriander, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
1 egg, beaten
Olive or sunflower oil for shallow frying
This Is What You Do:
Add 2-3 cups of water. Cover the pan and cook on medium low heat till the mince and lentils are completely cooked. If there is still liquid in the pan, remove the lid and raise heat to evaporate all the water. Keep stirring so that the mince and lentil mixture doesn’t catch at the bottom or burn. The final mix should be completely dry.
Let it cool down completely. Grind the mix by hand in a mortar and pestle or quickly in a food processor. Don’t add any water while grinding. The mixture should be like bread dough after grinding.
Mix hung yogurt (very thick curd) with chopped onions, herbs, green chillies, nuts and dried fruits in a bowl.
Divide the mixture into 12 little balls. Wet your hands. Flatten a ball on your palm, place a spoonful of filling in the centre. Take another small ball and flatten it over the mixture. Seal the filling in between the two flattened dough balls completely. Make a nice smooth cake.
Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
Heat very little oil in a frying pan, just enough to grease the pan.
Dip a cake in the beaten egg and fry till golden on both sides. Repeat with all the kebabs. Don’t overcrowd the frying pan as it will be difficult to flip them because the kebabs have a delicate texture.
Serve warm as a tea snack or as a dinner side dish.