The eagle eyed among you will have spotted that I did not include the Chapli Kebab recipe on the last blog. It is not that I forgot, heavens no, I just wanted to post it separately!
Chapli kebabs are a popular Afghani staple, the name derives from the Pashto word Chaprikh which means flat; this describes the shape of the large flat patties reminiscent of a burger and it's the perfect shape to stuff in a pitta bread or in a burger bun or naan.
You can make this as spicy as you like or keep the chili to a minimum for those who can't take the heat. If you find you've overdone it a bit on the chili front, a squeeze of lemon or a generous smearing of hummus will help to ameliorate the hotness.
If you don't mind a bit of ethnic mixing an Indian inspired cucmber raita or Greek tzatziki made with coconut or soya yoghurt, grated cucumber, olive oil, salt, pepper, grated garlic and some fresh or dried mint is very cooling on the palate and goes fantastically well with anything grilled particularly if there is a chili involvement!
There are lots of tips and tricks with this kebab to help them keep their shape while cooking.
Squeeze the onion and grated garlic mix really well to remove the juice that can make them too wet and refrigerate for no more than 30 minutes before cooking otherwise the tomatoes start to release their juices which make the kebabs break up. Better still shape the patties and place them on a silicone lined sheet tin in the freezer for 30 minutes or so and cook them from semi frozen.
Another Afghani tip is to use the onion and garlic water left over from the kebab to marinate lamb cubes. I often do this and while it makes the lamb look a rather unappetising grey colour when raw, it really tenderises it and the lamb cooks remarkably quickly.
The addition of scrambled egg might seem odd but it gives them a lovely texture; if the idea seems too strange to you and out of your comfort zone, you can leave it out without any detriment.
1kg beef mince
150g crushed pomegranate
150g whole pomegranate seeds
2-3 eggs beaten
2 eggs scrambled
Salt & freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 desertspoon grated fresh ginger
3 large tomatoes chopped
Large handful of chopped fresh coriander
small handful of chopped mint - optional
2 - 4 green chilis
1 Kg onions minced and drained through a sieve
6-8 cloves garlic minced and added to the onion in the sieve
3-4 tablespoons maize flour or fine polenta
2 large tomatoes sliced - for garnish
The traditional method is to grate and drain the onion with the garlic in a sieve which is what I have written in the ingredients but I am all about speedy prep so I put the coarsely chopped onion and garlic with the chunked chilis and sliced fresh ginger in a food processor and blitz I then add the fresh coriander roughly chopped and tip the lot into a sieve to drain.
While it is draining scramble two eggs in a small pan with a little oil and allow to cool.
Whizz 150g pomegranate seeds in the processor to crush and add them along with all the rest of the ingredients to the mince in a large mixing bowl. Add the scrambled egg and gently combine the mixture until evenly blended and the mixture gets a bit sticky. DO NOT over-mix as it will make the onions and tomatoes give off too much juice.
Shape into thin burger sized patties and refrigerate or freeze as described above . While they are firming up, gently fry the tomato slices or oven bake them on a silicone paper lined baking sheet.
Shallow fry in a couple of inches of oil or BBQ over medium coals. You can oven bake these and then finish on the BBQ if you are at all worried that they will come apart.
This quantity will make approximately 12-15 patties.