Sheekh Kebabs
Indian Recipe

Mutton is traditionally used for these kebabs in India and not available in the U.S. Many cooks substitute ground lamb but I find it too strong and use beef.

While these flavorful kebabs can certainly be cooked on a gas grill, you’ll get the very best flavor from a charcoal barbecue or hibachi.

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Serves 18 kebabs
1 pound ground chuck meat
2 slices bread
~ water
2 tablespoons crushed garlic
1 1-inch piece fresh ginger, finely grated
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 green chili, seeded and minced*
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
18 wooden skewers

* Use Thai or Serrano chilies.


1. Place the ground chuck in a large mixing bowl and break it into pieces.

2. Moisten the bread with a small amount of water, then break it into crumbs. Use your hands to mix the bread into the meat, mixing until the bread is fully integrated.

3. Add the garlic, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, nutmeg, coriander, pepper, garam masala, green chili, and salt. Mix well.

4. Add the oil and work it into the meat.

5. Add the cilantro and mix.

6. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours to allow the flavors to meld.

7. Soak the wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes.

8. Remove the meat from the refrigerator and form 18 uniform balls.

9. Roll each ball into a 4–5-inch “snake” in your hands. Skewer the meat lengthwise, then continue to roll it to achieve uniform size and thickness. (Keep the kebabs as thin as possible, since thick ones will break up and fall apart during cooking.) Pinch the ends to secure.

10. Place the finished kebabs on a baking sheet and return to the refrigerator for one hour to firm up.

11. Serve Cilantro Chutney with the kebabs.

Preparation Time: 
20 minutes, plus 3+ hours down and cooking time.