Make Easy Shami Kebabs with your Favourite Meat

Shami Kebabs - A soft, melt in the mouth, pan-fried kebabs that can be made with either mutton, lamb, beef or even chicken along with chickpeas and a small portion of potato is served with a squeeze of lemon juice and some red onion! Yummmm...Makes a perfect snack or appetizer! Returning visitor? Jump to Recipe.
Make Easy Shami Kebabs with your Favourite Meat
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 challenges. So, yeah, not so proud as I have taken part in only two of them, Arabic sweets and Back to school lunch box ideas.

My Story with Shami Kebabs

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 disasters! I remember how the kebabs used to just disintegrate into the oil or get soaked up with oil and taste well... oil. I gave up after trying a 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 need 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 fears takes time...

Easy Shami Kebabs  - chicken thighs and breast

October 2018 is the month I made plenty of shami kebabs. 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 πŸ˜† As the chicken was already defrosted, I made Shami Kebab again. 😜 So this is a perfect shami kebab recipe and definitely fail-proof.

What is Shami Kebab?

Let me tell you how shami kebab should NOT be. Soggy with oil and not holding shape. How it should be? Not cakey and hard but holds the shape and yet melt in the mouth soft. 

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.

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... πŸ˜‡You are welcome! On the note of garam masala, I would highly recommend making a jar of Pakistani 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

How to Make Shami Kebabs? (with meat or poultry)

Scroll down for the written detailed recipe. 

shami kebab dough ingredients in a saucepot

shami kebab dough ingredients getting cooked

shami kebab dough ready to be processed

Shami Kebabs dough processed in a mixie

Shami Kebabs dough in a bowl

Shami Kebab dough with fresh herbs and onions

shami kebab shaping

shaped shami kebabs

frying shami kebabs in a shallow pan with some oil

stack of shami kebabs

How do you fry frozen Shami Kebab?

frozen shami kebabs

I always make a batch and freeze them individually and then transfer them to a box. When you want to fry frozen shami kebabs, you use them straight from the freezer. Do not thaw as it will get messy and not hold shape when you fry. 

Easy Shami Kebab Recipe


For the dough:
  • 500gms boneless lamb or mutton or chicken thighs, cut into chunks
  • 100gms split chickpeas (channa dal), washed and soaked overnight 
  • 80gms to 100gms potato (1 small), peeled and chunked
  • 125gms onion (1 large), peeled and chunked
  • 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste or (1 and 1/2 inch ginger and 9 garlic cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli flakes or 3 dried red chillies
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoon Pakistani Garam Masala OR use whole spices (1/2 tbsp cumin seeds, 1 black cardamom, 1-inch cinnamon stick and 3 cloves)
  • 1 and 1/2 cup water for meat
    • For chicken thighs use only 1 cup of water 
    • for chicken breast use 3/4 cup 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 finely chopped onion
To fry:
  • 1 egg (refer notes)
  • any cooking oil


Cook the meat/chicken mixture:
  1. Add all the ingredients listed under For the dough into a deep saucepot and heat on medium flame. Stir thoroughly and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover the pot and reduce the flame to low. Cook for 45 minutes stirring occasionally. Add more hot water if required and continue to cook covered until no liquid remains and both meat and lentils are cooked thoroughly. 
  2. Switch off and keep it open to cool completely. If time crunch, transfer to a wide plate and let the mixture cool completely. DO NOT COVER THE POT until cooled completely to avoid moisture falling back into the mixture and making it wet.
Prepare the shami kebab dough:
  1. Remove most of the whole spices if you have used whole spices else skip this step. Pulse grind the mixture in batches until both meat and lentils come together. 
  2. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the coriander leaves, mint leaves and onions. Taste test one last time and adjust the salt and mix again. You may use hand or for to mix the dough. Refrigerate the mixture for a good one hour.
Shape the shami kebab patties:
  1. Line the work area with a bowl of water, the dough and a lined tray. Dip both your hands in the bowl of water. Take a heaped tablespoon of the kebab dough and shape the way you want keeping it thick evenly around 1/4 inch. Place the shaped patty on the tray and repeat for the remaining dough.
  2. 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. If you want to fry immediately, let it freeze just for 15 to 20 minutes.
Fry Shami Kababs:
  1. Heat cooking oil in a flat shallow pan on low to medium flame. Whisk one egg in a small bowl. Take a frozen or chilled Shami kebab and dip it in the egg and place it on the hot oil carefully. Repeat as much as the pan can hold. Do not crowd the pan as you will need some space to help you flip them neatly. 
  2. Scoop some hot oil and pour on the top side of each shami kebab. Flip them carefully and cook until both sides are golden around 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer them to a kitchen tissue. Serve shami kebabs with lime wedges and sliced onions or green chutney. Watch more videos clips on my Instagram highlights.
  • The 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 the 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!

I would love to know if you tried this recipe. You may leave a comment below or follow me on Instagram and mention @butfirstchaai or tag #butfirstchaiblog so that I can see your creations! Thank you! 
Now, it is time to find out what other Muslim food bloggers have got to the table at An InLinkz Link-up