Ramadan Recipe Series part 1 – Shaami Kebab
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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.
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.
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
- 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.