Saturday, January 19, 2013

A Traditional Bangladeshi Kabab

গরুর মাংসের কাবাব

Beef Kabab

The moment where your food is turning out just the way it should :)

I tried to have my house warming (finally!) yesterday night, but the snow conspired against me and we ended up with half the number of people we were expecting. I had still cooked though, so I thought I may was well post recipes for some of the evening's menu. My first post is the traditional Bangladeshi beef kabab, which is hugely versatile because it can be served as a main, side or snack depending on how it's sized and accompanied. I'm afraid I have no photos of the finished kababs to put up, people were already over and I forgot to take any in the mad rush of getting the food ready.

Update (03/06/2016):
I've re-written the instructions below to include some new ingredients, notably the traditional mint that I mention in the Additional Info section. I've also included notes on how to cook this in the oven, and avoid the laborious pan frying. A word of warning though - oven cooking gives this a bouncy kofta-like texture, as opposed to the cakey, meaty mouthfeel of a traditional kabab. 

Ingredients (to make approximately 24):
  • 500.00 g of minced beef
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 slices of bread (omit if baking in the oven)
  • 1.50 teaspoons of ginger paste
  • 1.50 teaspoons of garlic paste
  • 2.00 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1.00 teaspoon of powdered cinnamon 
  • 1.00 teaspoon of powdered cumin
  • 6 cloves, freshly ground
  • Fresh parsley, a small handful
  • Fresh mint, a small handful
  • Green chillies, to taste
  • Salt, to taste

  • If pan-frying the kababs, leave the two slices of bread to soak in water
  • Wash the mince, and drain thoroughly before squeezing the last of the water out as the drier the mince the better
  • Mix in the pastes, black pepper, cinnamon, cumin, cloves and salt with the mince
  • Squeeze the water out of the bread, and leave to drain any further excess water
  • Beat the two eggs lightly, and mix this along with the strained bread into the mince
  • Finely chop the onion, chillies, mint and parsley before mixing these into the mince 

On the left, the mince with the spices mixed in. On the right, the mince with the bread, egg, onion and parsley mixed in as well

  • Make sure that all the ingredients are evenly mixed, and then form little flattened balls of mince about 2 cm in diameter and 1 cm in height like in the photo below
  • Shallow fry them on medium low heat, approximately 4 minutes on each side until they are evenly browned - see the first photo in this post for when a side is done
  • Alternative, pop them into a pre-heated oven at 200C, and bake for 20-30 minutes. How long they take to bake will really depend on how large they're made.
  • Serve as a snack with dips, or as a side with other mains or alternatively make them larger and serve as a main

Kababs all ready to be fried!

Additional Info:
  • I've used a mint-parsley combo for in this recipe, but the traditional choice is to use only mint. I intend to experiment with coriander at some point too.
  • The eggs and bread are both apparently optional - they make the mince stick together and make the frying easier. Mom is of the opinion that adding the either adulterates the kabab. I can manage without the bread, but I like the smooth texture it creates. However, if I get rid of the egg I end up with mince-explosion-on-frying-pan, so proceed at your own risk. 
  • I've actually doubled the amounts for the spices here from what my mom gave me. It's important to bear in mind that amounts always depend on the quality or strength of the spices being used. After all the ingredients are mixed together, the mince should be nice and fragrant and if it isn't, add some more of the powdered spices (not so much the pastes - these are just to counteract the smell of the meat). 

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