This week I was craving something a little exotic. I spiced things up with Chicken Kefta Kebabs. The kebabs I’m making are the same type of kebabs that you may find at an Indian or Pakistani restaurant. I love that I can dine on ethnic cuisine with no worries about interrupting my low carb diet. Chicken Kefta Kebabs are made with ground meat and spices and cooked over flame, which makes them quite healthy. What gets you when you eat out at an Indian or Pakistani restaurant is the bread, called Naan. It is a very thick and high in starch bread cooked in a clay oven that is great to wrap your meats in. No worries… I will show you a wonderful alternative to wrap your meat in with this recipe.
Kebabs have many variations to them. There are South Asian recipes as well as Arab recipes, not to mention a few Greek and Turkish versions of Kebab. Originating in the Eastern Mediterranean or the Middle East, the traditional meat for kebab is lamb, but depending on local tastes and religious prohibitions, other meats may include beef, goat, chicken, pork or fish. Like other ethnic foods brought by travelers, the kebab has remained a part of everyday cuisine in most of the Eastern Mediterranean and South Asia.
When it comes to kebabs made of ground meat, its popularity remains in South Asian countries as well as places like Armenia. Armenians prepare kebab with ground meat spiced with pepper, parsley and other herbs and roasted on skewers. It is important to mention that the kebab is a national dish of Iran, of which there are more than seven types of distinct Persian varieties. Koobideh is the Iranian kebab made from ground lamb, beef, or chicken, often mixed with parsley and chopped onions. Kebabs in India are more or less similar to most other kebab preparations along with their distinct taste, which can be credited to the spices native to the Indian subcontinent. All the varieties such as sheesh, doner or shawarma, shammi, tikka, and other forms of roasted and grilled meats are savored in South Asia.
My Kefta Kebabs are made with quite a significant mixture of Indian spices and you must be warned that this dish has a lot of heat.
Chicken Kefta Kebab
1 cup cilantro chopped
1 cup green onions chopped
4 serrano chili peppers chopped and seeded
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground garlic
2 cardamoms, crushed
2 cinnamon sticks crushed or 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground mace
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 lbs. ground chicken meat
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil for frying
In a food processor pulse cilantro, green onions, and chili peppers together and create a paste. In a large bowl mix together the paste and the rest of the ingredients except the chicken. Add the chicken to the paste and spices and mix well. Allow the mixture to marinate for at least two hours, you can leave it overnight in your fridge for best results.
Create small oval shaped palm sized patties and put on the grill or pan fry them. You can also put them in the oven at 375 degrees for 30 minutes turning them once after 15 minutes. I have a nifty indoor grill that allows me to flame broil these kebabs for the best flavor and a very healthy version.
I like to eat these kebabs rolled in a Mission Carb Balance Tortilla that has only 6 grams of carb. I top it with a few cucumbers and a dollop of sour cream or hummus. You can save some of these for lunch the next day and make yourself a yummy wrap.