Today I’m back with my favorite, the kebab. My regular readers would know my love for the kebabs. There was a time when I used to post kebab recipes very regularly and I did realize that I have not posted any, in the last few months. So like getting back to active blogging I tried to get back to making some kebabs too..
Since, the theme of ‘Only’ event for this month is Soya hosted by Preeti, I wanted to indulge in a soya kebab. Texturally, soya has quite a close resemblance to meat and that comes to the advantage of the vegetarians who want to indulge into non-veg delicacies, in a vegetarian way. I’m amongst them and hence I do use soya to replace meat.
Today I have indulged into a very popular kebab, the Shami Kebab. Shami kebab literally means Syrian kebab (Sham) in Arabic. This kabab almost appears like a patty or cutlet which is pan fried and served with mint or coriander chutney, sliced onions and lemon juice. It is a nutritious and healthy kebab. This kebab is extremely popular in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
A typical shami kebab is made of minced mutton, ground Bengal gram (chana dal) and spices. It can be made with any meat either the beef, chicken or mutton but a traditional Shami Kabab made from mince meat are round patties filled with spicy surprises and the tangy `kairi’ or raw green mango. The uniqueness of this kebab is the masala which is a zealously guarded family secret and prepared by women in the royal family. Shami kebabs are royally prepared during the Iftar parties during the Ramzan season or on Eid days along with sheer kurma.
There are various theories regarding it’s origin. i) Some are of the opinion that these kebabs were introduced to South Asia during the Mughal Era by Muslim emigrants from the Middle East. They had employed cooks from all over the Muslim world to serve in the royal kitchens. Some of the cooks were from Syria as well. ii) The second theory states that the word Sham is evening in Hindi and Urdu and Sham-e-Awadh means an evening in Lucknow of yore since the time of Nawab regime. iii) The third theory says that Shami Kababs had originated from the famous village of Sham Churasi in the Hoshiarpur district of Punjab. ( Reference Wikipedia and VahReVahChef)
Since it is authentically made using meat, this is my take on making a veg and vegan version. I’ve avoided the use of clarified butter in cooking the kebabs but those who do not mind indulging in more calories, do not hesitate to use the ghee. The veg kebab might not be as succulent as the non veg version as soya does not have any fatty tissues to it plus it can not be ground as fine as the meat, but flavor wise this kebab rocks. It is almost as good as a meat kebab.
Soya Shami Kebab
Soaking Time: 1hour
Cooking Time:2-3mins per Kebab
Ingredients20oz Soya Granules
1 medium onion roughly chopped
1/2cup soaked Bengal Gram/ Chana dal
2tbsp coriander powder
juice of half lemon
a large pinch garam masala
2tsp red chili powder
oil for shallow frying
1-2 bread slices/bread crumbs
Whole Spices2red chilies
5-6 green cardamom
2 small pieces cinnamon
8-10 black peppercorns
Soak the soya granules for 15-20mins and Bengal Gram for an hour, in water. Drain the water from the lentils. Take a muslin cloth and transfer the soya granules to it. Press and squeeze out all water.
Heat oil in a pan and add all the whole spices. Keep the flame low, so that all flavors infuse into the oil.
Add the chopped onion and sauté.
Add the soaked and drained Bengal gram, mix.
Add the soaked and drained soya granules and mix on high flame to remove all the remaining water.
Add the garam masala, chili powder, coriander powder and salt. Mix and cook for two more minutes.
Cool and add bread slice and lemon juice.
Remove all whole spices and put them in the mixer and grind. Add the soya mix and grind to a smooth paste. While grinding add one or two slices of bread. This helps in binding. Add 2tbsp oil to the mix, this helps to avoid the dryness of the soya and makes the kebab more succulent.
Add the cornstarch to small portions of the mix at a time. Add enough cornstarch so that the kebabs do not disintegrate while frying. The quantity of cornstarch will completely depend on the moisture content in your mix, hence have not specified the quantity.
Take small lemon size portion of the mix and with oiled hand make patty with smooth edges. Shallow fry in medium hot oil. While shallow frying ensure that the pan has enough oil to submerge half the height of the patty. Fry on both sides and remove on a kitchen towel.
Serve hot with green chutney, onion slices, lemon wedges and some chaat masala, sprinkled on top. Else roll it inside a roti with some chutney and onion for a filling kathi roll.