The Middle Eastern themed dinner I had a couple of months back, saw quite a bit of lamb mince left over after making the meatloaf. This was mince which was lightly marinated with some spices but not cooked yet,so I could pretty much do what I wanted with it.
I had pita bread left over from the appetisers I had made for the party as well as lettuce from the salad - so I decided to make lamb and vegetable patties and then serve them sandwiched inside pita bread pockets.
The muhammara dip I had made to go with the appetisers the day before, was also left over and that made an amazing topping sauce for the pita bread sandwich - textured and tongue tickling. Some fresh lettuce, onion rings, thick, juicy tomato slices and we were good to go!
To make the lamb patties, I decided to use a recipe from Sanjeev Kapoor for Shikampuri kebabs - after all pita bread is from the Middle East - not that far from India! This recipe is from his book Simply Indian and is one of many recipes which come from a more elaborate era but are very simply explained. I still feel his forte lies in making Indian food accessible to everyone - there hasn't been a single recipe of his which I have tried which has not been successful.
This recipe makes kebabs from lamb mince and chana dal (Bengal gram dal), delicately spiced with a freshly ground spice powder and then shaped into patties and stuffed with a hung curd mixture before shallow frying it on a hot griddle. As my friend R would say - Supreme! ;)
I have made my own adjustments to the original recipe - more spices being the main one . Since I can't eat too much of red meat I also made some vegetable patties - combining peas, carrots, spinach and potatoes with the chana dal. I shaped the entire mince and chana dal mixture into patties and after removing enough for our dinner, froze the rest stacked in a freezer box. That way for dinner or while packing lunch for us I just had to remove a couple of patties and cook them up in a matter of minutes. I also made some patties for my daughter before adding the spices, so she had one with her lunch a couple of times a week. The only thing I will do the next time is to place a small sheet of butter paper in between every row of patties so that they are easier to remove when they are frozen hard.
1/2 kg Lamb mince
Chana Dal (Bengal gram) - 1/2 cup
Green chillies - 3 finely chopped
Ginger - 1 " piece finely chopped
Garlic - 5 cloves finely chopped
salt to taste
lemon juice -1/2 lemon
sesame seeds - 1 tbsp
oil - to shallow fry
Eggs - 2 (you can use whites)
Dried red chillies - 3 (you can use kashmiri red chillies for a less spicier mix)
Cinnamon - 1" stick
Cloves - 2
Black pepper - 6
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Coriander seeds - 1 tbsp
Hung yoghurt - 1/2 cup (hang 1 cup yoghurt in a muslin cloth in a cool place for an hour till the whey is drained)
finely chopped green chilli - 1
finely chopped garlic cloves - 2
mint leaves - 8-10, chopped
cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
1. Wash lamb mince thoroughly and drain water. Soak chana dal in just enough water for an hour (not less)
2. Meanwhile, dry roast the ingredients for the spice powder, cool and grind to a fine powder.
3. In a pressure pan, mix the mince, soaked and drained chana dal, chopped green chillies, ginger and garlic. Add 4 cups water, salt to taste and pressure cook for two whistles and keep on low flame for 3 minutes. Open when the pressure reduces and heat again till the mixture dries up and no water remains.
4. Cool and grind to a paste. Add lemon juice, adjust seasoning and add sesame seeds to the mixture.
5. Divide into 15-18 portions and keep aside.
6. Mix all ingredients for stuffing together and divide into as many portions as the lamb mixture.
7. Take one portion of the lamb mixture, flatten in the palm of your hand and stuff with the yoghurt mixture. Gather the edges of the lamb mixture to the centre, shape into a round patty and flatten slightly without applying too much pressure. Shape the rest of the kebabs in the same way.
8. Beat eggs and keep in a shallow tray. Heat oil in a griddle (about 4 tbsp) - dip each kabab in the beaten egg and shallow fry till golden brown.
9. Serve hot as a starter or stuffed in lightly toasted pita pockets with onion rings, tomato rings and lettuce topped with mint chutney or dip.