SOMETIMES, SIMPLICITY YIELDS THE BEST RESULTS
You will see plenty of recipes for kebabs, but it all boils down to just three elements: 1) quality of meat, always get organic or pasture raised/grass-fed meat. These days, 'all natural' has hardly any meaning left to it. I learned that after speaking directly to some farmers here in Texas. I will share what I learned, that's another topic for another day. For now, a good read in pastured chicken is at this link by Certified Humane.
I love kebabs in any form, especially because it gives me a nice safety blanket to sneak in any veggies, grains, or greens in without raising too many suspicions by my hard core meat eating family :) So I tried several permutations and combinations and most often - they are always a hit!
What's the secret?
Well, for starters, TASTE IS KING! Then comes consistency - as long as there's no annoying tomato skin sticking out, or bell peppers skin (which by the way is annoying to MOST people), it goes down pretty easy. And finally, serve it hot ;)
What you will love about this recipe is simplicity. It has three spices only - cumin, coriander and black pepper. The rest are herbs like mint and cilantro, combined with garlic and ginger. That's it folks - no other gimmicks and no expansive list of ingredients!
One of my adored and respected and teachers in my self taught school of cooking is Alton Brown. He has forever changed my outlook, interpretation, understanding and love for cooking, and more importantly the science behind it. I follow a lot of what he talks, does and shares. I like this recipe he has for spicy beef kebabs that still uses cumin but it's not an Indian dish at all.
Cumin transcends any geographical culinary boundaries and has uses in mediterranean, east asian, indian, mexican/spanish cuisines and more. Not just the taste, but the digestive health benefits also make it a favorite among many styles of cooking (and drinking).
In this recipe, I focus on first releasing the flavors of the three spices - cumin, coriander and black peppercorns and then accentuating with herbs, mix it with greens and chicken, and the result is these tender juicy flavorful kebabs that you just can't stop eating!
Now, if you could get a bite of the nutrient rich kale with every bite of kebabs, isn't that just convenient? According to Authority Nutrition, it is rich in antioxidants, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and potassium, among many other benefits. The gyst - it will help with with a happy healthy life ;)
Here's the written recipe, followed by a detailed video demonstration right after.
- 2 lbs ground chicken
- 1 cup of kale leaves stripped from the thick center stem.
- 4 cloves fresh garlic
- 2 inch piece of ginger or 1 tbsp fresh ground ginger
- 2 green chillies (you can skip this if you want to keep it mild)
- 1 medium sized onion roughly chopped
- 2-3 springs of fresh mint (with the thicker stems removed)
- 4-6 sprigs of fresh cilantro (you can keep the stems in)
- 1/2 tbsp whole coriander seeds
- 1 tbsp whole cumin seeds
- 1/2 tbsp of whole black pepper (you can increase or decrease based on your preference)
- Kosher salt to taste
- On medium heat, roast the cumin, coriander, and black pepper until the aromas released and they are slightly brown. TIP: start roasting coriander seeds first for a minute before adding the cumin as they are thinner and roast quickly. Add the pepper at the same time as the cumin.
- Let the spices cool down completely before grinding them in a dry grinder. I use a pretty basic one (KRUPS) and it has lasted me over 3 years already. I only use it to grind dry spices in small batches.
- In a food processor, combine the garlic, ginger, cilantro, mint, and kale, and process coarsely. TIP: Start with the ginger and garlic, then the onion and kale, and last the herbs. TIP: Don't add salt to this mixture as it will break down the greens and onions quicker and release the water content. You want to add the kosher salt directly to the kababs.
- Add the dry spices and the wet stuff from the food processor to the ground chicken in a large mixing bowl. Make sure you get a wider mouth bowl as you need the space to work the chicken well.
- Add salt and mix well. Let this mixture sit for 20-30 minutes in the refrigerator.
- Fill a small bowl with water. TIP: Dip your hands in it and then shape the kababs into cylindrical shapes. If you prefer to make patties, go for it!
- On medium-high heat, add sunflower oil, and shallow fry the kebabs.
- To serve, stir some yogurt with Himalayan salt, pinch of cumin powder, and sprinkle some cayenne pepper and spring onions.
- Some pico de gallo and greens would be a perfect accompaniment to this as well!
- These are excellent for freezing and eating later as well. In fact, that's what I most commonly do. On that rainy day when you just don't want to go out and can't cook - pop the frozen kebabs in the oven, warm at 350 degrees for 6-8 minutes, and they are like fresh!!
Watch this for a video demonstration:
My favorite kitchen gadgets used in this demonstration:
- Lodge 12 inch skillet for sauteing the spices
- Pyrex bowl set for mixing, and storing - I love these!
- Non-stick pan for cooking the kebabs (they has lesser oil splattering than the cast iron pan). Here's the one I used: Induction bottom 11 inch pan
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