“Kebab” is a misnomer for this silky, fried beef patty that is served as a side at a Pakistani dawat (feast), or as a snack with tea. Boneless beef chuck and yellow split peas are boiled and minced with a simple spice blend that infuses a gentle, balanced flavor. Finely chopped cilantro, green chile, and red onion add a layer of texture, and pan-frying reinforces the kebab’s delicate structure. The end result is a versatile fried delight that can be slapped on bread, had with rice and curry, or on its own with the subcontinent’s favorite condiment, Maggi Sauce.
- In a large stock pot, add all ingredients up until the white bread (with the exception of ½ finely diced red onion) and four cups of water, and bring to a boil. Drop heat to medium-low to a simmer and cook until the water disappears and the lentils are fall-apart soft, about 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, fold the bread into the beaten egg. Add garam masala, diced cilantro, chile, and red onion. Set aside.
- Once the meat and lentils are ready, remove the cardamom and cinnamon with a slotted spoon. Place the mixture in a food processor and mince till the mixture has an even consistency and you cannot tell the lentils and meat apart.
- Add minced meat to the bread-egg mixture. Mix well until an even consistency is achieved.
- Take small fistfuls of the mixture and flatten them into slim patties.
- Heat oil in a shallow nonstick frying pan. Begin to fry patties, about 1½ minutes each side, till they are deep brown. Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to absorb excess oil.
- To freeze: Carefully place the raw patties inside Tupperware, and store in the freezer for up to one month. My mother recommends placing them on a tray and freezing them first, and then transferring them to Tupperware or a Ziploc bag.
Maryam Jillani is TASTE's Cook In Residence, and the founder of Pakistan Eats.