I am going to say a thing. It may upset some of you. I understand and hope you will forgive me. I don't like most Shami Kababs. In fact for most of my life I had fairly lukewarm feelings towards them. The notable exception is when they were spread out on to toast and pan fried - those I loved. My husbands' family - more specifically his aunt - changed that.
We went over on one of our Karachi trips and she made Shami Kababs that looked different than the very smooth ones I had grown up on. I took a bite and was actually blown away. These kababs had actual texture, they were juicy, but not oily, the spices were headier than what I was used to and the hara masala more predominant. They became my gold standard for Shami Kabab.
Now I am going to pause here and say I wish mine were as good as his aunts. When someone makes something especially for you with so much love they become more than just the flavours we are eating. However, I've got to say, there are pretty darn amazing.
Keema/Qeema vs Boti in Shami Kababs
My whole life I have seen Shami Kabab made with Keema. I've liked them too - they're also just fyi easier to smush onto toast. However, when you eat a shami kabab made with boti then it just takes the flavours and the texture of the kabab up a whole notch. Traditionally these kababs were made on a traditional hand grinding device and it was fairly labor intensive to make them this way which is why a lot of people made the switch to keema kababs. However, now, thanks to the Instant Pot and Food Processors the process has become so much quicker and easier.
5 Things I Learnt About Making the Best Kababs
Here are some things that I learnt during the recipe testing process that I think are a must know if you want to make Shami Kabab
- The meat needs to be very close to 2lbs. For those of us who buy our meat from the butcher in 1 lb packets, it's vital to confirm that they actually do weigh 1 lb. I discovered that mine were often closer to 1.3 lbs each and as a result the ratios were off.
- Soaking the Daal. Soaking the chana daal overnight or for 4-6 hours allowed it to completely blend into the kababs. The unsoaked version still had some pieces of daal left even after going into the food processor. Not too many, but some.
- Fresh Ginger/Garlic: I cannot say enough how much of a difference these made. Now since I had my food processor out anyway for later on I simply put the ginger, garlic and onion in there.
- Onion in the Mix: This is KEY to tender juicy kababs. I have seen recipes without and tried it without and there is no question in my mind you need to have it.
- Grinding Masala: Let me be the first to say if there is a viable shortcut I will find it. However in this case there is nothing like the magic of fresh masala. I have seen recipes where you roast and grind and while that extra step adds flavour it wasn't phenomenal enough to be worth the extra work (in my humble opinion.
What Goes in Boti Shami Kababs
- 2 lbs beef boti or stewing cubes
- fresh ginger and garlic
- ground spices
- chanay ki daal or chana daal
- green chilies
More Ramadan Prep Ideas:
- Potato Cutlets with Green Chilies and Corn
- Jalapeno Popper/ Cheese Samosas
- Dahi Baray
- Instant Pot Salan Masala
- DIY Pakora Mix
Made these Shami Kababs? Share what you thought and don't forget to tag me on Instagram @flourandspiceblog ! Also please do rate the recipe below by clicking the number of stars you want to give it!
- 2 lbs Beef Boti
- 1 cup Chana Daal Soaked 4-6 hours or overnight (preferred)
- 2.5 inch piece Ginger
- 8 cloves Garlic
- ½ cup Diced Onion (half a medium-large onion)
- ¾ cup Water
- 1 Black Cardamom
- 2 Green Cardamom Pods (just seeds or use ½ tsp cardamom powder) Optional
- 1.5 tsp Whole Coriander Seeds
- 1.5 tsp Cumin Seeds
- 2 tsp Whole Black Peppercorns
- 6-7 Cloves
- Small Cinnamon Stick (2 cm or ¾ inch)
- 2.5 tsp Salt (plus additional to adjust seasoning to taste)
- 2 tsp tsp Chilli Flakes or 1.5 tsp Powder
- ½ cup Cilantro
- ½ cup Mint
- 6 Green Chilies
- ½ Medium Onion
Grind all the Masalas in the Garam Masala section and set aside
Now quickly run your ginger, garlic and onion from the first section through a food processor/ chopper or dice by hand.
Combine all the ingredients except the Hara Masala ones in the Instant Pot along with half a cup water, give it a mix and put to pressure for 30 Minutes then natural release.
When you open the lid to the instant pot there will still be some water left in it (see video) - saute on medium heat for 5-7 minutes until the mix starts to stick to the bottom.
While it's cooling run the Green Masala ingredients through the food processor to mince. Just a few short pulses will do the trick, you want a fine dice not a paste.
Once the mixture is cool then for extra meaty kababs you can simply go in with clean hands and mash it together or run it through the food processor to acheive a more paste like consistency (you won't lose the lovely meat texture entirely). Process on high speed for 30 second intervals till the consistency is to your liking.
Stir in ALL the hara masala - it will seem like a lot but it works.
Shape the kababs to your preferred size. Tip: Damp palms make this easier so keep a bowl of water near you.
Flash freeze on a tray then move to a freezer safe container. Keep well for 6 months.
This recipe also works with ½ cup water, but I know one of the Instant Pot models goes to burn very quickly so I have put down ¾ cup to be safe.