Chapli Kebabs

Chapli kebabs

Chapli kebabs are my ultimate fave in kebabs. I can eat them everyday and I love the sheer taste of the whole spices!
There is something about the preparation, the ingredients, the spices and the process of shallow frying that reminds me of the kebabs made at home in the 70s.

Juicy chicken mince
Seasoned with spices
Herbs and tomato
Gently shallow fried

I don’t fry my kebabs any more, I tend to grill them more often, unless I am making chapli kebabs. Then they need to be shallow fried, gently until they crisp up on the outside and are lovely and juicy inside.

The chapli kebabs make the best burgers in my opinion and they taste delicious on their own or with a nice salad and flatbread.

Served with spiced salad
Great in a bun!

The recipe below is an old tried and tested one that I always use and have done so from the time I discovered Chapli kebabs in the 80’s. It is authentic as I could make them and I stick to this recipe now as in my view they are just perfect for me.

This is the only time onions make me cry.
Squeezing the water out of the minced onions! Don’t skip the process, it makes a difference to the end product! I use my mini chopper now, there was a time when I used to spend ages mincing onions by hand!

I used chicken mince today, usually I would use mutton leg mince, with good ratio of mutton mixed mince which which has some fat. So I add 25g of butter to the chicken mix.

Traditional recipes include pomegranate seeds. They do add a tang but they are optional. You can use pomegranite powder if you have it but I grind mine with coriander and Ajwain seeds if I use them whole.

The one thing I would ask is that you have both the whole coriander seeds and ajwain as in my view they make the kebabs and without them they just aren’t Chapli kebabs!

My youngest prefers chicken to red meat hence the deviation but they are fabulous whichever mince you opt for!

Hope you give these a go and enjoy them as much as I do.

What you will need:



1 kg mince with 25% fat
3 medium onions very finely minced and juice squeezed out. (do not blend)
2 green chilies finely minced
fresh coriander finely chopped.
2 medium tomatoes finely chopped
1 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
1 tsp crushed carom seeds 1 tsp pomegranate seeds or powder
2 1/2 tbsp crushed coriander seeds
1 tbsp crushed cumin and seeds
2 tsp crushed red chili flakes
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
1/2 a tsp black pepper
salt to taste
1 egg
1 tbsp of plain flour
oil for shallow frying


Remove the pulp and chop fine
Mince your onions,
the smaller the better
don’t be tempted to blend
squeeze the water out

In a bowl place your mince. Add to this your minced onions, fresh chillies, fresh finely chopped coriander, your finely chopped tomatoes.

Everything in a bowl

Now in a coffee grinder add your carom seeds, coriander seeds, pomegranate seeds and cumin seeds and crush all the spices. Add this to your mince.

Fresh ingredients and ground whole spices

Add the chilli flakes, cumin powder, garam masala, black pepper, salt, flour and egg and butter to the chicken mince.

Spices going in
All ingredients to be mixed
Butter only because its chicken mince so we add fat which makes them lush

Really mix this well, kneading the meat so that it bruises the protein and ingredients well. If you’re using chicken you will know when its fully incorporated because the butter will have totally blended in to the mince. This kneading part is important, give it a good workout.

Well kneaded

Let it sit and marinate for at least 2 hrs but preferably as long as possible.

Rest for as long as possible

To Make The Kebabs:

Heat some veg oil in a large flat frying pan.

About 1 cm of oil

Take a small bowl of water and wet your palms and hands.

Take a large ball of mince and use a plate or a lid as your template and flatten your kebab so its large and 1cm flat.

I use a large yogurt pot lid
Gently pat to shape

Gently slide this using a fish slice into the oil and fry on medium heat.

Place in oil

Fry till crispy and brown on the outside and lovely and juicy inside.

Wait till they firm up before turning

Use 2 fish slice or a palette knife to carefully turn them over. Continue to fry on medium heat so they cook through but don’t dry. Aim for a caramel brown type colour.

Cook on medium low

Remove with slotted spoon and let them sit for a few minutes.

I served them with a simple red onion and tomato salad found here Onion and Tomato Salad and my homemade chilli sauce. Mint sauce would go wonderfully too. Sauces and Dips                                                      Buns were optional!


The Coriander and Carom are really important elements that make the dish. Don’t miss out either.

If you want, sprinkle half tsp of whole Carom seeds at the end into the mince for a lovely bite…

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. Alexander Zaremba says:

    I cooked these for the family on Saturday – everyone was suitably impressed and so will definitely cook these again. I enjoyed the whole process and working with the ‘raw’ spices! For my next adventure I have chosen the savoury rock cakes – I hope they are just as yum as these. Cheers!

    1. Papli says:

      I am so delighted to hear your family enjoyed them and you enjoyed the process! Thankyou!

      I really look forward to hearing your feedback on Rockcakes too!

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