Shami possibly comes from the urdu word sham (evenings) and shami or shammi kebab points to the kebab served in the evening. But not just any evening but a special one where there was Sharab (alcohol) & Shabab (youth). Nawabs of yore infamously had sinful evenings of dance, music, entertainment and the kebabs that reminds of those sinful evening came to be known as shami kebab.
Some of the tips to watch out while making shami kebab is that this kebab tends to go very dry cause of addition of chana dal. One way to avoid dry kebab is to limit the use of chana dal. Also use thick boneless pieces of meat while cooking and not make the recipe with meat mince.
Once the kebab mixture is cooked pound it rather using a mixer grinder or a mincer to get a lovely texture. This is a kebab that is shallow fried and not deep fried as we usually are served in cocktail parties. Using an egg in the recipe keeps the kebab moist.
For Shami Masala
Bayleaf (तेज पत्ता) – 3 nos
Black cardamom (काली ईलाइची) – 3 nos
Peppercorns (काली मिर्च) – 2 tsp
Mace (जावित्री) – 2 blades
Cinnamon 1” long (दालचीनी) – 2 nos
Cardamom (ईलाइची) – 10 nos
Cloves (लौंग) – 6-7 nos
Coriander seeds (धनिया बीज) – 2 tbsp
Caraway (शाही जीरा) – 1 tsp
Cumin (जीरा) – 2 tsp
Dry red chillies (सूखी लाल मिर्च) – 5-6 nos
Ghee (घी) – 2 tbsp
Mutton boneless (बोनलेस मीट) – 500 gms
Mutton Nalli (मटन नल्ली) – 2 pc 100gms
Ginger, chopped (अदरक)- 1 tbsp
Garlic, chopped (लहसुन) – 1½ tbsp
Green chillies, slit (हरि मिर्च) – 3 nos
Turmeric (हल्दी) – ½ tsp
Salt (नमक) – to taste
Onion, medium (प्याज़) – 2 nos
Chana dal (चना दाल) – ½ cup
Water (पानी) – 2 cups
Mint leaves (पुदीना) – handful
Coriander leaves (धनिया पत्ता) – handful
Green chillies, chopped (हरि मिर्च) – 1 no
Eggs (अंडा) – 1 no
Ghee (घी) – for frying
For Shami Kebab Masala
For Shami Masala, in a hot pan, add bay leaves, black cardamom, peppercorns, mace, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, whole coriander seeds, shahi jeera, jeera and dried red chillies. Roast it for some time. Now, pound it using a mortar and pestle into a coarse powder. You can even use a mixer grinder to powder the spices.
For cooking, in a pressure cooker, add ghee, boneless mutton, mutton nalli, chopped ginger, garlic, green chillies, turmeric, salt, roughly cut onions, soaked chana dal, and Shami masala. Roast it well on high flame for 3 to 4 minutes. Now, add water and close the lid of the cooker. Cook it till 7 to 8 whistles or till the mutton is cooked really well.
We have to cook the mutton till it literally melts, after that, dry off the excess water in the pressure cooker by cooking on high heat.
The next step is to pound the mutton very well using a mathani or vegetable masher. You can use a mixer grinder for this but it would make the kebabs dry. This process seems difficult but it isn’t; the mutton is so soft that it mashes easily in no time. Turn the gas off and take the mutton into a flat bowl to cool it down.
After cooling the mutton down, add some chopped mint leaves and coriander. Add chopped green chillies, and an egg. The egg is optional, it will make the shami kabab soft and will give binding to it. Mix it well with your hands.
Now, we have to shape the mutton like a patty. Take a ball and press it gently, then roll the patty like a wheel to make the side even. The Shami Kebab is ready, we just have to fry it.
On a hot flat tawa, add some ghee, then place the Shami kebabs on it. Shallow fry both sides evenly till it gets brown. Shami kebab is ready to be served. Enjoy this great evening snack with some mint chutney.