Shami kebabs are shallow fried cutlets made out of ground lamb, split chickpea lentils and whole spices. They have flaky brown crusts and soft insides. This lamb kebabs recipe is perfect with Indian flatbread and coriander chutney!
Shami kebabs, or Indian lamb kebabs are an all-time favourite in my home and a life-saver for lazy days.
If you have a batch in the freezer, snack time becomes so easy. Just shallow fry some kababs and serve with some cilantro-mint chutney. Or have them for dinner with flatbread.
Shami Kabab Ingredients
- Lamb mince, rinsed and drained
- Split chickpeas (chana dal) – this is for binding the kababs so they don’t fall apart while frying. If you don’t have chana dal, add 2 lightly whipped eggs and mix them with the mince.
- Whole spices – coriander, black peppercorns, bay leaves, cardamom (black and green), cinnamon, dry red chillies or chilli flakes. If you don't have all of these, use the ones you do have but do not skip the whole spices altogether.
- Thai Chillies (optional)
- Oil for shallow frying
- Salt, to taste
Note: exact quantities are mentioned in the recipe card at the bottom.
Green Chutney Ingredients
- Cilantro leaves
- Thai chillies
- Black pepper, ground
Some useful tips
- Drain the mince very well after washing it. There should be no extra moisture in it or the cooked mince will be too watery, and you will find it hard to shape into kebabs after grinding it. I usually wash the mince in a sieve with handles and push down on it with a large spoon to get rid of the excess water.
- If you have any doubts about there not being enough moisture, don't worry. There will still be enough from the rinsing and the onions also release moisture.
- If there is still some water after you open the pot, dry it on the sauté setting after pressure cooking. The ground mixture has to be relatively dry to shape into kebabs.
- If using chicken mince for making chicken Shami kebabs, do not rinse the mince at all. Chicken mince becomes a mess and you will never be able to squeeze out all the water.
- Chicken kebabs get done with 10 minutes of pressure cooking. You don't have to go the whole 20 minutes with chicken.
How to make Shami kebabs in the instant pot
1. Add the following ingredients in the steel insert of your instant pot – lamb mince, split chickpeas, onion, ginger, garlic, whole spices and salt (picture 1).
2. Secure the lid and make sure the steam release handle is sealed. Press the pressure-cooking button, set it to high and set the timer to 20 minutes.
3. After the timer beeps, wait for 10 minutes before releasing the pressure. Open the pot and check to see if there is any liquid. If there is, press the sauté button and dry the liquid. This is important because if you grind the mince with liquid in it, you won't be able to shape it into kebabs. Keep stirring to prevent the mince from sticking to the bottom of the pot (picture 2).
4. Once all the liquid has dried, transfer the mince to a food processor. Grind to a thick, dough-like consistency (picture 3).
5. Take the mince out in a bowl and mix in diced onions, chopped cilantro and chopped green chillies. Mix well (picture 4).
6. Shape into kebabs – spread a few drops of cooking oil on your palm and take a tennis ball sized portion of the mince. Roll it into a ball, them flatten it with the palms of your hand to get a flat but round disc. Repeat until you’ve used up all the mince (picture 5).
7. The kebabs are now ready to be shallow-fried. Heat some oil in a non-stick frying pan and slide in the kebabs. Don’t overcrowd them or they will be difficult to flip. Once they are browned on one side, flip them with the help of a flat spatula and let the other side turn brown too. Take them out in a platter and serve hot with the cilantro chutney (picture 7).
How to make shami kebabs in a stove-top pressure cooker
Follow the steps exactly as in the instant pot version. When the pressure builds up, lower the heat after 2 whistles and pressure cook for 15 minutes only instead of 20. Wait for all the steam to escape naturally, then open the cooker.
How to make green chutney for kebab
This one’s easy! Put all the ingredients in a blender along with a few tablespoons of water and whiz to get a smooth and thick kebab chutney.
Note: if you want to see a detailed recipe for making green chutney, see this coriander chutney post.
How to freeze these Indian lamb kebabs
The beauty of these ground lamb kebabs is that they can be made in advance and the frozen in Ziploc bags.
This is how you do it:
After you've shaped the cooked and ground mince into kebab shapes, line a platter with cling wrap and arrange the kebabs on it. Ideally, the kebabs should not be touching each other. Cover them with more cling wrap (enough to cover the whole surface), and place another layer of kebabs on it. Repeat until there are no more kebabs left and cover the topmost layer with more cling wrap. The cling wrap prevents the kebabs from sticking to each other (picture 6 above).
Place the platter in the freezer. When frozen, transfer the individual kebabs to a Ziploc bag and refreeze. The frozen kebabs will not stick to each now.
When you have a hankering for some, just whip 'em out, shallow fry and serve!
How to serve shami kebabs
What I love about kebabs is that they are so versatile. I can think of so many ways to eat them, all of them delicious and deeply satisfying:
- A snack with salad and green chutney – Cut some greens and drizzle the green chutney on top of the kebabs.
- Instant kebab roll – Spread one kebab on a roti or paratha (Indian flatbread), drizzle some chutney or ketchup, top with sliced onions and lettuce and roll it up. Voila! You have a ready-to-go snack all prepared.
- With paratha – Have a couple of kebabs with parathas on a plate, like a regular meal if you’re feeling especially ravenous.
There are no rules to follow here, people. Just go with what makes you happy.
Personally, I love lamb kebabs with parathas 🙂
What's your favourite way to have them?
Other kebab recipes you might like
lamb kebabs with green chutney (shami kabab)
- 2 lbs lean ground lamb or mutton
- 1 small-medium onion quartered
- 4-5 cloves garlic peeled
- 1 ” piece ginger peeled and chopped coarsely
- ⅓ cup split chickpea lentils
- 4 cloves
- 8-10 peppercorns
- 2 black cardamom
- 4 small green cardamom
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 whole dry red chillies or 2 teaspoon red chilli flakes
- Salt to taste
- 1 small onion cut omelette-style (diced into quarter inch pieces)
- 2 tablespoon coriander leaves
- 2 Thai chillies chopped finely (optional)
- ¼ cup cooking oil for shallow frying
Green chutney ingredients:
- 2 bunches fresh coriander leaves
- 2 tablespoon yogurt
- ½ medium-sized tomato
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3 Thai chillies
- 3-5 tablespoon water
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- sea salt to taste
- Add the following ingredients in the steel insert of your instant pot – lamb mince, split chickpeas, onion, ginger, garlic, whole spices and salt.
- Secure the lid and make sure the steam release handle is sealed. Press the pressure-cooking button, set it to high and set the timer to 20 minutes.
- After the timer beeps, wait for 10 minutes before releasing the pressure. Open the pot and check to see if there is any liquid. If there is, press the saute button and dry the liquid. Keep stirring to prevent the mince from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- Once all the liquid has dried, transfer the mince to a food processor. Grind to a thick, dough-like consistency.
- Take the mince out in a shallow bowl and mix in diced onions, chopped cilantro and chopped green chillies. Mix well.
- Shape into kebabs. Spread a few drops of cooking oil on your palm and take a tennis ball sized portion of the mince. Roll it into a ball, them flatten it with the palms of your hand to get a flat but round disc. Repeat until you’ve used up all the mince.
- Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan and slide in the kebabs, a few at a time. Once they are browned on one side, flip them with the help of a flat spatula and let the other side turn brown too. Take them out in a platter and serve hot with the cilantro-mint chutney.
- Put all the ingredients along with a few tablespoons water in a blender and blend till done. Serve in a small bowl with the kebabs.
- Stovetop method - Put the mince in a stovetop pressure cooker along with all the ingredients except the oil, omelette style onion, coriander leaves and green chilli. Do not add any water. Mix with a large spoon. After one whistle, turn down the heat to minimum and cook for 15 mins. Let the steam release escape naturally, then open the cooker.
- If there is water in the mince when you open the pressure cooker (instant pot or stovetop), don’t fret. Just cook the mince for some time until all the water dries off. Keep an eye on the mince though, don’t let it burn! If the mince has excess water, you won’t be able to shape it into kebabs.
- Split chickpea lentils (chana dal) are easily available in Indian grocery stores or in the international aisles of supermarkets like Walmart. If you can't find them, add some cornflour to the ground mince and shape into kebabs. Some people also add lightly whipped eggs (2) to the mince before pressure cooking it. Whatever it is, be sure to add some kind of binding agent, or the kebabs will not hold together when you fry them.
Did you make these lamb shami kebabs? Don't forget to give the recipe a star rating below!