Shami Kebabs
Indian Recipe

Garlic, ginger, cinnamon and chiles lend bold, exotic flavor to these mouthwatering patties. The recipe yields a big batch, so keep in mind that a portion of the meat mixture can be formed into patties and frozen, then thawed and fried later for a quick and easy meal.


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1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef*
1 medium onion, cut in chunks
1 4-inch   piece ginger, cut into eight pieces
10 cloves garlic
2 cinnamon sticks, broken
4 small bay leaves**
1 whole green serrano or Thai chile, split
24 whole cloves
1 1/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
    whole black cardamom pods
    whole green cardamom pods
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground mace
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
3/4 cup channa dal***
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups water
~ vegetable oil for frying.
1/2 small onion, thinly sliced, for decoration
~ cilantro, for decoration
2–3 limes, quartered, as accompaniment
*Buy the leanest meat possible for best results. Use nothing less than 93%.**Use Turkish bay leaves available in ethnic grocery stores or online. Do not substitute California Bay Laurel leaves or the flavor is compromised.***These are dried yellow split peas available in most supermarkets.




  1.  Combine all of the ingredients except the frying oil and decorations in a spacious, heavy-bottomed pot set over medium-high heat. Mix well.
  2. Bring to a lively simmer, stirring frequently.
  3. Lower the heat to a medium simmer and cook until the all of the water is absorbed and the meat is dry.
  4. Pick out as many of the whole spices as possible and discard.
  5. Working in batches, place the meat in a food processor and process to form a smooth paste. Pick out any remaining visible spice pieces as you work.
  6. Form the meat into patties 2 inches wide and 5/8 of an inch thick.Note: If you’d like to serve these as an appetizer, make smaller, bite-sized patties.
  7. Heat a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat.
  8. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil and spread evenly across the surface.Note: Use the oil sparingly to prevent sticking. The patties should be only lightly fried—not deep fried.
  9. Brown the kebabs in small batches. Do not crowd the skillet.
  10. Place on a platter and decorate with thinly sliced onions, cilantro, and lime wedges.
Preparation Time: 
Approximately 2 hours preparation, cooking, and frying