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Lamb Seekh Kabab

I did a search and nothing came up. Anybody ever tried making Lamb Seekh Kabab. Looking at a couple of recipes, wondering if the experts here have any words of wisdom.

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  1. How is a seekh kabab different from a shish kebab? That might steer us in the right direction.

    1. It's an Indian/Pakistani style kabab where the meat is ground.

      1. Take the chicken recipe and tweak it a bit to your liking.
        That should work for you. I like mine with some heat in them.

        1. Well I made them using the recipe below and I think my onion to meat ratio was a bit high so they fell apart and became a complete mess. They were quite tasty though so a little binder or a little less onion and it's a pretty easy recipe to make successful. The parts that got nicely browned were my favorite.


            1. re: chefj

              I should have been more specific. I did a search on the Home Cooking board and nothing came up. Lots of web results.

            2. A seekh is a skewer. Typically in South Asian cooking seekh kababs are made of ground goat or ground beef, but ground lamb, chicken, or even vegetarian versions are not uncommon. The seekh is what makes it a seekh kabab, and not the type of protein used. Ground meat on a seekh is seekh kabab, chunks of meat on a stick are called tikka kabab. This is in Indo-Pak nomenclature. Shish also means a skewer but this is in Turkish and shish kababs by that name are not part of the Indo-Pak cuisine.

              Some tips for seekhs: hand chop the onions very finely and set on a paper towel to remove excess water. Put the ground meat in a food processor and add in MORE fat to your meat in the form of oil, butter, or even lamb fat. Don't over chop the meat in the food processor, just a few spins. It will give you a better texture that will help the meat stay on the seekhs more easily. Then add in your own finely chopped onions, green chiles, and cilantro. You can also add pasted ginger and garlic optionally.

              For the spicing: You can use boxed seekh kabab masalas, though making your own is not hard. Shan Seekh Kabab masala is fine but use it sparingly and add in some garam masala. Don't add the Shan until shortly before cooking time or else it will tenderize too much because of the papain in it and ceases being a seekh kabab and become something else called a gola kabab that is made with tenderized ground meat.

              Are you planning to do these on the BBQ using real seekhs?

              Here is a video (in Urdu) on making beef seekh kababs, it will give you an idea of what to do and what to use even though you can't understand everything. You can note her technique in applying the ground meat to the seekh also.

              10 Replies
              1. re: luckyfatima

                Many recipes add Ground(powdered) Dal which also improves the texture and binding.

                1. re: chefj

                  Yes a tiny tiny amount of roasted ground channa daal...it is also an ingredient in the Shan Masala seekh kabab powder. I don't like it when I can taste it though, had some restaurant seekh kababs that were caked with it, it can ruin the texture. I never add that in at home.

                  1. re: luckyfatima

                    I was taught that it was to give a "soft" texture to the mince.
                    I usually roast some Toor Dal and grind, I like the toasty flavor it gives

                    1. re: chefj

                      Besan/ channa daal flour I have heard of, but never toor daal. Where is your recipe from, if I may ask.

                      1. re: luckyfatima

                        I learned to from a fairly accomplished homecook in Mumbai. I believe they where a Muslim family.
                        She did not specifically say what Dal, it may have been Split Chana. But the Toor dal has worked just fine.

                2. re: luckyfatima

                  Thanks, that was the kind of info I was looking for. The spicing was pretty easy, I added Garam Masala and Cumin along with finely minced garlic and ginger and of course some salt. Are there any techniques to making the garlic and ginger paste?

                  I think I just had a bit too much moisture and I didn't add any fat to keep them from falling apart so they crumbled.

                  I grilled them on my gas grill. They tasted good so if I can get them to stay together I think I'll have a good recipe.


                  1. re: virtualguthrie

                    For garlic-ginger paste you grind those two (equal portions) in a blender with a little bit of salt and water.

                    Keeping moisture out of the meat is really important.

                    IMHO the high fat content is integral to having moist and juicy results.

                    You can chill the meat in the fridge before applying it to the seekhs, that helps it stay on.

                    1. re: luckyfatima

                      Crumbling is my main problem on the grill as well. I already try to limit the amount of moisture (e.g. drying onions) and I try not to add so much binder that I change the texture of the kababs (although I kind of like the slight chew you get with besan flour in chicken kababs). Do you have any other tips for getting my kababs to hold up on the grill? Is ghee going to help bind while keeping the kababs moist?

                      1. re: JungMann

                        I use meat that is like 80/20 and still add in more fat if I am using mainstream grocery meat. If I am at the desi butcher I tell him specifically that I am making seekh kababs and also ask him to work extra fat in. Also, the spin in the food processor binds the meat better. And then the chilling before applying. I don't make seekh kababs often but when I have, they never fell off the seekh. I bought flat seekhs from an Iranian-Afghan shop. I selected the thinner kind, about two centimeters wide.

                        I actually have a friend who is a seekh kabab guru and though he refused to give me his exact recipe, he was very forth coming with me on tips so that my seekh kababs came out well the first time I tried them. I have had loads and loads of bad seekh kababs so I had thought for many years it was one of those foods that only tastes good made at specialty BBQ restos/stalls in Pakistan, especially since home cooks are averse to adding in so much fat. However, mine came out really really tender, moist, and juicy.

                        One thing my seekh kabab guru told me that I didn't try was that he sometimes takes a small amount of chicken breast and grinds it with the beef when he runs it through the food processor because that helps the seekh kababs bind better. You could try that, too.

                        My friend gave me 5 wrought iron seekhs from Lahore and I am waiting to try these out once spring comes and I can grill outside again.

                        I think keeping the meat really cold helped for me.

                        1. re: luckyfatima

                          Thanks for the tips! I guess I need to have a heavier hand with the mutton fat and hope that it cooks out! I have used flat skewers, they are the ones my parents have in their kitchen, but I have more trouble keeping my kababs on those than the cylindrical skewers. Maybe your tips will help me to get them to adhere.

                3. There are probably as many seekh kabab recipes as there are Pakistanis. You can get a genuinely authentic recipe from the back of a box of Shan seekh kabab masala; those are the kababs my mom used to feed us. If you want to start from scratch, take a couple pounds of ground lamb. If it's too lean, you can process it with lamb fat or add ghee to keep the kababs moist. For basic seasoning, add a finely minced onion, a fistful of chopped cilantro, 6 chopped green chilies, a tablespoon of ginger paste, a tablespoon of garlic paste, a tablespoon of lightly crushed coriander seed, a teaspoon each of salt, pepper, garam masala, cumin powder and red chili powder. Your choice of binder is variable: you can use breadcrumbs, chickpea flour and egg. Mix everything together in a large bowl until you have formed a uniform paste. Chill for an hour. Shape your kababs on skewers and grill or broil for about 30 minutes. Serve with onion, limes and cilantro. I also like a couple pulverized cloves, nutmeg and fennel seed in the masala on occassion, but really enjoy the texture of crunchy bits of coriander seed in the otherwise smooth kabab.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: JungMann

                    I used your recipe above tonight JM, delicious. Thank you. Great tips in general in this thread. We did ours on the BBQ but cooked them for much less than the 30 mins you suggested. Are they supposed to be cooked long and low?

                    1. re: Frizzle

                      They are not necessarily supposed to be cooked "long," but the time varies depending on how thick your kababs are and how hot your oven is. On the grill is even better thanks to the high heat and flavor from the charcoal.