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Roy

seekh kebabs

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I've been entrusted to make seekh kebabs this weekend. Trouble is, I can never get the ground lamb to stick to the flat skewers when turning over. Instead, they fall off the skewer. I'd rather not use egg as a binder. Any suggestions?

Roy

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Hi Roy, welcome!

You do need a binder. What are the ingredients as per your recipe? Are you using besan/bengal gram flour?


I fry by the heat of my pans. ~ Suresh Hinduja

http://www.gourmetindia.com

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Thanks for the welcome. I should have been more clear with my question. I don't have a problem with the meat/spice mixture staying together in one piece. I also use besan flour, but would like to omit the egg as per Sameen Rushdie's Indian Cookery book. The problem is my technique of forming it on the skewer. The meat does not "stick" on the flat skewer while being grilled. Rather, as it warms up, it falls off the skewer. I've heard that the meat mixture (seekh,boti,etc) needs to be chilled, before forming on the skewer. Or, could it be that I need to constantly rotate the skewers so that the meat shrinks evenly and wraps itself tightly around the skewer? I'm tired of experimenting. Your thoughts?

Roy

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It's a little difficult for me to troubleshoot unless I see the exact recipe however I can suggest a few tricks.

1]Yes you are right the meat has to be chilled.

2]Add the salt at the last minute.

3]Use freshly roasted and ground chana dal.

4]Wet your hands before pressing the meat on the seekhs.

It should work as I have made galoutis and kakoris before and they are incredibly difficult for the same reason. Let me know how it goes.

Groan, I hope we all dont start punning on the seekhs again, I'm trying to go straight.

Er.. Roy do you understand/speak hindi?


Edited by Episure (log)

I fry by the heat of my pans. ~ Suresh Hinduja

http://www.gourmetindia.com

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Thanks for the suggestions. I tend to eat more Goan style food than the esoteric tandoori stuff. As side note, I've often wondered why the vindaloos in many restaurants are poor imitations of its origins. I saw a fascinating article in the newspaper about Brian Joseph's Tumerik restaurant in Sunnyvale, Ca. I didn't realise tandoori cooking had reached a separate art form. I visited and loved the food. I can't wait to try Tabla, Bukhara and others.

No, I don't understand/speak Hindi well. If you saw "Bend it like Beckham", you'd understand my level. Maybe an immersion course at Berlitz will get me up to speed. Thankfully, my wife speaks Urdu and translates for me.

Roy

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Thanks Episure for the great suggestions and I agree with each one. These kebabs in my humble opinion to need a binder.

Let us know how they turn out Roy - if these suggestions dont work - which I am sure they will - we will be happy to do a more detailed analysis of the specific recipe


Monica Bhide

A Life of Spice

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O.k, the kebabs were a killer with none falling off. I conducted three experiments but I can't pinpoint which specific ingredient/technique prevents the kebab from falling off the skewer.

Sameen Rusdie's book has a recipe which contains besan and egg as a binder.

Shan Foods pre-packaged kebab masala mix contains besan, but does not ask for egg to be added.

Steve Raichlen's "How to Grill" book has kebab recipes that don't use egg nor besan as a binder.

So, further experimentation is need. I feel I'm in the shoes of Alton Brown and Harold McGee.

All this is making me hungry. I think I'll head over to the Indian version of the Mexican taco truck that is parked at Oracle in Redwood City.

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The meat does not "stick" on the flat skewer while being grilled.

adding to all the things mentioned already-skipped through ranjit rais book and apart from stating a preference for a round sectioned skewer for mince,he says he can't emphasise enough the importance of oiling and then wiping down the skewer before using it.

edit:the sixth slicked seekhs sixth seekh's slipped...

sheesh..


Edited by gingerly (log)

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One possibility is to skip the skewers all together and the grill for that matter and just mold them into sausage shapes and pan-grill. No smoky grilled taste, but still tasty. I always make then that way and I know a few others that do. Funny that it is still called "seekh" kebob. :laugh:


Edited by Edward (log)

Edward Hamann

Cooking Teacher

Indian Cooking

edhamann@hotmail.com

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It's a little difficult for me to troubleshoot unless I see the exact recipe however I can suggest a few tricks.

1]Yes you are right the meat has to be chilled.

2]Add the salt at the last minute.

3]Use freshly roasted and ground chana dal.

4]Wet your hands before pressing the meat on the seekhs.

It should work as I have made galoutis and kakoris before and they are incredibly difficult for the same reason. Let me know how it goes.

Groan, I hope we all dont start punning on the seekhs again, I'm trying to go straight.

Er.. Roy do you understand/speak hindi?

Episure,

I can only agree to point number four which is wet your hands.

to make a good seekh kabab you do NOT need any binders. No besan egg etc. Just good quality ground meat. If the meat is too lean you might actually want to add some fat otherwise your kababs will end up dry and lack a ittle flavor.

If you do not wet your hand, then after you have formed the seekh kabab on the skewer and you want to release it the meat kind of sticks to your hand and pulls away from the skewer. Wetting your hand prevents this from happening. Also dont be afraid to press hard to form the seekh kabab.

Sometimes if you have added chopped onions to your groind meat and let it sit for a day or two the onions tend to release moisture making the seekh kabab mixture kind of loose in which case it is difficult to apply and tends to fall off. Also use chopped ginger and garlic when its called for NOT ground ginger and garlic as to facillitate grinding water is added and that has the same effect as the old onions .

A restaurand I worked at in Delhi would add fresh ground Chicken to their seekh Kabab mixture they were having a problem with and it would help.

The skewers play a role too, in the tandoor they use different types of swewers for different meats, fish, vegetables, seekh kababs etc. the ones for sekh kabab being thicker and sometimes square. Then if you are grilling on a 'sigri' you might perhaps use flat skewers which ere actually great for seekh kabab.

Chilling is good but not really a pre requisite

But you already know all this.

I was also thinking about Edwards sugestion of dispensing with the skewers altogether. My wife does this on the grill. It tastes good but can you really call it seekh kabab. Episure is going to love this, because to me it tastes the same. Even though the true tandoori seekh kabab gets cooked two ways,from the radiant heat at the outside and from the inside by the hot metal skewer.

I would love to hear from the pundits and purists on the forum


Bombay Curry Company

3110 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22305. 703. 836-6363

Delhi Club

Arlington, Virginia

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One possibility is to skip the skewers all together and the grill for that matter and just mold them into sausage shapes and pan-grill. No smoky grilled taste, but still tasty. I always make then that way and I know a few others that do. Funny that it is still called "seekh" kebob. :laugh:

Its like my daugther says " gimme the banana split ice cream but no banana". All she wants is the 3 scoops of ice cream.

Good idea Edward

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Episure,

I can only agree to point number four which is wet your hands.

to make a good seekh kabab you do NOT need any binders. No besan egg etc. Just good quality ground meat. If the meat is too lean you might actually want to add some fat otherwise your kababs will end up dry and lack a ittle flavor.

If you do not wet your hand, then after you have formed the seekh kabab on the skewer and you want to release it the meat kind of sticks to your hand and pulls away from the skewer. Wetting your hand prevents this from happening. Also dont be afraid to press hard to form the seekh kabab.

Sometimes if you have added chopped onions to your groind meat and let it sit for a day or two the onions tend to release moisture making the seekh kabab mixture kind of loose in which case it is difficult to apply and tends to fall off. Also use chopped ginger and garlic when its called for NOT ground ginger and garlic as to facillitate grinding water is added and that has the same effect as the old onions .

A restaurand I worked at in Delhi would add fresh ground Chicken to their seekh Kabab mixture they were having a problem with and it would help.

The skewers play a role too, in the tandoor they use different types of swewers for different meats, fish, vegetables, seekh kababs etc. the ones for sekh kabab being thicker and sometimes square. Then if you are grilling on a 'sigri' you might perhaps use flat skewers which ere actually great for seekh kabab.

Chilling is good but not really a pre requisite

But you already know all this.

I was also thinking about Edwards sugestion of dispensing with the skewers altogether. My wife does this on the grill. It tastes good but can you really call it seekh kabab. Episure is going to love this, because to me it tastes the same. Even though the true tandoori seekh kabab gets cooked two ways,from the radiant heat at the outside and from the inside by the hot metal skewer.

I would love to hear from the pundits and purists on the forum

I am going to inagurate my new Char Broil grill this weekend and Bhasin ji, you tips could'nt have been more timely.

So you do not use any binders for your restaurant kababs?? Cause all recipes that I have seen so far mention some kind of binder, eggs, bread crumbs or something.

I like the idea of using chicken also. Actually I prefer ground chicken to ground mutton. Especially the sausage type packets that get from Wampler or similar brands has very finely ground chicken. The chicken keema comes out great. Will try that for seekhs also.

Thanks Bhasin ji, (Hun Thuaddey restaurant aana hi payega..) :smile:

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Bhasin - interesting points. I have done it without a binder but only when I dont use seekhs. I have done these kebabs (see pics on other threads) without a binder but only on the grill. I have needed a binder on the seekhs. Perhaps I need more practice


Monica Bhide

A Life of Spice

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I was also thinking about Edwards sugestion of dispensing with the skewers altogether. My wife does this on the grill. It tastes good but can you really call it seekh kabab.

Somehow, I prefer the Greek style of presenting kebabs on a skewer on a plate. It just looks more visually stunning. Also, there is no way you can add besan/egg to boti kebabs. The botis will remain stationary, while the skewer spins freely.

In any case, I called up some Indian restaurants for their advice/opinion. Their reactions range from:

1) it's a trade secret

2) We put our sikhs vertically on the sigra,seekra?, (I assume skewer, sorry Episure) into the tandoor. Sorry, I can't help you if you're grilling them horizontally.

3) same as Bhasin's advice

4) you need to grind the meat twice, 2mm. grinding plate.

5) We're a South Indian restaurant. No South Indian restaurant worth their salt would serve tandoori.Tandoori cooking is a fake cuisine for white tourists.

6) I don't know. The owner is an Indian doctor using this place as a tax shelter. The three of us cook using recipe cards from the previous owner. Our previous experience was as waiters on a cruise ship in the Caribbean.

7) Why are you wasting time and energy on making kebabs. Give us the business.

So the saga continues.

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If the meat is too lean you might actually want to add some fat otherwise your kababs will end up dry and lack a ittle flavor.

What kind of fat would you recommend adding to the lean mince?

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What kind of fat would you recommend adding to the lean mince?

well, IMHO lamb fat is not particularly my cup of tea, a little strong, beside if it is truly lamb there isn't gonna be that much fat on it anyway..

goat fat...what fat?...except around the kidneys

beef fat would work ok...if beef is not a problem with you..

pork fat fine too, ....if pork is not a problem with you....Only kid on my block with larding needles...(then again, I'm the only kid on my block)

My solution, chicken fat...save it from the body cavity when you cut up whole chickens, or if you can find a butcher that actually cuts whole birds (in opposition to buying them precut from the distributor), will perhaps be happy to save the Chicken Schmaltz for you...

If you can't handlle chicken fat, what the heck ya doing eating meat anyway?... :laugh:

just my .9261 rupees = 2 cents worth...

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What kind of fat would you recommend adding to the lean mince?

well, IMHO lamb fat is not particularly my cup of tea, a little strong, beside if it is truly lamb there isn't gonna be that much fat on it anyway..

goat fat...what fat?...except around the kidneys

beef fat would work ok...if beef is not a problem with you..

pork fat fine too, ....if pork is not a problem with you....Only kid on my block with larding needles...(then again, I'm the only kid on my block)

My solution, chicken fat...save it from the body cavity when you cut up whole chickens, or if you can find a butcher that actually cuts whole birds (in opposition to buying them precut from the distributor), will perhaps be happy to save the Chicken Schmaltz for you...

If you can't handlle chicken fat, what the heck ya doing eating meat anyway?... :laugh:

just my .9261 rupees = 2 cents worth...

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If the meat is too lean you might actually want to add some fat otherwise your kababs will end up dry and lack a ittle flavor.

What kind of fat would you recommend adding to the lean mince?

Fat around the kidneys is good but I have made do with adding a bit of plain old soy bean oil, which just gave me an idea to try adding oil infused with spices & herbs and see what happens.

There are no secrets, you are welcome to come to Alexandria and try your hand at making seekh kababs in our tandoor. Saturdays are good as lunchtime is dead.

Call or PM.


Bombay Curry Company

3110 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22305. 703. 836-6363

Delhi Club

Arlington, Virginia

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There are no secrets, you are welcome to come to Alexandria and try your hand at making seekh kababs in our tandoor. Saturdays are good as lunchtime is dead.

Call or PM.

Thanks for the tempting offer,Bhasinji. I would have taken it up in a flash, except that there's this small problem of me living thousands of miles away from you. Still, maybe I can persaude my husband to take our next holiday in Virginia. :wink:

Suman

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      Post your questions here -->> Q&A
    • By rajsuman
      Inspired by a similar thread under 'General Food Topics', I wanted to know how many Indian cookbooks we collectively own on this forum. I have 43 right now, but I'm sure more will turn up from under the bed etc. I'm particularly curious about your collection Vikram, because you seem to own every Indian cookbook under the sun. Here's a picture of my very modest collection (a few on the left haven't come in the shot)

      This is in the kitchen, although there are not that many Indian books here ('Indian Everyday' is from the library) except the small booklets at the end.

    • By Suvir Saran
      What role do they play in your Indian kitchen?
      Do you use it in other dishes you prepare? Maybe even outside of the Indian food realm.
      Do you find it easy to find Cilantro?
      What parts of cilantro do you use?
      How do you keep it fresh?
    • By bague25
      Which are the pickles you have in your pantry right now?
      Which are the ones you dream of?
      Any recipes? Any secrets? Any reading material?
      Please share - as Monica says Inquiring minds want to know...
    • By Bhukhhad
      Breakfast in India vs Breakfast in our homes outside India
      My breakfasts have varied from the time I started to cook for myself instead of just enjoying my Mother’s cooking. At first they were a mix-match of meal fixings, or just dinner leftovers. Or the good old breakfast cereal and milk. But as the years passed and I was more organized, the meals I enjoyed in my Mother’s home began to swim in my memories. And I began to prepare those for my family. However, I am no amazonian chef, so depending on  the hectic nature of the days plans, I switched back and forth from convenience with taste, to elaborate and of course tasty breakfasts. We do have both vegetarian and non vegetarian foods but Indian breakfasts will mostly be vegetarian. 
      So here are some of the things I might make: 
       
      1. Poha as in mostly ‘kande pohe’.
      2. Cheela/ Pudla
      3. Masala toast
      4. Indian Omelette
      5. Handwo piece
      6. Thepla
      7. Vaghareli rotli
      8. Dhokla chutney
      9. Idli sambhar
      10. Leftover sabji
      11. Muthiya
      12. Khakhra
      13. Upma
      14. Paratha
       
      1. Kande Pohe: 
      The dish derives its name from Maharashtra where the Kande Pohe are celebrated as breakfast. They can of course like any breakfast, be eaten at any time. 
      Pohe/ Poha are steamed rice grains that have been beaten flat and then again redried. So they are like Rice flakes. Except they are hand pounded, so have a knobbly texture. 
      You get several varieties in the market. I prefer the thick white variety. 
       
      1 cup dry poha per person
      1 medium onion sliced
      1/2 jalapeno deseeded
      1 sprig curry leaves
      2 small garlic cloves
      1/4 t cumin seeds
      1/2 lemon 
      1/8 t asafoetida
      1/4 t turmeric
      small handful of cilantro leaves
      1T fresh grated coconut
      2 T Peanut oil 
      salt to taste
      sugar to taste
       
      In a pan heat some oil and add cumin seeds. When the seeds sputter, add sliced onions and stir. Saute on medium heat till they turn slightly browned here and there. Do not burn the onions. 
      Meanwhile wash the Poha in a colander and drain. Do this two or three times to get rid of any dirt and also to allow them to rehydrate. They do not need soaking. Fluff the poha with a fork. Add salt sugar turmeric asafoetida and chopped cilantro. Mix and set aside. 
      Once the onions are ready add minced garlic and chopped jalapeno along with the curry leaf sprig. 
      Turn the heat to low and add the poha mixture. Stir to coat and to allow the turmeric and asafoetida to cook. The poha will turn mildly yellow and start giving a wonderful fragrance. 
      Turn off the heat. Fluff gently and plate. Garnish with fresh grated coconut and a squeeze of lemon juice. 
      Finger licking good!! 
      Now when I make this next I will post a picture. 
      Update: Ok I felt the urge to have Kande Pohe for tonight’s dinner. So here is a picture. I am certain to enjoy it for breakfast as well. The measurement of 1 cup poha per person is too much for one meal. But carried over to another meal thats super good! I will also have some stir fried bok choy greens made in the same kadhai after the poha was done, and some cooked and sliced beetroot for salad. My family will add some haldiram sev on the poha for extra crunch! And we will all have some chaas to round off this meal. 
      *************
       
      2. Cheela/ Pudla
       
      These are essentially crepes but in the Indian style. 
      1/2 cup sieved garbanzo bean (Besan) flour. 
      Water to form a thin batter
      1T plain yogurt 
      1/2 t ginger garlic paste 
      1/4 or less green chili crushed
      2 t heated oil *
      pinch asafoetida
      pinch turmeric 
      salt to taste
      chopped cilantro (two sprigs)
      some ‘masala’ from a readymade pickle
       
       
      Method:
       
      mix the ingredients together except oil. Heat oil in a separate pan and add about 1 to 2 t of the hot oil onto the batter. It will sizzle. Use a whisk to stir thoroughly. The batter should be pouring consistency. 
      Let the batter soak for about half an hour if possible. 
      On a hot griddle, pour a ladle full of the batter. Turn the griddle with your wrist to spread the batter around. Cook on moderate to high flame. Flip the crepe when all the sides look like they are ready. You can add a little oil to the sides of the frying pan to make the edges crispy. 
       
      In my home we usually have a Besan cheela with some yogurt its a quick and filling breakfast. You can have a small salad or fruit with it to make it more complete. Or fill the center of the cheela with some cottage cheese and fold for added creaminess! 
      ****************
      3. Masala Toast : 
       
      1 slice of bread (your choice) toasted
      1/2 small red onion minced
      1 medium roma tomato diced (or whatever you have)
      cilantro (few leaves)
      1/8 t cumin (optional)
      1/4 t chaat masala ( available in stores)
      1 inch cube paneer
      1 T peanut oil
      pinch turmeric (optional)
       
      Heat the oil in a pan and saute the onions. Add the tomato and cook down to mush. Crumble the paneer and add the dry spices. Stir for a few seconds to warm the paneer. Add the cilantro and though I have not written it as an ingredient, I like a few drops of lemon juice. Do not overcook paneer.
      I started this topic because someone asked for Indian recipes on the new forum. I don’t think they have seen any yet. I hope they find this useful. I am enjoying it. 
      **************************
       
      I will add recipes to the list slowly. I have to however add that after a certain ‘age’ I have now resorted to having to make sure I have three things for breakfast besides coffee: a glass of water, a small portion of fruit and a small portion of some protein not necessarily meat. 
      Bhukkhad
       

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