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Ramadan Recipe Series part 1 – Shaami Kebab

August 18, 2010

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Over the next few weeks, I will be blogging about Ramadan related recipes. This post marks the first of the Ramadan recipe series.

The holy month of Ramadan reminds me of home like no other word in my mind. It reminds me of fun-filled, near-chaotic evenings, filled with prayers. Of heavy aromas of Masala chai, freshly cut fruit and fried delicacies wafting from the kitchen. Of the muezzin‘s call to prayer in the neighborhood mosque. Of a sudden lull in the noise of children playing on the streets because it’s time to run back home and break the fast for the day. Of family, togetherness and community.

It has been over a week since Ramadan began this year and every day at dusk, I miss home deeply. Ramadan lacks its luster here for me. Earlier this week, when I got so homesick I just couldn’t take it any more, I made a Ramadan favorite that is my mother’s specialty – Shaami Kebabs. A few weeks before the beginning of Ramadan, my mother would sit with a notebook and make a list of all the dishes she would make for iftar (the meal eaten when a Muslim breaks his/her fast at sunset in the month of Ramadan). Shaami Kebabs were usually the first to be made.

Shaami Kebabs

Shaami Kebabs

These golden nuggets of yumminess are made traditionally using ground lamb meat, yellow gram, and an assortment of fresh herbs and spices. I’ve made a healthier version cutting out the red meat, and my recipe includes ground chicken, which also makes it quicker to cook. Shaami kebabs can be enjoyed as an appetizer or when eaten with bread or pita, can make a main meal as well.

Get a printable version of this recipe here.

You will need:

  • About 1.5 lbs ground chicken, cleaned
  • 1 cup Channa dal or split chickpeas, washed and soaked for an hour
  • 2 tbsp Ginger & Garlic paste
  • 1 small potato, grated
  • 2 thai green chilies, minced
  • A handful of fresh chopped cilantro / coriander leaves
  • A sprig of mint leaves, finely chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp Cumin & Coriander powder
  • 1 tbsp Red Chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp Garam Masala powder
  • Bread crumbs for coating the kebabs in
  • 2 eggs, beaten and seasoned with salt & pepper
  • Oil and a deep pan for deep frying
  • Lemon juice for garnishing


  • In a pressure cooker, cook the channa dal for 3 whistles or cook it with 5 cups of water in a pot on medium to high heat, until cooked but not mushy
  • In a large cooking pot, place the ground chicken. Add the cooked Channa dal with about 2 cups of the water it cooked in. Also add the Ginger garlic paste, potatoes and green chilies
  • Turn on the heat and cook this mixture on medium heat, stirring frequently, until all the chicken is cooked and any excess water has burned out. Be careful not to make this mixture too dry. It should be soft and moist to touch.
  • Now add all the dry spices, salt, chopped coriander and chopped mint. Mix well and allow to cool a little
  • Coarsely grind this mixture in an electric blender or using a hand mixie.
  • No start making the kebabs with the mixture. Keep a plate of bread crumbs ready on the side for assembling
  • Make 2-3 inch oblong kebabs of the chicken mixture. Coat in bread crumbs and place on a separate plate / tray
Shaami kebabs coated in bread crumbs

Shaami kebabs coated in bread crumbs

  • Refrigerate all the kebabs for at least an hour before frying.
  • When ready for frying, place the bowl of beaten and seasoned eggs on the side. Heat about 4 inches of oil in a deep pan for frying.
  • Evenly envelop each kebab in the egg and carefully place in the hot oil. Fry until the kebab turns a golden brown from all sides. Place on a kitchen tissue to absorb excess oil.
  • Garnish liberally with lemon juice. Enjoy with a green mint chutney or your favorite tomato ketchup. You can also stick the kebabs in pita and eat it as a meal.

Kebab Pakistani

13 Comments leave one →
  1. August 18, 2010 2:38 am

    No Sabera! Noooo! I have been trying to avoid making any of this traditional deep fried kebabs that used to be made at home, because this are addictive.

    Now you just made it impossible for me to avoid it. My recipe is similar but its been ages I made it so it should be a good referral point!

    Thanks and no Thanks for posting :D:D

    • August 18, 2010 10:22 am

      😀 Trust me, I don’t make a lot of fried foods either for probably the same reasons you don’t. But I just couldn’t stop myself a few days ago! Ramadan didn’t feel like it without the kebabs. Do put up pics / a post when you make the kebabs!

  2. August 18, 2010 7:38 am

    These look so yummy, Sabera – and I hope they help with your memories of home right now. Love your reflections on Ramadan as well – as a typical American, I don’t know nearly enough about the Muslim faith and its traditions, as well as food traditions, so keep illuminating us in the US!

    • August 18, 2010 10:24 am

      Most neighborhoods in Mumbai completely transform in the month of Ramadan. It’s fun to go without food for over 11 hours when there’s so much happening around you. I simply adore these kebabs. I even have them with breakfast crumbled on my eggs!

  3. August 18, 2010 3:05 pm

    Whoa girl! Are you trying to drug me?? I love shami kabobs but my size doesn’t allow me to make them 😦

    • August 18, 2010 5:46 pm

      🙂 I know I know… but after all, don’t we have just One Life to Eat? 😀

  4. August 19, 2010 3:27 pm

    I can not let a good Kebab just pass by and this Shaami Kebabs sounds nice. I bet it even taste better. Can’t wait to try it. If you wont mind I’d love to guide Foodista readers to your post. Just add the foodista widget to the end of this post so it will appear in the Foodista pages and it’s all set, Thanks!

  5. August 19, 2010 4:48 pm

    Thanks christine. I’ve set it up.

  6. August 23, 2010 10:14 am

    I love the healthy version but I must confess that Ramadan is the one time of the year that I fully indulge in my love for deep fried foods, without feeling the need to make them healthy. But now that you’ve come up with a healthier version, I can twice as many, right? 🙂

    • August 24, 2010 11:45 am

      🙂 Sure thing Azmina. Any excuse to eat right?

      Checked out your blog yesterday. I had no idea you were on TV! 🙂 I don’t get cable hence the ignorance. So happy a fellow South Asian made it to mainstream food television in the US. Seeing so many of us there lately.

  7. August 23, 2010 10:22 am

    Thanks Sabera. By the way, you can also place a foodista widget in your past and future post so other foodista reader can view your blog. Thanks again!

  8. shami kebabs permalink
    July 9, 2013 5:44 am

    can we avoid chana dhaal


  1. Ramadan Recipe Series part 2 – Veggie Spinach kebabs a.k.a. Hara Bhara kebabs « One Life to Eat

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