Shami Kebab


A soft and silky kebab with a crispy crust!

A popular melt-in-your-mouth minced meat kebab - from

I’m going to tell you the legend of the shami kebab, a minced meat kebab that literally melts in your mouth.

It’s said that a chef invented this silky smooth kebab during the Mughal era for an elderly nobleman, Asaf-ud-Daulah, who had lost his teeth and therefore could no longer chew. This toothless nobleman wanted to be able to enjoy meat, and so this appetizer (which I HAVE to describe as toothsome) came to be.

This nobleman, also known as a Nawab, lived in Lucknow which is my mom’s hometown. Now, while I can’t say for sure whether this story is true, I do know that my mom ate these kebabs growing up and this is the story she was told.

So, yes. That my friends is the legend of the shami kebab.

Interesting right? I love hearing food origin stories. I am all about providing you with food + entertainment here on the blog. I suggest making these kebabs and as your guests talk about how incredibly soft and smooth these delightful little appetizers are, you too can tell them the tale of the shami kebab.

And then maybe have your guests play a game where they try to eat the kebab without using their teeth? Too weird? Totally something I would do lol.

A Shami Kebab can be made with any type of meat. I’ve made the recipe below using ground lamb and goat – both have been delicious. You can serve these kebabs with my dad’s sweet and spicy green chutney. I also have a similar recipe for Keralite croquettes using minced beef – those, while amazing, take a bit more time to make than these easy to make kebabs.

The type of masala used to make kebabs varies. I like using this meat masala mix. It’s my favorite spice blend – it’s perfect for throwing together a last-minute stir-fry for dinner. I definitely suggest you keep it handy. It’s made with cardamom, fennel seeds, cloves, black peppercorns, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Make these kebabs as an appetizer for your next party. You can make them in advance – just keep them in the freezer and thaw/fry before your guests arrive.

A popular melt-in-your-mouth minced meat kebab - from

Shami Kebab

A popular melt-in-your-mouth minced meat kebab - from

Shami Kebab

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  • 1 white onion roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves roughly chopped
  • 1- inch knob ginger roughly chopped
  • 1 Serrano pepper roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon grassfed ghee + enough to fry
  • 2 teaspoons meat masala
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound ground meat beef, lamb or goat
  • 2 tablespoons almond flour
  • small handful cilantro chopped
  • 1 egg


  • Blend onion, garlic, ginger, Serrano pepper and 1 tablespoon of water in a food processor - blend until it forms a watery paste.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of ghee to a saute pan on medium heat and cook the paste, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes or until it begins to turn golden brown.
  • Add the spices and stir-fry for a minute then add the ground meat.
  • Once the ground meat has browned, allow it to cool.
  • Put the cooled meat in the food processor to mince the meat.
  • Then put minced meat, almond flour, cilantro and the egg into a bowl and mix well - shape into patties. Refrigerate patties for an hour or until you are ready to shallow fry.
  • Shallow fry the patties in ghee in a cast iron skillet until golden brown, using a fork to gently flip them over to cook both sides.
Did you make this recipe?Tag @myheartbeets on Instagram and hashtag it #myheartbeets!

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Find out more about my cookbooks Indian Food Under Pressure and South Asian Persuasion.

About Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley. Thanks for being here! I truly believe that food brings us closer together. Gather around a table with good food and good people, and you’ll have the ingredients you need to create some happy memories. My hope is that you find recipes here that you can’t wait to share with family and friends.


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  1. Jayesh says

    Looks yummy. Can the cooked meat be refrigerated for a day? I don’t have time to cook the whole thing but I can prep one day and then fry the next day

  2. Saq says

    Hi, really excited about trying this recipe. I do have two questions:
    a) how thick do you make these? Similar to what is shown in the photos or do they shrink and thicken as they cook?
    b) regarding browing the ground meat, do you mean cook it to a light brown until its cooked through, or longer to a darker brown like stir frying it?


    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi Saq, you can make these as thick as you’d like – they won’t shrink. As far as browning the meat, it just needs to be cooked through (fully cooked). I hope you will let me know how this recipe turns out for you 🙂

  3. anna says

    hi, thanks for this recipe; my daughter is making it for us now. just wanted to let you know that the egg is included in the directions but not in the ingredients.

    • My Heart Beets says

      Anna, thank you so much for letting me know! I’ve made the fix 🙂 Hope you all enjoy the kebabs – if you can, please do let me know how they turn out for you all!

  4. Karen says

    Another intriguing recipe. I’m excited because I’m just entering a elimination of all nightshade vegetabels from my diet and this will be an interesting choice. I do have one question, Your recipes often include cardamom pods. I’ve seen ground cardamom but not the pod. Is this more of a specialty item?

    • My Heart Beets says

      Thanks, Karen! Let me know what you think of this recipe or any others that you try. I grind my own cardamom pods because they have a stronger flavor, but you can use ground cardamom if that’s easier for you to find. Hope that helps!


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