Shami Kababs

Servings : Makes 25-30 kababs

One of the best versions of kababs out there! Shami kababs are a popular Afghan and Indian variety of kabab, also found in Pakistani cuisine. They are often garnished with lemon juice and/or sliced raw onions, and may be eaten with chutney made from mint or coriander.


  • 1 kg steak, cubed and cleaned (preferably rump but not fillet because fillet is too soft for this dish)
  • 3 small red potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 3 small onions, peeled and cubed
  • 2 green chillies chopped (more if you want this more spicy hot)
  • 3/4 cup yellow lentils soaked overnight, washed and drained (soak for at least 4 hours)
  • 1 tbsp. ginger paste
  • 1 tbsp. garlic paste
  • small bunch of coriander, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin powder
  • 1 tsp. coriander powder
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1/4 cup of water

Extra Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp. channa/gram flour
  • 1 tsp. salt (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp. garam masala (all spice)
  • 2 tbsp. chopped mint or coriander (optional)


Put all the first batch of ingredients (steak, potato, onion, lentils, chillies, spices, water) into a pressure cooker, cover and cook for about 20 mins.

Check if there is still any liquid left, you can put the pressure cooker (open) on the fire again and dry out any excess water. The mixture has to be dry enough that it just begins to stick to the bottom of the pan.

Let this mixture cool completely. (Sometimes I refrigerate this mixture overnight to cool completely and grind it the following day)

In a meat processor, grind the mixture to a smooth consistency. Turn it out in a bowl and add the second batch of ingredients:2 lightly beaten eggs, 2 tbsp. gram flour, 1 tsp salt and a 1 tsp of garam masala plus some freshly chopped coriander or mint if you like. Mix everything well. If you find the mixture a bit on the dry side, add one more egg (a little at a time) and mix until you find the consistency is workable…soft and slightly sticky. To check for salt, fry one tiny kabab and taste it. If it needs more salt/chilli, then this is the time to add it into the mixture.

Shape into palm sized circles and you can make an indent in the centre to prevent the kebabs from over-swelling when frying if you want. Some people like to dip the kababs in beaten egg prior to frying, to give them an egg coating. I personally prefer them with their lovely crisp exterior so I never dip them in egg.

Fry and serve hot with a spicy dip, some lemon slices and any accompaniments that you like.

Enjoy! 🙂

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