Make Easy Shami Kebabs with your Favourite Meat

Just a few days after I published the last month's mfb challenge post, my laptop conked. I wondered if the universe was telling me not to blog! 😅! But Mr F wanted to prove the destiny wrong and set out to get me a new laptop and here I am right in time for the challenge again... 😊

Muslim Food Bloggers Challenge is completing two years now! And just like the first year celebration, we can pick or revisit any of the past month's challenge for this month. Here is the recap of the past themes:

  1. December 2017 – Arabic sweets
  2. January 2018 – Cooking with ingredient: Olives
  3. February 2018 – Cooking from cuisine: Bangladesh
  4. March 2018 – Breakfast
  5. April 2018 – Trying from a blog: This Muslim Girl Bakes
  6. May 2018 – Ramadan food from the Islamic world
  7. June 2018 – Eid ul Fitr specials from the Islamic world
  8. July 2018 – Cooking with an Ingredient: Cucumber
  9. August 2018 - BREAK
  10. September 2018 - BREAK
  11. October 2018 – Back to school lunchbox ideas
So, yeah, not so proud as I have taken part in only two of them, Arabic sweets and Back to school lunch box ideas. But looking at the list of themes we had, I am glad today's recipe will fall under three themes - Bangladesh, Ramadan food and Eid ul fitr too 😊. But my recipe is heavily inspired from Pakistani cuisine.

Easy Shami Kebabs  - lamb meat

Shami Kebabs!

Like always there is a story behind this.

Mr. F is an ardent meat eater and loves all things that Pakistanis make; from shami to chapli, from bihari to nihari...He has been eating that from some of the best places and so knows if what I made is anywhere close to it.

Newly married, newly moved and newly cooking... and all I wanted was to make his favourite dish... nothing new there right? Shami Kebabs was one of the first disaster! I remember how the kebabs used to just disintegrate into the oil or get soaked up with oil and tastes well... oil. I gave up trying after couple of times. But it was always back of my mind, sitting in some corner of my brain along with a few other things that needs to be revisited.

A lady in the Yanbu's FB group offered to make shami kababs on order during Ramadan! Can you imagine my joy! Yes, I have never tasted shami kebabs before that! We ordered both chicken and mutton shami kebabs to see us through the month. :-) When I went to fetch my order, I shared my predicament with making these patties and to my surprise she was more than willing to give me the ratio and the tips. 😊

She definitely motivated me to give Shami Kebabs another try... only that it took me more than a year to do. Facing the fears takes time...

Easy Shami Kebabs  - chicken thighs and breast

October 2018 is the month I made plenty of shami kebabs lol. Starting with lamb, mutton, chicken thighs and last week I ended up making another batch with chicken breasts... well which was not at all planned. I wanted to make kerala style chicken cutlets but ran out of curry leaves 😆 As the chicken was already defrosted, I made shami again. 😜 So this is a perfect recipe and definitely fail proof.

Let me tell you how shami kebab should NOT be. Soggy with oil and not holding shape.

and how it should be? - Not cakey and hard but holds the shape and yet soft.

A little about the dish - Shami Kebab is part of the Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi cuisines and is a very popular snack throughout the year. It is made with beef, lamb or mutton, and even chicken along with split chickpeas and spices. They are often garnished with lemon, sliced raw onions as a side salad, and some like it with mint coriander chutney. (wiki)

Now, why am I calling it easy? It is already an easy recipe and I just made it easier by using garam masala and ginger garlic paste. So sparing the peeling of garlic and ginger and opening numerous spice jars.. 😇You are welcome!

On the note of garam masala, I would highly recommend making a jar of Pakistnai Garam Masala or go for any North Indian garam masala recipe and use that for making Shami Kebabs. I always have just two jars of Garam Masala, one for my regional cuisine - Malabar and one for the rest of India which I use the Pakistani Garam Masala itself. 

Easy Shami Kebabs

I had shared the making of Shami Kebabs on Instagram highlight. For the step by step images and recipe you can go there.

Easy Shami Kebabs


For the dough
500 grams boneless lamb or mutton or chicken thighs and breasts, cut into chunks
100 grams split chickpeas (channa dal), washed and soaked in hot water for 4 to 6 hours
80 to 100 grams potato (1 small), peeled and chunked
125 grams onion (1 large), peeled and chunked
1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste or (1 1/2 inch ginger and 9 garlic cloves)
1 1/4 teaspoon Pakistani Garam Masala OR use whole spices
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 6 dried red chilli
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 3 cloves
1 and 1/2 cup water (If using meat other than chicken, increase water)
Salt to taste

Last addition to the prepared dough
Fistful fresh coriander and mint leaves chopped finely
2 to 3 green chillies chopped very finely
2 tablespoon onion chopped very finely

To fry
1 egg*
any cooking oil


Cook the meat/chicken
  1. Heat a deep and wide pot on a medium flame
  2. Add all the ingredients under "For dough"
  3. Stir thoroughly and bring the mixture to boil
  4. Cover the pot and reduce the flame to low
  5. Cook for 45 minutes stirring occasionally
  6. Add more hot water if required and continue to cook covered until no liquid remains and both meat and lentils are cooked well
  7. Switch off and keep it open to cool completely. If time crunch, transfer to a wide plate and let it cool completely
  8. DO NOT COVER THE POT until cooled completely to avoid moisture falling back into the mixture and making it wet 

Make the dough
  1. Remove most of the whole spices if you have used whole spices else skip this step.
  2. Pulse grind the mixture in batches if required and transfer to a bowl. Pulse only until both meat and lentils come together.
  3. Stir in the coriander leaves, mint leaves and onions
  4. Taste test one last time and adjust the salt and mix again
  5. Refrigerate the mixture for good one hour
Shape the shami kebab patties
  1. Line the work area with a bowl of water, the dough and a tray
  2. Dip both your hands in the bowl of water
  3. Take a heaped tablespoon of the kebab dough and shape the way you want keeping it thick evenly around 1/4 inch
  4. Place the shaped patty on the tray and repeat for the remaining dough
  5. Place the tray in the freezer and let it freeze completely and then transfer the patties to a ziplock bag and use as you need
  6. If you want to fry immediately, let it freeze just for 15 to 20 minutes
Make Shami Kababs
  1. Heat approx 1/4 cup cooking oil in a flat shallow pan
  2. Keep the flame on low to medium 
  3. Whisk one egg in a small bowl
  4. Take a frozen shami and dip in the egg and place on the hot oil carefully. Repeat as much as the pan can hold. Do not crowd it as you will need some space to help you flip them neatly.
  5. Scoop some hot oil and pour on the top side of each shami
  6. Flip sides and cook until both sides are golden around 2 to 3 minutes
  7. Transfer on a kitchen tissue
  8. Serve with lime wedges and slices onions or green chutney
  • Egg is used only while frying. You may need more than one depending on how many kebabs you will fry or how large the egg is. 
  • You don't need to thaw a frozen shami kabab. Out from freezer into hot oil is the best way to fry.
  • In case of frying frozen kebabs, ensure the flame is low to medium in the first few minutes.  
  • You can make your own shami sandwich or burger with your favourite spread and the likes
Easy Shami Kebabs

If you have never made or struggled to get a good batch of shami, look no further, this recipe has got your back!

Now, it is time to find out what other muslim food bloggers have got to the table...


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