Pakistani Beef Kebab

I would like to thank Lucy Waverman whose staff helped me write this recipe. I had a loose recipe from my mother according to her andaaza, estimation method.

Ami and I usually sit in our breakfast room when we’re having an afternoon cup of tea.

For her just a splash of milk, “pour it in with just a flick of the wrist, Sham,” Ami cautions me.

And for myself, a cardamom popped in, no milk.

We share namak paray, finger-thin crackly wafers spiced with cumin as we sip our chai.

Ami used to bake buttercup-yellow dense cakes when I was a child, but she’s given up on baking now.

But that’s all right, as my Aunty Shelly lives just down the road and I can steal a blueberry-banana bread loaf from her kitchen on most days.

My favourite chai-time treat is when Ami makes kebabs.

She plonks everything in the processor and blitzes it.

Then it all goes into a mixing bowl and she tastes it, raw, just like that.

Mirch kam hai-this needs more chili,” Ami says as she effortlessly chops a few more green chilies between her index finger and thumb.

They fall in bit by bit. Then she mixes it all again by hand and begins to shape the meat into small patties.

She lines a baking tray with foil, and smears oil on it with her hands.

And right under the broiler they go.

We have them with a spicy, minty, yoghurt chutney.

And sometimes Ami doesn’t cut the chili small enough, which packs a surprising punch in my mouth.  I love that burning feeling as I wash the kebab down with tea.

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Ami’s Kebabs

Yield: 4
Author: Shayma Saadat


  • 1 lb minced beef (non-lean)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped fine
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped fresh coriander, stems and leaves
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 4 red or green chilies (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped green onions (white and green portion)
  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp salt
  • corn oil (or any other neutral oil) for shallow frying


  • Combine meat, onion, coriander, mint, chilies, cayenne pepper, green onions, coriander seeds, egg and salt in a food processor and process untill well combined and onions, green onions and coriander are finely chopped.
  • Form meat into 2-inch round flat patties, about 1/2-inch thick
  • At this stage you have two options- either fry the kebabs, or if you wish to employ healthy cooking techniques, broil them in the oven.

For frying

  • Heat 1/4 inch of oil in a pan over medium heat. Working in batches, add patties to oil and fry for 30-40 seconds per side or until golden brown and cooked through, adding more oil as needed (you may need to change the oil as it darkens).

For broiling

  • Line a cookie sheet with foil and brush with corn oil.
  • Arrange patties on a cookie sheet and brush each patty with corn oil.
  • Place under a hot grill/broiler 30-40 seconds per side.
  • Serve with a yoghurt mint chutney and naan or other flatbread.

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  1. Fab post Shayma. Remember having kebabs with my tea as well. A spicy bite quenched by a sip of chai was perfect. The kebabs look gorgeous and perfect fried:)

  2. I love the recipe and the article as usual.I share your mom’s passion for spices and enjoy it with her.Keep up the great work!

  3. How yummy and perfect with tea – I tend to have a savoury rather than sweet head and these look so delicious. What a fab recipe, yet again!

  4. Hi,
    I LOVE your blog! But everytime i Visit your blog and salivate looking at the awsome food theres always something I wonder about…..and today I thought Id ask you!
    How do you manage to stay so beautiful and thin despite being surrounded by such gorgeous food!
    I’d love it if you let us into your secrets of staying so gorgeous….
    Coz im afraid if I keep trying out the lovely food on your blog im going to be sooo out of shape:)
    Lots of happiness & sunshine your way!

  5. yummmm, love chai time snacks.

    these kebabs look delish, didn’t know you could broil them with such fantastic results!
    the red chilies are so beautiful.

  6. beautiful post Shayma – I think it’s quite an asian thing, checking the seasoning of raw mince without the bat of an eyelid, isn’t it? I’ve watched my mum and aunties do it countless times. Love the sound of that namak paray and all x

  7. oooh yum, they look just the way my mother makes them – she however makes a batch after batch, lines a tray covered with cling film and freezes them for later.

    I love how you love your food! x

  8. Ooh these are awesome Shayma. I made chicken shami kebabs the other day, and will have to try these with chicken mince next. Your post, Ami, andaaz and all is very real to me too, quite like my mother. Wish I could taste and go, but I can’t, so am glad you got the recipe down like this…
    Beautifully written post!

  9. I found this blog exactly when I was having my lunch at office. It is so unfair to see such lovely Kabab pictures while eating your own badly experimented yellow rice :(.

  10. I love all ur recipes, they’re so authentic and remind me of my mums cookin, love the blog and the photography, I’m hoping to get as good as u in both aspects so wish me luck!

  11. Hi Shayma,
    Read about your blog today in the sunday magazine in pakistan, and have fallen in love with your blog! the pictures are breathtaking.
    I’m an avid food enthusiast and this year launched a small catering business in Karachi too. But taking things slow cuz im still working the 9-6 which is a bit frightening to quit. Lets see!
    Love these Chapli kebabs. Happy eating!!

  12. Hi, i really like your kebab recipe, very simple ! will try it today 🙂 definitely looking forward to reading and trying out more of your recipes..thanks

  13. Awww Shayma, I have fallen in love with your blog. Ther’s nothing I dont appreciate and nothing I dont want to try. All the pics are as elegant and beautiful as you are Masha Allah!

  14. I’ve tried this recipe with both minced beef and a mixture of lamb and beef mince, but omitted the mint leaves (I don’t like mint). However, the end results were great, and we will certainly have this on the menu regularly!

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