Shammi lamb kebabs

Shammi lamb kebabs

I Love India
15 small kebabs
Martin Poole

These are proper melt-in-your-Moghul-mouth kebabs. My mother lived with her sister-in-law after she got married. My mother came from a vegetarian family, but my father was a big meat eater, so she quickly learned some dishes from her sister-in-law who had grown up in Lucknow, a city famed for its refined dishes. More than anything, they love their red meat. This particular meat dish is made in the way they would cook them in the best restaurants in Lucknow. We serve them with drinks before dinner. You can make them a day in advance and refrigerate – or even freeze – them, then return them to room temperature and fry once your guests have arrived. If you think your blender won’t manage to grind the whole spices once they are in the meat mixture, put them in a spice grinder first and add them to the meat already ground.


Quantity Ingredient
4 tablespoons chana dal
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus 1–2 tbsp more, if needed
1 onion, sliced
450g minced lamb
15g roughly chopped root ginger, (peeled weight)
4 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
7 cloves
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
5mm cinnamon stick or cassia bark
2 mace blades
4 black cardamom pods
3 dried bay leaves
salt, to taste (around 3/4 teaspoon)
1-2 teaspoon finely chopped green chilli, or to taste
1 egg white
1 large slice of bread, whizzed into crumbs
handful chopped coriander


  1. Wash the chana dal and leave them to soak while you get organized.
  2. Heat the 1 tbsp oil in a saucepan, add the onion and cook until well browned. Drain the oil into a bowl and add the lamb to the onion in the pan. Stir-fry until brown, then add the ginger, garlic, whole spices, bay leaves, salt and soaked lentils. Give the pan a good stir and add enough water to come three-quarters of the way up the lamb. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer gently for 30–35 minutes, or until the lamb and lentils are soft.
  3. Uncover and cook off any excess liquid over a high heat, stirring often so nothing burns. There should be no moisture left in the pan. Drain off any excess oil into the same bowl as that from frying the onions. Leave to cool for 10 minutes.
  4. Place the meat mixture in a blender and blend until completely smooth; it may take a few minutes.
  5. Stir in the green chilli, egg white, crumbs and coriander. Leave for another 10 minutes, or until cold.
  6. Form into patties and leave to sit for a little longer if they are still soft.
  7. Add 1–2 tbsp of the reserved oil into a large non-stick frying pan over a low heat and add as many kebabs as you can comfortably fit in. Carefully flip them once the underside is golden brown and cook this side in the same way.
  8. Repeat with the next batch if you couldn’t fit them all in. Serve hot with Tangy Herb Chutney or Minted Yogurt Chutney.
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