I'm not one of those cooks who starts off a recipe by saying "this is one of my favorite grilling recipes, ever." But what the hell. Seekh kebabs are one of my favorite grilling recipes, ever. Indians don't grill a whole lot in the traditional sense of putting meat (which a lot of them don't eat) on a grill (which is just a bad idea in 110-degree heat with full-on humidity). Rather, they marinate their protein of choice in a spiced yogurt mixture overnight, then blast it in a super hot clay oven called a tandoor for a smoky, juicy, slightly charred effect.
Then there's the seekh kebab. It's a mix of seasoned ground meat, typically lamb, sculpted around thick metal skewers to form a sausage shape. When the meat is cooked, the skewers are removed from the grill, the meat is allowed to cool slightly and then slid off the skewers. Sliced into rounds and stuck with toothpicks, seekh kebabs are the perfect appetizer to blow cocktail weenies back into the colonizing empires from whenst they came.
My favorite way to do eat seekh kebabs? Slide them off the skewer and right into a piece of hot, fluffy naan. Top with yogurt-mint sauce and a little chopped cilantro and red onion and eat like the hybrid hot dog of my Mumbai-Manhattan dreams.
For the kebabs
- 1 pound ground lamb
- 1 cup cilantro, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons garam masala
- 1 serrano chile, seeded and minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1-inch chunk ginger root, peeled and finely minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- juice and zest of one lime
For the yogurt-mint sauce
- 1 cup mint, finely chopped
- 2 cups plain Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup red onion, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the kebabs:
- In a large bowl, mix ground lamb, cilantro, garam masala, serrano chile, garlic, ginger, salt, lime juice and zest with your hands until just combined — don't overmix or your kebabs will be too dense.
- Refrigerate for 30 minutes, then evenly sculpt meat mixture around thick steel skewers to form a sausage shape.
- Preheat grill on medium-high, then grill the skewers, turning as necessary to prevent scorching, for about 15 minutes or until fully cooked and just slightly charred.
- Remove from grill and cool for 10 minutes, then slide the meat off the skewer and serve in a pita or slice for an appetizer.
For the yogurt-mint dipping sauce:
- Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl.
- Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.