Shammi kavaab with lamb mince

Cyrus Todiwala makes a traditional Indian Christmas dish
By Cyrus Todiwala
Shammi kavaab with lamb mince
  • Rating:
  • Serves: Makes 16 kebabs
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: medium


For the filling

  • 20 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped, to taste
  • 3 small onions, finely chopped
  • piece ginger, (4cm)
  • 1 small raw mango, peeled and finely chopped (if not available use 1 tsp dry mango powder)
  • salt, to taste
  • oil, for cooking

For the meat mixture

  • 500 g minced lamb
  • 150 g yellow split peas, washed
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 large dried chillies, crushed
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • brown whole cardamom pods, crushed (use green if not available)
  • 2 inch piece cinnamon, or cassia bark, crushed
  • salt, to taste
  • 500 ml water

For the masala

  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 3/4 tsp mace
  • 1/2 tsp green ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp screw-pine water, known as kewra or kewda water, available in Asian stores
  • 1 tsp rose water


1. Place the mince and split peas in a casserole and add the crushed spices and chopped ginger and garlic. Mix in the water

2. Cover and cook on a medium heat until the split peas are cooked.

3. Take the lid off and stir until the water has completely evaporated (the mince should feel dry).

4. Remove the meat from the casserole and puree to a very fine paste in a blender or grinder. There should be no course grains - you want a smooth paste.

5. Add the masala and mix well.

6. Divide the mince paste into 16 portions. Cover and set aside in the refrigerator.

7. For the filling, combine the chopped mint leaves, green chillies, onions and mango with a little salt and mix well using your fingers.

8. Fill each mince paste portion with equal quantities of the filling mixture and gently shape into patties.

9. Grease a griddle with about 150ml oil and heat over very low heat. Place the kebabs on the griddle and sprinkle a little oil over each patty. When the sides of the kebabs turn a golden brown colour, flip them over and cook the other side. Remove when the other side if golden brown.

10. Serve hot with fresh mint chutney and an Indian bread such as paratha.

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