Lamb Slipper Kebabs

These kebabs are from Peshawar, though they can now be found in many other places in the Subcontinent. Called chapli kebab, meaning “slipper kebab,” they’re made of ground lamb and spices and shaped into an oblong rather like the outline of the sole of a slipper or sandal (chapple). They can be grilled or fried. A similar kebab, with the same name, is made on the Afghan side of the Khyber Pass, that ancient passage between Central Asia and the Subcontinent.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 cup grated onion or shallots
  • ½ cup chopped tomato
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger or ginger mashed to a paste
  • 2 green cayenne chiles, minced
  • About teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala (or store-bought), or a pinch each ground cinnamon and cloves plus ½ teaspoon each ground cumin and coriander
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted and ground
  • 2 tablespoons anardana (dried pomegranate seeds), ground, or 1 tablespoon rice vinegar or cider vinegar
  • ½ cup chopped coriander leaves
  • ¼ cup chickpea flour (besan) or scant ¼ cup atta flour or all-purpose flour
  • About 1 cup peanut oil, if panfrying the kebabs
  • Lemon or lime wedges

Method

Place the meat, onion or shallots, tomato, ginger, chiles, 1 teaspoon salt, the cayenne, garam masala or mixed spices, ground coriander, anardana or vinegar, chopped coriander, and flour in a food processor and process to blend well, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn the mixture out into a bowl.

Alternatively, combine all the ingredients except the oil and citrus wedges in a bowl and knead thoroughly with your hands to blend all flavors into the meat. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 12 hours.

If you will be grilling or broiling the kebabs, preheat a charcoal or gas grill or the broiler.

Divide the meat mixture into 16 portions and shape into oblong patties about 3 inches long, 2 inches wide, and less than ½ inch thick.

Grill the patties over a medium flame or broil on a rimmed baking sheet about 5 inches from the heating element, turning once, until well browned on both sides, 8 to 10 minutes; sprinkle on a little salt just before you turn the patties over.

Alternatively, heat about ½ inch oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Panfry the patties, in batches, in the hot oil, turning once, until browned and a little crunchy on both sides, 8 to 10 minutes; sprinkle on a little salt when you remove them from the hot oil. Keep the batches warm in a low oven while you cook the rest.

Put out wedges of lemon or lime for squeezing over the kebabs, and serve hot or warm.

Serve with flatbreads, accompanied by a mixed salad such as Cachoombar. These are also delicious served alongside a simple flavored rice such as Quick Tamarind Pulao with Curry Leaves or Stir-fried Rice and Dal.

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