On February 26, Saptarshi and I hosted the first Pakistan Eats supper club in our new home.
Since the beginning of Pakistan Eats, I have tested and shared the recipes on the blog with my friends and family in DC. Sharing a laugh over a home cooked meal on a routine basis has been the most rewarding part about the blog. So I wanted to continue the tradition in Mexico but take the idea further, and test different menu courses.
In Pakistan, even formal dinners rarely have multiple sequenced courses. With the exception of dessert, all dishes are served at the same time, family style. You have everything mashed up together on a plate, and while it's one tasty plate, you never pay each dish the individual respect it deserves.
While charcoal fired beef kebabs paired with mezcal seemed like the perfect first course to the desi in Saptarshi and me, in retrospect we should have probably started with something lighter...
Kebabs however, do hold a special place on the Pakistani table (see our menu planning guide). While at home, kebabs will typically be pan-fried, here we served a grilled version to pay homage to Pakistani BBQ.
If you ever visit Pakistan, don't leave without having BBQ (sorry vegetarians). Pakistanis across regions take special pride in their meats, either slowly roasted or fired up on the grill.
This recipe of the beef kebab tastes similar to seekh (skewered) kebab. Seekh kebab I like to think is the workhorse of BBQ. While it will never be the star of the table, it's ever-present because it's easy to prepare, filling, delicious and versatile. Of course, seekh kebabs are by no means unique to Pakistan. You'll find dozens of variations of skewered kebabs in Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan among others.
Saptarshi's Famous Kebabs
This recipe made about 40 patties, which is a little much so just halve the ingredients for a more manageable amount.
Total Cooking Time: 20 minutes prep + grilling time (will depend on size of grill, amount of patties)
3 lbs of good quality ground beef
1 1/2 yellow onion roughly chopped
5 tbsp of roughly chopped cilantro
1 whole green chili (we used jalapeno) roughly chopped
5-6 cloves of garlic roughly chopped
1 inch fresh ginger roughly chopped
1 1/2 tbsp of garam masala (available in specialty Indian/Pakistani grocery stores)
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
1 tbsp of ground cumin powder
Juice of roughly 4 limes
2 tbsp of vegetable oil
Heat up your grill. We used a small charcoal grill and self-lighting coals so it took about 15 minutes to heat up. If you use regular coals, it will take about 45 minutes.
Put the roughly chopped onions, cilantro, garlic, ginger and chili in a food processor and grind till it's fine. Add the onion mixture, spices, vegetable oil and lime juice to the ground meat and mix it well till it's consistent. Take individual handfuls of the mixture, and begin to shape into little patties.
Then you place the patties on the hot grill. Let it grill for six minutes one side, flip and then four minutes the next side.
If you don't have access to a grill, you can also pan-fry the beef patties, or pop them in the oven (preheated to 350, 15 minutes on one side, 10 minutes on the other and then broil for four minutes - just a note that they tend to shrink *a lot* in the oven).
Ami's Green Chutney
This is a versatile green chutney that pairs well with both kebab and pulao. Actually, it pairs well with just about anything.
2 roma tomatoes
4 cloves of garlic
4 tbsp of fresh cilantro
1 tbsp of fresh mint
1 green chili
1/2 tsp of red chili flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
Roughly chop all the fresh ingredients and place everything inside a food processor. Give it a whiz till everything is finely ground and chutney has an even consistency.
Dip kebabs into chutney. Enjoy!