Get this fool-proof recipe for traditional shami kabab with authentic taste. These kebabs are freezer friendly and can be stored for up to 4 months. Get the secret tips to perfect kebab.
Updated: 1 Nov 2020 (Recipe was updated with new photos and minor changes in method.)
They are immensely popular and easy to make kebab. As these kebabs have cooked meat so you can store them for a longer period. They are also spelled as shami kabab.
Almost every Pakistani mom makes it in Ramadan and Bakra Eid and a few families keep endless supplies of frozen Shami kebab to serve the unexpected guest, and for teatime snacks.
We love shami kebab because they are
- Delicious and healthy, room temperature kabab can be baked at 350 F for 15 minutes until thoroughly heated and golden. Flip kabab halfway.
- Freezer-friendly, Budget-friendly
- Picnic and travel-friendly, store-cooked kabab in a food bag with ice cube packs (Ice cubes kept in zipper bags). Replace ice cubes when fully melted.
Why this is the best recipe?
Most recipes call for cooking whole spices with meat. But, I found grinding cooked spices with beef and lentil mixture difficult. And no matter how vigilant you are, some spices would still linger in the kabab.
Biting into a whole is really a nuisance to my kids and hubby. So I tried grinding spices beforehand and using the shami kebab masala. Works perfectly!
Shami kebab is mainly made of beef, yellow split pea, eggs, herbs, and loads of spices. All ingredients are grounded together to form a dough-like mixture from which small kebabs are rolled out.
All the ingredients are visible in the photo below so I won't list them all. Don't get intimidated by a large number of ingredients. Most of them are available at home. And you skip a few spices as well.
- Spices: If you do not have any specific spices, just skip them. Spices like fenugreek, black cumin, or black cardamon can be skipped. You can substitute red button chili with red chili flakes or powder too.
- You can always double and triple spice mix batch and store extra for next time in the fridge.
- Meat: Meat is crucial in making "reshay walay" shami kebab. Use tough stewing beef like a beef chunk, beef roast, or beef shank. Other meat options are boneless mutton or chicken breast.
- Shami kebab can be made either with ground beef or boneless beef. I'm using boneless beef that is more traditionally used and gives the perfect threaded texture. But you need to ground meat in a chopper after cooking which is an extra step but totally worth the texture.
- You can use ground beef (keema) too but you'll miss the thread (resha). If you are using ground beef then you can simply mash the mixture with a potato masher until it is uniform.
- Yellow split pea is the main ingredient of shami kebab. It is also called channa dal and is different from chickpea.
- Large Batch: Usually, Shami kebab is made in large batches, I highly recommend doubling and tripling recipes as these take some time to make, so freezing extra kebab makes it worth the effort.
How to make it?
The process usually takes some time. I prefer making the spice mix a day ahead. After the meat and lentil are cooked, you can store the kebab mixture in the fridge.
I often do grinding and rolling the next day for around a leisure hour. Splitting the process makes it easier to make kebab as I usually make 2X or 3X of this recipe.
Cook Meat and Lentil
- Roast whole spices on medium heat for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. (I'm using 10 spices to make Shami kebab masala, but most of them are common if you can't find 1-2 spices like fenugreek and black cumin. Just skip it.)
- Then grind roasted spice finely in a coffee grinder. Shami Kebab masala or spice mix is ready. You can do this step a few days ahead too. Or order your spice mix here.
- Take meat cubes, soaked yellow split peas, ginger, garlic, green chili, Shami kebab spice mix, turmeric, potato, mint leaves, oil, and one cup of water in a pot. Water should be enough to cover the meat entirely. Bring meat to boil then reduce heat and cook for 45 minutes on medium-low heat. Cover the pot tightly. (You can also pressure cook for 20 minutes.)
- Cook meat thoroughly, that is bite the boti after cooking to make sure it is fully cooked and tender. Dry out the water completely. You can burn water or high flame with constant stirring if needed. Lentil should be super soft and mushy.
Prepare Shami Kebab Mixture
- Let the mixture cool then grind in a chopper.
- Add fresh coriander, boiled eggs, a beaten egg, and chopped onion. Mix well.
- Add chat masala and salt to taste. Do a taste test and adjust as needed. Shami kebab mixture is ready. Chilling kebab mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes helps in easy rolling.
- Roll out a small ball of kebab. Grease your hands with little cooking oil if needed. Shape the kebab into a small patty. You can make an oblong shape too.
- At this stage, you can freeze kebab. You can read freezing and frying frozen kebab instructions in the FAQ section below.
- Beat three eggs with salt and red chili powder. Dip each Kebab in egg wash then shallow fry.
- Flip kabab and fry evenly until thoroughly heated and golden from all sides.
- Shami Kebab is ready.
- For frozen and extra crispy Shami kebab, I recommend dipping these in egg wash and coating them with bread crumbs.
- Repeat the same steps with all kebabs. Your Shami kebabs are ready to freeze or fry.
- If kebab is at room temperature shallow fry works well. If kebabs are frozen then deep-frying is recommended. Serve with green chutney and fresh salad.
Recipe FAQs and Trouble Shooting
If the kebab mixture is too wet and soft to roll. Spread hot kabab mixture in a large tray and place it under the fan and let it dry naturally. Lots of water will evaporate naturally. In case the kebab mixture is still wet then add 1-2 tablespoons of bread crumbs.
If the Shami kebab mixture is hard and dry, add an extra mashed potato or/and 1 egg for softer kebabs. For very soft and melt-in-mouth Shami kebab then reduce beef to 300 grams and increase ½ cup split chickpea in the recipe. This will make it less meaty but equally tasty and budget-friendly kebab.
Freeze kebab in a single-layer tray. Or you can place a cling wrap or butter paper and place a second layer over it when kabab is rock-solid place them in a zipper bag and freeze for up to 2 months.
Ideally, thaw kebab for 15 minutes on the counter so they are not rock-solid when they hit the oil since Shami kebabs are cooked so you just need golden outside and heated inside. Deep fry Shami kebab on low heat until golden and thoroughly heated. If you fry it on high heat kebab, then the kebab will be golden from the outside and chill cold inside, so avoid it.
Expert tips to fry frozen kebab:
One visual sign to know that frozen kebabs are heated thoroughly is that the middle coating of the kebab should be golden like the outer coating and doesn't appear raw from the center.
Deep frying is recommended for frozen kebabs as shallow frying can cause the kebabs to break. If in case kebabs are still cold from the inside after frying, you can microwave them for 30 seconds to heat the center core.
What to eat with shami kebab?
These Pakistani Shami kebabs are handy in the morning for quick-lunch preps. You can use kebab in
- as Tikki for a Shami bun kebab.
- Or use them as a patty in sandwiches.
- Pair it with all sorts of flatbreads like roti and naan.
- Just pair it with spicy chutney, dips, and sauce; they are delicious.
- They taste great with a fresh salads like onion, cucumber, and tomato slices.
Hungry for more kebab? Check these!
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Shami Kabab Recipe
Shami kebab Spice Mix Recipe
- 6-8 round red chili , or see notes
- 5 clove laung
- 2 inch cinnamon, broken
- 1 big black cardamom
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon corriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon black cumin
- ½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds, optional
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 500 gram boneless beef, cut in small cubes, preferably beef chuck or beef roast or lamb shank
- 250 gram or 1¼ cup yellow split pea, soaked for 2 hours in warm water
- 1 potato, peeled and cut in chunks
- 4 tablespoon Shami kebab Spice Mix, less or more to taste (recipe given above or buy from here.
- 2 tablespoons oil
- ½ cup mint leaves
- 3 green chilies
- 2 inch ginger
- 4 fat cloves garlic
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- 1 cup water, or more if needed
- 3 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander
- 1 teaspoon chat masala, or more to taste
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 hard-boiled egg, chopped
- 3 eggs, for egg wash
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon red chili powder
- Breadcrumbs, if using as needed
- Oil, for frying
Spice Mix Recipe
- In a pot take all ingredients of cooking meat. Cook for 45 minutes until meat is tender and yellow split pea is soft and mushy.
- Burn all the excess water with constant stirring. This step is important.
- Let the kebab mixture cool. Then in a chopper make a smooth mixture of yellow split pea and meat.
- In a large dish take kebab mixture, mint fresh coriander, boiled egg, 1 beaten egg, chopped onion, chat masala and, salt. Mix well.
- Grease your hands with oil and roll out kebab from the mixture.
- Beat eggs with salt and red chilli powder.
- Dip each kebab in egg and then in bread crumbs. (If using bread crumbs.)
- Shallow fry each kebab in oil until golden brown and serve hot.