Monday, March 03, 2014

The H-man's Chicken Kabab -- from the lazy nawab's Harem

....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.

Chicken Kabab

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.


Red Curry Paste has nothing to do with the recipe, if you are wondering

The ground chicken(keema) that I get here is really fine and cooks fast. So we marinate it in various different ways involving ginger, garlic green chilies, onion, garam masala etc. I also add a little breadcrumb to it which keeps the moisture in. Earlier I would add an egg to the mix but I don't any more and it is soft and succulent as ever. Guess the breadcrumbs do the trick.
Then i go ahead and  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

These kababs can be spiced in various different ways with spices to your liking. When I am short of time I will do nothing but add chopped onions, minced garlic, tandoori masala, green chilies, dry mint, some breadcrumbs, salt and few drops of oil to the keema and marinate it.On other days I might take more care. Either way they taste great!

Start with 1 lb - 1.5lb of ground chicken. When buying from the butcher I usually ask chicken thigh meat with some fat to be made into keema.

Blend few mint leaves, 2 green chilli, 1 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,
2 cloves of garlic minced,
chopped coriander leaves,
the mint-yogurt paste,
1 tsp of Tandoori masala or Garam Masala
few drops of olive oil
salt to taste

Add a tbsp of kasoori-methi warmed and crushed between your palms if you like the flavor.

Mix well and keep aside for 30mins.

Now add
1/4th cup of breadcrumb or panko
Note: The breadcrumbs make even the baked kababs deliciously soft. If you are not adding breadcrumbs add an egg to the keema mix.

Mix well. Keep aside for 30 - 60 minutes in the refrigerator.

After 30 mins or an hr, take the keema out and fashion round shaped kababs by flattening them on the palm of your hands. Place on a greased oven proof tray. I prefer lining the tray with a greased aluminum foil which makes cleaning much easier.

You can either shallow fry the kababs on the stove top or bake them in the oven

Shallow fry:

Take a flat bottomed pan and add oil to. Oil should be enough for shallow frying

Once the oil is hot, gently add the kababs to the pan. Once the edges start browning, flip the kababs on the other side. Chicken kabas cook fast and since these kababs are not too thick, takes 3 minutes to cook on each side at medium-high heat.

Make sure the meat is cooked and the kababs are golden brown with brown spots

Bake in Oven:

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


  1. Ya you r right,this will go perfect with tempered dal nd plain rice

    1. No, no as starter :) I mentioned the toor dal because I had learned to make it that way from the same friend.
      But of course you can have it with dal-chawal. Always delicious.

  2. No kidding but each time I read about 'H-man' I visualize MARVEL superheroes in your kitchen. (Like, Iron-man with pots and ladle! I ask for forgiveness) Tobey, nowaab-shaheb-er chicken kaabaab ta darun dekhtey hoyeche...amar shashuri banai similar recipe only difference she adds a lot of coriander leaves during the mix in blender and calls is HARA kabab!

    1. I wish ;-) But I will take a cooking man over a spider man any day :)
      Your MIL is smart and I too add some dhania patta

  3. Such a malleable dish! i will add in mint leaves for that exotic taste! :)

    Isn't it nice that even though some people/relationships may not last, everyone always teaches us something about ourselves..something we would have never known if not for that person!

  4. Has happened to me too this driftng apart from a friend whom you thought was a friend for life. Cant say what went wrong. Another mystery of life I guess.But these kababs look like they will stay with me forever.

  5. this is one thing i've always ALWAYS wanted to make!

  6. kababs look delicious !!! a must try :)

  7. Hmm - I'm going to keep coming back and seeing the responses - all i know is that i'm much more relaxed about friendships now than before - try not to have too many expectations, etc.

    Sometimes other priorities take over and friends are nowhere in the picture. Sometimes they could be upset with you for some reason, valid or weird or whatever! I'm sending you mail.

  8. I like the mauzi-feel of the pic :)
    Similar situation with a collegemate. We were really good friends (like best buddies) and somewhere along the line, we just drifted apart. Not even in touch now. But I guess it is ok. Life and all that.

  9. yes it has happened to us too , that too very recently..a mis- judgement happened with a very dear friend of many many years. For us the connection just broke, it seems that we have hurt her through our words. No, I was not able to pick up this fallen relation again. I don't know about future but just now, I miss our old days and feel very sad. Yes like many others have said that physical distances bring mental distances too and then the same old jokes might get misjudged :-(
    About the kebab, loved the recipe. We also make chicken kebabs but for the succulence you are talking about, I might try your recipe soon!

  10. God bless you bong mom for all your wonderful recipes. have tried out many of them and they've been a hit.

  11. True friendship never wilt. Recently, I got back my childhood friend. Couple of mails to clear both sides, we are back again to the track...
    Gosh- my man does only maggi, spicy puffed rice and rarely tea! Never tried kebab need to give a shot!

  12. We love these long he cooks (occassionaly) I'm happy without any recipe & measurements(only like to keep him reminding that kids gonna eat this so go easy on mirchi etc.) for friendship recently got back with my best friend from college time after 10 was few things which hurt me but I guess with the time & age I'm learning to let go of the is too short to keep all these differences....also like Sra said don't have too many expectations as with the time priorities have also changed....

  13. was just yesterday having an online discussion on mince and how chicken mince works only in Banu's shammi kebabs...yours luck like they were separated at the Kumbh mela from the kebabs she makes

    Great to see Banu, who has not bunked today, making her debut at Bong Mom's

  14. Oho,that was EASY! I'm gonna make it soon.:-)

  15. If she was truly a good friend, something in life will happen to bring you two together again!

    The kebabs look delicious!

  16. Thanks you for the lovely recipe. I sure want to try . I love the picture most of it all - they make me drool.

  17. Issh ... eto sohoj dinner jodi amar barite hoto. Na oi ruti,dal sobji ... ar bhalo lage na.
    Kintu nijer jonne korboi korbo eyi baked version ta.

  18. I came over from FB as soon as I saw the words "lazy Nawab"! Darun recipe, and I am yet to make ground chicken kebabs for some odd reason. Now, will absolutely have to xx

  19. Great article, it is nice to read your article..

  20. Awesome post, thanks for sharing this post..

  21. Love your blog. Thank you for this easy version of kabab. Can this be done with ground beef?


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