Shami Kebabs

These delicious little kebabs were made for an emperor that loved the taste of lamb on a skewer, but due to his excesses he had no teeth and could no longer chew meat. He got his chefs to create a recipe that would mean that he could enjoy the dish he loved again and this is what they came up with!

These are traditionally deep fried, but I find that if you brush them with oil, they are just as good oven baked.

You can order the chana dhal and freshly ground spice mix from us in all the right quantities, here.

Serve with flatbread  and salad, drizzled with some minty yogurt and some bright green coriander chutney (with a stick blender, puree a bunch of coriander, 2-4 green chillies, 10-15 mint leaves, a squeeze of lemon juice, salt and sugar to taste. Use a splash of water to make it thinner if needed)

Shami Kebabs (makes 24 mini patties)

500g lean lamb mince

60g finely chopped onion (e.g. one very small one)

90g chana dhal

2 tblsp garlic finely chopped (e.g. 5-6 cloves)

1tblsp finely chopped ginger (a large thumb sized piece)

Spice mix: (grind to a fine powder, or we’ll freshly grind it for you here)

1tsp cumin

1/2 tsp cardamom seeds

4 cloves

1tsp black peppercorns

1/2 tsp chilli powder

1 rounded tsp salt

350ml water

1 medium onion, finely chopped

End flavourings:

1-2 green chillies finely chopped

5 stems of fresh mint (leaves picked off) finely chopped OR 4 tsp dried

1tsp lemon juice (e.g. a small squeeze)

Put all of the ingredients into a large pan or deep frying pan.

 

Bring to the boil, turn the heat to low and simmer for 45 mins with the lid on, stirring every so often.

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While the lamb is cooking, fry the finely chopped onion until soft and golden (around 10-15 minutes).

After 45 minutes, take the lid off and continue to simmer until all of the meat is dry. A little drier than the photo below.

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Add the fried onion and the rest of the end flavourings to the lamb mixture. Stir well.

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Pre-heat the oven to 200C, 180C fan.

Put the mixture into a food processor and briefly blend until everything is well blended and coming together as a dough, but still fairly chunky and not pureed. In the photo below, I processed it a little too much, which makes the mixture difficult to handle and the finished patties quite delicate and crumbly. If you haven’t got a food processor, you can use a pestle and mortar or a potato masher. The effect will be lumpier, but still delicious.

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Pull of golf ball sized chunks and roll them into balls, flatten them slightly and roll them on the work surface to square off the edges before placing them on non stick paper on a tray.

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Brush/spray with oil and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

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Spicy Chicken Patties

These are the equivalent of Shish Kebabs, but made with chicken mince. You can get chicken mince from supermarkets now (sometimes in the halal section). I get mine from the butcher and ask him to give me a mixture of chicken breast and thigh which adds more flavour. If you can’t get chicken mince, turkey mince works just as well.

Spicy Chicken Patties

Makes 12

500g chicken/turkey mince

3 cloves garlic

small thumb of ginger

1-2 green chillies finely chopped (de-seeded if you prefer)

1/2 tsp cumin seed

1 rounded tsp salt

1/2-1 red chilli finely chopped (de-seeded if you prefer)

2 spring onions finely chopped

Small handful of coriander finely chopped

1tsp Madras spice blend (you can buy our freshly ground Madras spice blend here)

1/2 tsp garam masala (you can buy our freshly ground garam masala house blend here)

1/2 tsp black pepper (you can buy our freshly ground pepper here)

2tblsp oil (flavourless such as sunflower)

Pre-heat the oven to 220C, 200C fan, Gas 7.

Put all of the ingredients into a large bowl, roll up your sleeves and mix together using your hands. Really squish everything between your fingers to make sure it’s all combined well.

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Divide into 12 equal portions and roll them into balls before putting them onto non stick baking paper on a tray.

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You ideally need to let the flavours develop and leave them for an hour before cooking (or overnight), but the patties are extremely sticky. To seal them, put them in a hot oven FOR JUST 5 MINUTES. No more. Take them straight out and leave them to cool down before placing the tray in the fridge (or transfer them to a lidded plastic box). They will just become slightly opaque and you will now be able to move them around.

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When you’re ready to cook the patties completely, you can either cook them on a barbecue, grill them, cook them on a griddle or oven bake them (200C, 180C, Gas 6) until cooked through. Cut one open and check that they are white all the way through to the middle.

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Either serve them whole, or chop into slices and serve with flat bread, salad, mint yogurt and some vibrant green, hot coriander chutney (blitz together a bunch of coriander, 15 leaves of mint, 2-5 green chillies, squeeze of lemon juice, salt and sugar to taste).

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Crispy paratha stuffed with paneer and green chilli (aka chur chur paratha)

These stuffed paratha are a bit different from the ones that come with a filling of spicy potato in as much as they are crispy and contain paneer cheese and green chillies. Paneer is Indian cheese which you can easily get from supermarkets now. It has a very mild, milky taste and doesn’t melt which makes it perfect for cooking with so that it absorbs the flavours around it.

The parathas are made crispy by cooking them with butter/oil. When they’re good and crisp, they are taken out of the pan and put onto kitchen paper and then squashed (while still in the kitchen paper) into a cup shape with your hands, so that the paratha breaks apart to show the cheese.

Serve these paratha with a cup of tea and some yogurt to dip into, to tame the fresh, green heat of the chillies.

Chur Chur Paratha – makes 4 or more smaller ones

Chapatti dough

250g/1 1/2 cups atta flour OR plain flour OR half and half wholemeal and white plain flour

125ml water (more or less, depending on the flour and what it absorbs)

Big pinch of salt

Put the flour into a large bowl with the salt and gradually mix in the flour until you have a soft, pliable dough. It shouldn’t be hard at all and all of the flour should be absorbed. Knead for a few minutes and then pop in a plastic bag and leave aside to rest for 10 – 30 minutes. You can now safely leave the dough in the fridge for up to five days and make one stuffed paratha at a time. The dough will darken over time, but will taste even better for the time in the fridge.

Stuffing ingredients:

1 block of paneer, grated

4 green chillies, chopped finely (this depends on your heat level, I use 1 chilli per paratha so I’d use 4 for this, but go as hot as you want)

1tsp salt (to taste)

Mix all of the stuffing ingredients together in a bowl. This can also be safely kept in the fridge until needed.

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Pull off a large golf sized ball of dough and roll it into a circle. Divide the filling into 4 and pile one quarter of it onto the rolled out dough. You can see from the photo that it looks as though there is too much filling – but there isn’t!

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Bring all of the edges together into the centre to completely cover the filling. To create a little dough bag full of cheese and chilli.

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Start to roll out the bag from the top where most of the dough is, making sure to dust underneath with flour to prevent sticking. Don’t use too much pressure or the bag will burst open. Not the end of the world if it does, but it’s best not to.

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Turn the paratha over and gently roll the other side.

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Keep rolling until you can clearly see the cheese underneath, but not so thin that the cheese starts to pop through. Thicker is best, if you’re worried.

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Heat a frying pan over a medium high heat and have some melted butter or oil next to the pan, along with a teaspoon. Don’t grease the pan at all.  Lay the thickest side of the paratha onto the pan and leave it to cook for a minute or so until light brown spots appear on the underside. Turn the heat to medium low and then carefully flip it over.

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While the other side is cooking drizzle some melted butter on the cooked top and smear it around with the base of the teaspoon until it’s completely covered. Keep checking the bottom of the paratha so that it’s not burning.

Using the edge of your spatula, push into the paratha to make holes in it on both sides to prevent it from puffing up and to increase crispiness.

Flip it over again and drizzle more butter/oil over. Keep on flipping every 30 seconds or so until the paratha is good and crispy on both sides.

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Put the paratha on 3 or 4 sheets of kitchen paper or a clean tea towel and then push up with your hands to form a bowl with the paratha. Then kind of twist it around until it starts to break apart.

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I add a swirl of harrisa to my yogurt for extra flavour. The best breakfast in the world!

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