I was recently asked to write an article for my alumni newsletter related to the comfort food we consumed in college. One of the key ingredients of a sandwich from those days was a meat patty, a Shami Kabab, to be precise, and that started my craving to have one.
For those of you who don’t know, a Shami Kabab is a deep fried or pan fried meat patty that is very popular in North India and Pakistan. Eaten with a mint chutney, chopped raw onion and lemon juice, it is the perfect snack to have with beer. The name Shami comes from Sham (which means Syria in Persian). Legend has it that these type of kababs were introduced to North India during Mughal times by Syrian immigrants.
Shami Kababs were my lifeline to half-decent food when I was in boarding school. The food at the school, like boarding schools the world over, was terrible. However, there was a mosque right across from our school that had a little tea shop that sold Shami kababs. That is where I headed to whenever the school food was just too much to take.
Since I don’t eat meat anymore, I do miss the kababs. But I have been trying over the years to create a veggie substitute. Here is the latest attempt and it is pretty good.
NOTE: You can use the kababs as veggie burgers. They taste really good with all the fixins’.
INGREDIENTS (for 5-6 kababs)
50g Dry chana dal (Yellow split peas) – soak them in water for about an hour. They will cook faster.
1 medium potato
1/2 Medium onion finely chopped
1 Thai green chili
200g Morningstar Veggie Crumbles (or real minced meat)
1 tsp minced ginger
2 cloves minced garlic
1/4 Tbsp Shan shami kabab mix (go easy on this stuff, it is STRONG)
½ tsp Garam masala
Salt to taste
1 Egg white
1. Cook the chana dal and boil the potato.
2. Drain the water from the cooked dal.
3. Peel the potato and mash with the dal. Set aside.
2. Finely chop the onion and mix with garlic and ginger.
3. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a frying pan.
4. Add onion, garlic and ginger to hot oil till the onion start to brown.
5. Add veggie crumbles, and let it cook for 1-2 mins.
6. Add the potato/dal mix and mash everything together.
7. Add the green chili and spice powders and let it cook. If it is too liquidy, let the water evaporate. If it is too dry add some water.
8. Cook on low heat till the mixture looks well blended and the water has evaporated. About 10 minutes. NOTE: If you are using real minced meat you will need to cook till the meat is completely cooked. The time will vary based on meat.
9. Let it cool and adjust the seasoning. Add the egg white for binding. Mash as though your life depended on it and make the mixture really homogenous.
10. Roll into balls and flatten into patties about 3 inches in diameter.
11. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a frying pan and pan fry on both sides. TIP: You can also deep-fry the kababs if you like.