Seekh kavaab

Seekh kavaab

Lamb mince kebab

Mr Todiwala's Bombay
Helen Cathcart

The literal translation of this dish is ‘kebab formed on a skewer’. One of the many great representatives of Indian cuisine, seekh kavâab, or kebab as it is mostly called, is usually a street-side speciality.

A Muslim dish, which can be traced to its Persian roots, it also varies in recipe from state to state and region to region. This, perhaps, is the one which is appeals to most palates and is one of the simplest and best. Though the meat used should always be lean, a little fat will bring out the best flavour and a superb texture.


Quantity Ingredient
500g lean lamb shoulder meat
20g bunch of coriander
20g bunch of mint
2.5 g piece fresh ginger, roughly chopped
1 large green chilli
6-8 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon lime juice
salt, to taste
1 teaspoon vegetable oil

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
* hari chutney [rid:9945]


Quantity Ingredient
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons coriander leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons mint leaves, chopped
1 green chilli, seeded if liked, and finely chopped
1 small tomato, seeded and finely chopped
1 teaspoon vinegar
salt, to taste
* makki ki roti [rid:9901]
or Chapattis
or flour tortillas, (optional)


  1. Clean the meat well, removing all sinews and gristle. Do not discard any fat if found.
  2. Cut the meat into pieces small enough so as not to jam the mincer. Mince all the ingredients together except the powdered spices, lime juice and salt. Alternatively grind the herbs and whole spices in a food processor to a paste then add the lamb and finely chop to the consistency of mince.
  3. Once the meat is minced add the spice powders and lime juice and knead well.
  4. To check the seasoning, if you do not like tasting raw meat fry a tiny portion in a pan and taste then re-season the raw mixture if necessary.
  5. Cover the mince and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, preferably a lot longer if possible to let it firm-up a bit.
  6. Preheat a barbecue, tandoor or grill.
  7. Take a 5 cm ball of the mince in one hand and a skewer in the other (thick square metal ones are the best if you are not familiar with using rounded ones, or use soaked wooden ones).
  8. Make the ball as smooth as possible by tossing it like a ball in your hand.
  9. Now press the ball at roughly the middle of the skewer and press around so that the mince is now covering all round that part of the skewer.
  10. Now apply a little oil or water to the palm that you use for the mince and gently press it into a sausage shape on the skewer. This does take a bit of practice and you may find that initially the mince falls off the skewer. Persevere! If you form a ring between your forefinger and thumb and use the rest of the fingers to guide the mince you will be fine. The pressure has to be gently applied and the mince pushed upwards so that it thins itself out over the skewer. Ideally the size of the sausage should be around 2.5 cm or a bit less in diameter.
  11. Once you have achieved this you can suspend the skewer on a small tray so that the skewer rests over the two opposite sides and allows the minced area to remain in the hollow of the tray. Repeat with the remaining meat and skewers.
  12. Barbecue, grill or cook in a tandoor for 8–10 minutes, turning once until golden and cooked through but still moist and juicy inside (they should feel spongy if gently pressed).
  13. Serve with green chutney and kachumber (see next step), or roll in chapattis or flour tortillas filled with salad and sliced onion.
  14. For the kachamber, put all the ingredients in a serving bowl and toss together well. Taste and adjust vinegar and salt if necessary.

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