Chicken and Lentil Kebabs

Like the word "meat" in a fast food restaurant, the word "kebab" doesn't seem to have a very strict definition. When I think of kebabs, I think of grilled meat on a stick. As was evident when we ate at the Siddiqui household (see The Muslim Dinner Host story here), kebab can also be a patty of meat and pulses fried in a pan.

Chicken thigh pieces getting happy in their lentil and yogurt marinade.

Chicken thigh pieces getting happy in their lentil and yogurt marinade.

To prepare this recipe, I had to get creative. On the one hand, I had Mohammad's ingredient list and instructions which he'd inherited from his mother who prepares this for her husband, originally from Hyderabad in India. On the other hand, I had Pushpesh Pant's recipe for Murg Dalcha Kebab which, according his India: The Cookbook, comes from Hyderabad. What I settled on was Pant's ingredient list but instead of grilling the marinated chicken pieces, I ground them raw, formed it into patties with the lentils and other ingredient and finished the whole thing off in the pan. This tied in to Mo's technique where boiled chicken was placed in a blender with lentils and spices to form the patties.

Grinding the marinated chicken.

Grinding the marinated chicken.

Ingredients For kebabs

250g chana dal
2 tsp garlic, crushed
2 tsp ginger, grated
1 large onion, thinly sliced
Pinch of chili flakes
1 tsp garam masala
½ tsp turmeric
1 tbsp salt
650g (about 1.5 pounds) chicken thighs, cut into cubes
1 cup greek or other thick yogurt
Peanut oil, for frying
 

Ingredients for sauce

1 cup greek yogurt
1 garlic bulb, crushed
1 tsp ginger, grated
Juice of half a lime
4-5 mint leaves, finely chopped

The finished product: Hyderabad style chicken and lentil kebabs.

The finished product: Hyderabad style chicken and lentil kebabs.

Method

  1. Soak the chana dal in a bowl of water overnight. The next day, drain, transfer into a pot with salted water and cook until tender. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the garlic, ginger, onion, spices and salt. Add the chicken and coat with the mixture. Marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  3. In another large bowl, mix together the chana dal paste and yogurt. Add the marinated chicken. Marinate in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours.
  4. Using a meat grinder, grind the marinated chicken making sure to include all the marinade. You want to end up with a smooth paste.
  5. Form the ground meat into patties and fry in oil.
  6. For the sauce, simply mix all the ingredients together
  7. Serve kebabs with sauce and some rice.