Chicken Seekh Kebabs [Dairy free, Gluten free, Grains free, Sugar free]
Sundays are always a hive of activity in our kitchen, often from early mornings, well before our boys grace us with their wake-up presence. This past Sunday was no different with the family lunch time meal and dessert preparations that began the night before, and with food preparations for the week ahead.
Needless to say, the kitchen counter tops were all stacked with various food prep items, and chicken featured tops – for preparation in various forms. Having bought freshly minced chicken, and getting all the major food work out of the way, I had initially decided on chicken meat balls but changed my mind instead and opted to try out Seekh Kebabs on skewers, in chicken form. Having made them before with minced lamb, using a slightly different recipe than this one, I attempted this quick make with enthusiasm, as I was eager to gauge how they’d turn out using minced chicken.
Seekh kebabs are of Pakistan origin, and is prepared with minced meat and spices and then grilled on metal skewers. It is cooked in a clay oven known as a Tandoor, and is often served with chutneys or mint sauce. It is often offered as starters on restaurant menus, among many other Tandoor made meats. The precursor to this make was the Date and Mint chutney blogged the other day, when served, paired amazingly well.
The ingredients listed are simple ones’ and I opted to use a mildly spiced Kashmiri chilli powder which lent a lesser pungency than regular South African Chilli powder. I was aware that minced chicken contains way less fat than minced lamb and while that was my greatest concern in putting these kebabs together, I was pleasantly surprised that they did not turn out dry, instead, are just as succulent as the lamb variety – the cooking time in a preheated oven is important to ensure that the chicken does not dry out. As always, the spice combination may be adjusted up or down, to suit individual palates.
These kebabs are a fab make, with a difference in the meat protein choice – that they are shaped differently from the usual cigar-like seekh kebab, is also appealing in that this is a quick make and not much time is spent moulding them into cigar-shaped perfection. 🙂
500g minced chicken breast (minced beef or lamb for a higher fat content may be substituted)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tblsp ground garlic and ginger paste
¼ cup fresh coriander (or fresh mint leaves if preferred)
3-4 green cayenne chilli’s
½ – 1 tblsp Kashmiri chilli powder (medium spiced)
½ tsp garam masala
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp Himalayan or Sea Salt (to taste)
Extra virgin olive oil OR Ghee OR Grassfed butter for basting
- Preheat a coventional oven to 200° celsius. Line an oven tray with baking paper and set the tray aside.
- If using wooden skewers, soak about 12 in cold water.
- Add the minced chicken, onion, green chillies and coriander or mint to the mixing bowl of a food processor and blend by pulsing to ensure an even fine consistency is reached.
- Now add in the rest of the spices and salt and pulse once or twice to combine.
- Using wet hands, divide the mixture into 10-12 even portions and either mould them into cigar like shapes in the palms of your hands, then push a skewer through the kebab, OR mould the mince mixture directly onto the skewers.
- At this stage, you may want to refrigerate the kebabs on the skewers for about 20 minutes if you feel they are not firm enough. They should be a smooth consistency, both to the eye and the touch. This will not be necessary if the pulsing of the ingredients was a quick one.
- When the kebabs are ready to be cooked, baste them with the fat of choice, place them on the baking paper lined oven tray, and cook for about 4 minutes on each side in the preheat oven. You may baste them again, as you turn them for the next 4 minutes cooking time. 8 minutes rendered these kebabs done, without compromising on the moistness. You may also remove them from the skewers and fry them in a small amount of fat of choice in a non-stick frying pan on the stove top. These should be cooked in less than 5 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, and serve as desired. You may serve them off the skewers with a fresh garden salad or with a date and mint chutney. They may also be placed in a cooked tomato chutney / sauce.