2.2 lbs or 1 kg boneless beef, cut into small pieces
2 tbsp whole coriander seeds
2 whole dry red chillies
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 cup olive oil
2 medium onions, sliced fine
1 tsp garam masala powder
2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
3 tbsp white vinegar
1 cup yoghurt
1 cup pureed green, raw papaya
Onion rings, for garnish
A sprig of cilantro, chopped, for garnish
Dry roast coriander, cumin and dry red chilli in a small fry pan until fragrant. Once cool, grind in a spice or coffee grinder to a powder. Keep aside.
Fry the sliced onions in oil until reddish-brown. Keep aside. (Don’t remove them from the oil).
Grind the raw papaya with a little water to make a smooth puree. Keep aside.
Take the beef pieces in a large glass bowl and mix in the ground spices of step 1, the fried onions (along with the oil in which they were fried) of step 2, the papaya puree of step 3, ginger-garlic paste, garam masala, yoghurt, white vinegar and salt. Mix very well, cover with cling foil and keep in fridge for 8-10 hours or overnight.
Transfer the marinated beef to a dutch oven and turn on the heat to high. When the contents inside start bubbling (the yoghurt will release some water), lower the heat and cover the pan with a tight fitting lid. Cook for one or one and a half hours on low heat until the kebabs are done. Check once or twice to make sure they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
Smoke and garnish:
Heat a piece of charcoal till it is red-hot and place it in a circular piece of onion. Keep this piece of onion on top of the cooked kebabs and drizzle a little oil or ghee, (if you happen to have ghee at hand) on the hot charcoal piece. I prefer ghee though vegetable oil is just fine too. Cover with a lid and wait for five minutes.
Transfer the smoked kebabs to a shallow serving dish and garnish with onion rings and chopped cilantro.
There is a fair bit of roasting and frying involved, so make sure to air the kitchen space once it’s done. Just crack open a few windows to let the smell of spices out. And don’t forget to switch on the exhaust fan!
Smoking and garnishing the kebabs are optional steps, so do away with them if you are too impatient or hungry. The kebabs taste just great even without the extra fussing about.
Raw papaya is usually available in the produce section of Indian grocery stores.
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