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Shami Kebabs

Shami Kebabs are a South Asian snack or appetizer made with ground meat and lentils. Cooked in an aroma of delicious spices and herbs, all bound together with an egg, and pan fried to perfection. It is definitely a staple during the holidays and is one of my son’s most favorite things to eat. These freeze really well, if properly stored and, are great for quick meals.

These are very versatile and can be made with any kind of meat. In this recipe I show you how to make them using lean beef cubes and split Bengal gram (chana daal), so let’s get started!

Roasting Spices:

Roasting spices is key in Indian/Pakistani cooking. Dry roasting helps enhance your dish by releasing flavorful oils and hidden aromatics inside your spices. To dry roast all you need is a clean, dry pan. Heat your pan on medium low heat and add your spices. Let the spices roast while you mix them until you can smell the flavorful aroma. Within a couple minutes you should see them turning slightly darker in color and that’s when you should pull them off the heat. Grind them in a food processor or coffee grinder and use as needed.


Makes about 22 Kebabs


2lbs Beef Cubes

1/4 cup oil

1/2 Lemon (Juiced)

2 tsp Garlic/Ginger Paste

4 to 5 Whole Dried Red Chili

4 Black Cloves

6 Black Peppercorns

1 tsp Coriander Seeds

1 tsp Cumin Seeds

1/2 Cinnamon Stick

1 Black Cardamom

3 Green Cardamom

Salt (1 to 1.5 tsp or to taste)

1 Egg

1/2 Bunch Cilantro (Chopped) 1

to 2 Serrano Peppers (Chopped, Optional)


3/4 cups Bengal Gram (Chana Daal)

1/2 tsp Turmeric

1 Egg


-Soak lentils in water for at least 30 mins then add to a pot with turmeric and 2 cups of water.

-Bring lentils to a boil then simmer on medium heat until all the liquid is absorbed and lentils are soft.

-Set aside.

-In a cast iron pan dry roast your beef spices for a couple minutes then grind them in a food processor and set aside.

-Grab a pressure cooker or pot and add your oil, beef cubes, lemon juice and garlic/ginger paste.

-Brown the meat then add your spices.

-Mix well and add about 2 cups of water.

-Let it come to a boil, cover lid to pressure cooker and cook for 20 mins or until tender.

(If pressure cooker is not being used, just cook down meat until tender on a medium low flame once brought to a boil).

-Release pressure and cook down until all the liquid is absorbed.

-Now shred the meat with a hand blender and add an egg.

-Blend the set aside lentils and another egg with an immersion blender

-Then mix the meat and lentils thoroughly.

-Mix in your chopped green chilies and cilantro.

-Taste for seasonings and form patty shapes.

(To form them into the desired kebab shape, I use a 6cm diameter ice cream scoop or you can get more precise and measure out 2 oz. per kebab. It’s the best way to get perfect sized kebabs each time).

-Dip Kebabs in an egg wash and pan fry until golden brown.

-Serve garnishing with more cilantro and a side of mint yogurt.


**Make sure to taste for seasonings like salt.

**If your lentils and meat mixture is too dry add another egg or two as needed

**If your mixture is too wet add a medium boiled potato or breadcrumbs.

**If you have egg allergies you can always substitute for boiled potatoes and yogurt.

Instant Pot:

-Add all your spices, meat, and drained lentils.

-Pressure cook on the Meat/Poultry setting for 30 mins.

-Release once done cooking to the Venting position. -Once the pressure valve has gone down, its ready to open.

-Mix and cook off the excess liquid on the Manual Saute setting. -Once the liquid has dried off, turn the Instant Pot off and add your eggs. -Mash it all using an immersion blender. -Add in your finely chopped cilantro and green chilies.

-Give it a thorough mix with a spoon. -Once cool enough to handle make your kebab shapes.

-Pan fry dipping in egg and enjoy!


This recipe should make you about 22 kebabs. Just shape and place them on a parchment lined baking sheet. (You may pan fry and freeze as well.) Pan fry them fresh or pop the whole tray in the freezer to freeze. Once frozen you can put them into plastic sealed bags to save space and place them back into the freezer. If properly sealed they will last up to 3 months, just pull out and bake or pan fry as needed.

Try these Kebabs with my Chutney's:

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