My friend Amina lives pretty close to me, and sometimes when I visit, we eat these scrumptious chicken shami kababs. She always seems to have it in her freezer, because her mother generously makes large batches of it for her to have on hand. I drop by her house in hopes that she dishes out these kababs for me, and every time I eat them I remark how mine never turn out quite like hers. I once told her that even though I’m glad she’s parting with her shamis, I’m not sure I’d ever give up my mom-made kababs for my guests like she does 😉
While traditionally shami kababs are ground very smooth in a food processor, these are just cooked until very soft on the stove top, and shredded with a spoon, resulting in delicious strands of meat in the cutlet. I think those strands of chicken are what I love best about these kababs. After all if I’m eating chicken, I’d much prefer to have the texture of it in my kababs rather than paste.
Amina’s mom, Ayesha Aunty, who gave me this excellent recipe, is such a pleasure to hang out with as well. Because she visits her daughter often, my friends and I get to spend time in her wonderful company. In fact, we keep asking Amina when her mom is coming in to town next just so we can see her again. Ayesha Aunty is a darling woman who gets along so well in our friend circle, and keeps us entertained and captivated with her tales, tips and advice. When one doesn’t have their own parents close by, it’s nice to have such elders to spend time with, so it makes us feel a little less homesick.
Try these chicken shami kababs, and let me know how your friends and family like them. These kababs are perfect to serve for tea-time or an appetizer, or stuffed in sandwiches for a tasty lunch. This is how they are made :
1. In a pot soak 1/3 cup chana dal in 3 cups of water for an hour.
2. Cut 2 boneless chicken breasts into cubes.
3. Put the chana dal pot on the stove on high heat. Add the chicken cubes. And 1.5 tsp of salt. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Add 1/3 cup fried onions, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp chilli powder, 1 tsp garam masala, 1 tsp coriander powder and 1 tsp cumin powder. Stir well. Add 3 cloves minced garlic, and 2 tbsp minced ginger.
5. Cook for 15 more minutes, stirring so you shred the chicken with your spoon. Turn the heat on high, and continuously stir for about two minutes, making sure all the ingredients are well incorporated. At this point all the water should be evaporated. Transfer this mixture into a bowl, and let it cool for 30 minutes.
6. Add two eggs, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, 2 tbsp chopped mint leaves, and the juice of half a lemon to the chicken mix. Stir well.
7. Using a 1/4 cup measurement, scoop out the chicken mix into your palm and shape into a patty.
8. Heat 1/4 cup oil in a skillet, place 3-4 kababs in at a time, gently. DO NOT TOUCH. Let the first side cook, on high heat for two minutes, flip it over, lower heat to medium, and cook for a couple more minutes, until done.
Squeeze some lemon juice on the shamis before serving, and eat with chutney or ketchup.