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.


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.


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.


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