....Or maybe the Nawab's lazy harem. I mean the Nawab never cooked anyway so it must have been either the Harem ladies (which I seriously doubt) or the chief bawarchi's sous chef(more probable) who took this shortcut approach to Chicken Kababs. It might also have been the Harem ladies in their Kohled eyes and betel juice stained lips who made these when economy was bad and they could not afford a sous chef or goat keema. The chief bawarchi of course would not take such demeaning shortcuts. In the worst case it could be the Nawab taking on the chicken keema because his umpteen wives went off to their maika, again economy being bad and all that.
Ultimately I do not care who the pioneer was.It--this simple method of making kababs--was first introduced to us by a beautiful friend of mine who came straight from the Nawabi heartland of Luckhnow. Impeccable with her manners and beauty she was a dear friend for many years. And then something happened. Till this day I am not very clear of how one thing led to another but KA-BOOM and she wasn't a dear friend anymore. We still were friends but somewhere the tune was lost, the rhythm broken and those nights of having impromptu dinners together never happened again. Like every relationship, friendship often needs lot of time to nurture, grow and maintain. I guess we faltered somewhere along the line. Has that happened to you ? Can you pick up even after a friendship has been strained ?
I still treasure the times we had together though and I am eternally grateful for the toor dal with a chaunk of jeera and a crush of garlic and these succulent,easy-peasy chicken kababs. Gosh, I would have never taken to them so dearly if they were not this easy.
Over time I have introduced a lot of other things in the kabab depending on the day, year, season, what say you. I have made them spicy with the spices from the chicken masala balls. I have made them like meatballs which the kids love. Or I have just stuck to the rudimentary and this is how the H-man made it on Sunday for dinner.
Since the recipe is almost non-existent I had planned to do a la-di-dah step-by step picture of the process as the H-man cooked. Instead I took pics of the red curry paste because I was making a wonton soup and I am partial to dishes I make. Bottomline, there are no picture and also no measured out recipe because if asked to measure while cooking, the H-man just rolls his eyes.
The ground chicken(keema) that I get here is really fine and cooks fast. So we marinate it with ginger-garlic paste, home made garam masala, cumin powder, finely chopped coriander and salt. Then we add an egg to it, mixing it all up nicely. Taking cue from Banu this time around we put this mix in the blender and gave a whiz. I have done without it before.
Now add some crushed kasoori methi warmed between your palm, finely chopped bits of onion and finely chopped bits of green chili(optional). Mix it all together with a spoon.
Heat very little oil on a flat fry pan or griddle. Fashion round tikki kind of patties from this spiced up keema. Shallow fry them till they have brown spots on both surface.
Serve the kababs with a raw onion-cucumber salad.
Version 2 of this recipe with mint and yogurt and baked in the oven
Blend few mint leaves, 2 green chilli, two fat clove of garlic and an inch of chopped ginger with 2-3 tbsp of thick yogurt.
In a big bowl put 1lb of ground chicken
To it add
quarter of an onion chopped in small pieces,
couple of green chillies chopped fine,
a garlic clove minced,
chopped coriander leaves,
the mint-yogurt paste,
salt to taste.
Mix well and keep aside for 30mins.
1/4th cup of breadcrumb or panko(optional)
Note: The breadcrumbs make even the baked kababs deliciously soft
Fashion round shaped kababs and place on a greased oven proof tray. I prefer lining the tray with a greased aluminum foil which makes cleaning much easier.
Bake at 350F for about 15mins. At this point you will notice that the underside of the kababs has started browning.
Take out the tray and flip the kakbas. Bake for about 10 mins or until kabab is done.
Makes about 10-12 kababs