Chapli kabab is a specialty of Pukhtun Cuisine, the food of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, a province of Pakistan. These chapli kebab are also called Peshawari kabab named after Peshawar, the capital city in the same province. You can learn more about chapli kabab here!
Updated: 1 Nov 2020
Chapli kabab is the king of all kababs, full of flavors, texture, tangy and nutty taste. It is full of aromas and bursting with taste. Overall the kababs are quite easy to make. I know, the making of spice mix is a bit of extra effort but you can make it ahead. And the taste of freshly roasted spices is bursting with flavors.
What Is Chapli Kabab?
Chapli Kababs are one of many Pakistani kabab from the region of Peshawar and are also called Peshawari kababs. The word chapli means flatten in the Pashto language. The kebabs are round and flattened minced meat cutlets with coarsely grounded spices and chopped tomatoes. They have also spelled chapli kabab or Chapli kebab.
Ingredient of Chapli Kebab
- Mince: While mince of other kabab is processed twice for a fine texture. Chapli kabab’s mince is processed just once and is like normal mince (keema). It has 20% fat. Additional fat pieces of lamb are mixed with mince for extra moisture and softness.
- Spices: These kabab has a strong aroma of various spices. You need basic Indian spices to make chapli kabab. One less common spice is pomegranate arils. You can find it easily in Indian stores. If you can’t find it, substitute it with mango powder ( AKA amchoor powder). The pomegranate arils add both tangy flavor and texture to the kabab. Another common but no staple spice is fennel seeds (AKA sauf).
- butter: These are high-fat kabab, usually, animal fat is added to mince, I didn’t have animal fat in hand so I used, clarified butter which will keep the kabab moist.
- green chilies
Why do kabab break?
- Lack of fat in mince can make the kabab dry and break. Make sure the mince has 20% fat.
- Lack of binding agent. Every kabab has a binding agent. The usual binding agent for chapli kabab is flour, usually wheat flour or cornflour.
- You added tomato in the marination. Tomatoes will release excess moisture and break the kebab while frying. So make sure to tomatoes just before frying.
How to fix breaking chapli kebab?
If your chapli kabab are breaking while frying, you can try one of the two tricks.
- If mince mixture is too moist add extra flour to bind it.
- Or if the mixture is stiff and can absorb little moisture, add few tablespoons of a beaten egg. Do not add whole egg altogether as this will make the mixture to soft and difficult to roll into kabab. So go slow adding just one tablespoon at a time.
What do you eat Chapli Kabab with?
Honestly, I’m a big fan of chapli kabab and I can eat all of it alone. Spicy mint coriander chutney or tamarind chutney or raita pair well with this kabab. Traditionally, these are served with tandoori naan. But they taste great with rice too like afghani Pulao. They pair as great protein side with daal chawal too.
Chapli Kebab for keto?
Since these are high-fat kabab, they can make a great keto main course. Make sure to reduce or skip onions and tomato. Use almond flour instead of cornflour as a binding agent. Also, add extra fat lamb fat pieces in the center of the kabab when you roll it.
Some people also add scrambled eggs in the raw mince to mimic fat like the taste. I just found it an extra step that doesn’t make a lot of difference in taste. If you wish, you can add it to meet your daily macros.
How to store Chapli Kabab?
Cooked Chapli kabab can be store in the fridge in air-tight jar. Reheat in a covered in a plate in microwave before serving. You can also freeze it for up to 2 months.
How to make Chapli kabab Recipe Pakistani
What makes Chapli kabab so unique is the spice blend. We’ll begin by preparing the spice blend. You can prepare this spice blend ahead in fact if you make this kabab often, I suggest double or triple the spice mix recipe and store it in the fridge. It’ll stay good for up to a year.
Roast whole spices (coriander, cumin, pomegranate and fennel seeds) for 1 minute. Then crushed them coarsely in a mortar or in a grinder. Just 2-3 pulse are enough, do not ground in to f
Also roast powdered spices (red chilli powder, red chilli flakes, turmeric, ginger powder, garlic powder and black salt) for a few seconds. (Kashmiri chilli and black pepper not visible in the photo please add it as well.)
Mix the coarse powder and fine powder together to make your chapli kabab spice mix. Set aside.
Take mince in a plate, add onions, clarified butter, cream, chapli kabab spice mix, cornflour, green chillies, ginger, garlic and fresh coriander. Mix well.
Marinate for 30 minutes at least. (Preferably 4-6 hours in the fridge.)
Before making the kababs, do a taste test on a pan or tawa and adjust spices and salt if required. This step is not necessary but it is always worth the effort to get perfect taste.
Now roll out a flat patty (kabab) from mince dough and embed a slice of tomato in each patty. Roll each kabab patty in corn flour. (Remember the patty will shrink upon cooking. Chapli kabab is usually thick and big kababs, we prefer a medium single serving size.)
Alternatively, you may chop a tomato and embed chopped tomatoes in kabab. (I prefer this method as tomato slice slips out of kabab easily.)
Fry kabab on medium heat for 2 minutes on each side until golden, then turn heat to high and cook further for a few seconds for crispy edges.
Serve hot with naan and chutney.
Want more Kabab recipes? Check these!
Chapli Kabab Recipe Pakistani
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 1 tablespoon dried pomegranate arils, (anar dana), susbtitute with dried mango powder
- ½ tablespoon fennel seeds, (sauf)
- ½ tablespoon red chilli flakes, ( or chilli powder)
- ½ tablespoon Kashmiri chilli powder, (for color, substitute with paprika)
- 1 teaspoon ginger powder
- 1 teaspoon red chilli powder, (or more to taste)
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon black salt, or pink salt or just salt
- Salt , to taste
- ½ kg mince, (mutton or beef)
- 1 large (150 gram) onion, , finely chopped
- 3 tablespoon cornflour, , more for dusting
- 2 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
- 2 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander
- 2 tablespoon chopped green chilli
- 2 tablespoon butter, (or clarified butter )
- 1 tablespoon cream
- 1 large tomato
- Oil , or clarified butter to fry
For Spice Mix
- Roast cumin, coriander, dried pomegranate aril and fennel seed in a pan for 1 minutes until fragrant, crushed them lightly to get a coarse powder. Set aside.
- Next, roast remaining spices red chilli powder, kashmiri chilli powder, red chilli flakes, turmeric, black pepper, ginger powder and black salt for few second. Mix crushed and powder spices together to make chapli kabab spice mix.
For chapli kabab
- In large bowl take mince, spice mix and ingredients of chapli kabab except tomato. Mix well until mince gets a dough like consistency. Marinate for 30 minutes.(Preferably 4-6 hours.)
- Roll out balls of kabab and flatten with hands. (Remember kabab will shrink upon frying so make them a little flatter and bigger than desired size.)
- Slice a tomato and embed a tomato slice on each kabab.
- Alternately, you can chopped tomato and embed chopped tomato in kabab. (Recommended for easy frying.)
- Dust each kabab lightly in corn flour.
- Shallow fry kabab in oil or clarified butter for 2-3 minutes on medium flame until crispy.