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Cocktail Kabobs (Kabab)

This kabob recipe comes from the Muslim community in Agra, the home of the beautiful Taj Mahal. The kabobs may be made larger and served as a main dish.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 8 Makes 32 kabobs; serves 8.


  • 2 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 lb. ground beef, lamb or goat
  • 1 1/2 tsp. garam masala (see related recipe at
      right) or ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. salt, or to taste
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 fresh mild green chilies, such as Anaheim,
  • 1 egg
  • 1 slice white bread, crusts removed
  • 2 Tbs. milk
  • Hot and spicy tomato chutney for serving (see
      related recipe at right)


In a large nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil. When hot, add the onion and cook, stirring often, until it turns caramel brown, about 9 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and add the meat, garam masala, salt, cloves, cilantro, chilies and egg.

In a small bowl, soak the bread in the milk for 1 minute, mash it to a pulp and add it to the meat mixture. Mix thoroughly, preferably with your hands, kneading the mixture until it is uniformly smooth and silky. Divide the mixture into 4 equal portions, then make 8 balls with each portion. (If necessary, dip your fingers in water to prevent the meat from sticking to them while you make the kabobs.)

Heat 2 large nonstick fry pans over high heat until hot. Place 16 kabobs in each pan. Reduce the heat to medium-high and fry, shaking the pan and turning the kabobs, until they are cooked through and browned all over, about 8 minutes. If necessary, reduce the heat to medium during the last few minutes of cooking.

Serve hot, warm or at room temperature with the chutney.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Savoring Series, Savoring India, by Julie Sahni (Time-Life Books, 2001).