Shami Kebab: Spicy Meat And Lentil Burger

Shami Kebab is one delicious kebab that has a very fine texture and delicate spiciness mixed with savoury meat. It’s one of the must-have snack items in Pakistani/ Indian households. Simply because they’re just too good to exclude.

Five pieces of meat and lentil kebab - shami kebabs.

Shami Kebab

Shami Kebab is one delicious kebab that apparently was created to please the appetite of a Nawab (Mughal ruler) in Lucknow. The kebab has a very fine texture and delicate spiciness that marries with savoury meat. 

Traditionally served as a snack, this meat and lentil kebabs have become one of the must-have snack items in Pakistani/ Indian households. Simply because they’re just too good to exclude.

Some shami kebabs the meat and lentil kebabs.

And in Ramadan (the fasting month), shami kebab is one of many appetizing foods to enjoy for breaking the fast (iftar). 

The shami kebab recipe I’m sharing here is based on the Pakistani way of cooking that I learned from my extended family. 

Delicious Snacks Or Starter

This type of kebab is also popular as a starter among Pakistani food spread. And often you can find it as a starter at happy occasions such as weddings or family gatherings. 

Simplified Ingredients

The first time I learnt how to make these lentil and meat kebabs, I used whole spices and found it difficult in processing the mixture in my food processor. 

To make things easier, I now used ground spices. And only a few whole spices that I can discard once the cooking process is done.

So, to make toothsome shami kebabs easily, you will need minced/ ground meat, onions, ginger, garlic, ground cumin, ground coriander, turmeric powder, Kashmiri red chilli powder, green cardamom, cinnamon sticks, black pepper, bay leaves, salt, water, cilantro/ coriander leaves, green chillies (optional), and eggs. 

I now stopped buying ready-made ground spices. I just buy whole spices and grind them myself whenever I need them. Not only does it works out cheaper, but I also find the spices smell better when I grind them myself. The quality is far superior. Especially when I take time by pan roasting the spices first before grinding them in my spice grinder. 

As for Kashmiri red chilli, I’m afraid I have to get them ready-made. This chilli powder is my favourite. Because it has a better flavour and more vibrant colour compared to other types of red chilli powder. 

How To Make Shami Kebab In An Easy Way

If you want, you can use a pressure cooker or instant pot to make the mixture for the kebab. But here, I used a regular cooking pot on the stove/ cooker. Feel free to use what’s convenient for you. All these types of equipment have a similar, if not the same, way of the cooking process anyway.

So, you soak the lentil beforehand for at least a few hours. Then, drain them and place them in a large cooking pot. 

Add the meat in the lentils together with the rest of the ingredients except eggs, green chillies and cilantro/ coriander leaves. Give it a good stir until everything is mixed.

Then start cooking at moderately high heat until the water starts boiling. Lower the heat and continue cooking until all the liquid evaporates and leaves a dry mixture of meat and lentils. 

You may have to keep checking and stirring the mixture every now and then to prevent the bottom get burned.

Once the mixture is cooked, leave it to completely cool down. You can refrigerate it overnight so it can be more solidified. 

When you’re ready to shallow fry the kebabs, take a tablespoon or two of the mixture and shape it into a round flat disc. Dip it in lightly beaten eggs and shallow fry on a flat frying pan for about 2-3 minutes on each side. 

Five shami kebabs on a napkin with a few bowls of chutney on the background.

Storing Matter

The best way to keep the kebabs is by shaping the mixture into round flat discs. Place them on a tray with enough space apart and freeze them for about half an hour. 

Then, take the discs off the tray and put them in a food container bag. Don’t forget to put the name and date on the bag before storing it in the freezer. The kebabs are kept well frozen for about 8 weeks. 

When you need to serve, take some of the frozen kebabs out of the freezer. No more than half an hour before you fry them. Else, they will go too soft and mushy due to changing temperature. And when you shallow fry them, make sure you leave enough space apart between the patties to make it easy for you to turn them.  

Ways To Enjoy

Shami kebab tastes amazing to enjoy on its own or with just some dipping sauce like tomato chilli chutney, tamarind chutney or plum chutney

However, if you need an extra carb to go with it, you can have it with some naan bread, chapatti or pitta bread. Just wrap one or two kebabs inside any of those flatbreads, top with some salad, some sauces or chutney. Promise, it makes one of the best tasting wraps for you. 

Another idea is, you can eat the kebab in a burger bun, and you’ll have the most uniquely delicious burger ever. 

Other Kebab Recipes

Thank you for checking this Shami Kebab recipe. Hope you like it and are now thinking of trying it. If you do, can you please share what you think about it in the comments below? I’ll really appreciate it. 

Don’t forget to take a look at my other kebab recipes that you may like as well.

And please follow me on Facebook, Instagram and/or Pinterest. To sneak a peek at what’s cooking in my kitchen. 

Thank you and all the best.

Five pieces of meat and lentil kebab - shami kebabs.
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4.41 from 5 votes

Shami Kebab: Spicy Meat And Lentil Burger

Shami Kebab is one delicious kebab that has a very fine texture and delicate spiciness mixed with savoury meat. It's one of the must-have snack items in Pakistani/ Indian households. Simply because they’re just too good to exclude.
Author: Devy Dar
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time50 minutes
Total Time1 hour 20 minutes
Course: Snacks & Starters
Cuisine: Pakistani
Servings: 25 pieces


  • Cooking pan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Food processor
  • Mixing bowls.
  • Frying pan


  • 35.27 ounces minced meat/ ground meat see the note.
  • 1 cup chana dal.
  • 3 medium brown/ yellow onions chopped.
  • 1 inch ginger minced.
  • 7 cloves garlic minced.
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander.
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground cumin.
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric.
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper.
  • 1 ½ teaspoon Kashmiri red chilli powder.
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom seeds see the note.
  • 2 inches cinnamon stick.
  • 2 bay leaves.
  • 2 ½ teaspoons salt see the note.
  • 5 cups water.
  • 2 generous handfuls of cilantro/ coriander leaves finely chopped.
  • 2-3 fresh green bird’s eye chillies optional, finely chopped.
  • 2 eggs.
  • Cooking oil.


  • Place the meat, chopped onions, ginger, garlic, ground coriander, cumin powder, black pepper, Kashmiri red chilli powder, turmeric powder, ground cardamom, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, salt and water in a large cooking pan/ pot. Give it a good stir and start cooking at medium-high until it reaches boiling point. 
  • Spoon off and discard the foam and any impurities from the meat that float on the water surface. Then, put the pan lid on and lower the heat. Leave it to cook until all the liquid evaporates. Do take care by checking and stirring it every now and again. To ensure it doesn’t burn at the bottom of the pan. It takes approximately an hour until all the water evaporates and everything is fully cooked. Leave it to cool.
  • If possible, leave the meat and lentils mixture overnight in the refrigerator/ fridge.
  • Next, mix chopped cilantro/ coriander leaves and green chillies into the meat mixture. Put some of it in a food processor and process it until you get a smooth mix. Keep doing so until all mixture is processed and become smooth. 
  • Then take about 1-2 tablespoons of kebab mix, roll it and flatten it into ⅓ inch thick disc. 
  • Lightly beat the eggs and heat the oil on a frying pan just enough to cover its surface. About ¼ inch deep. Dip the patty in the egg and shallow fry it. 


  • – You can use either beef or lamb minced/ ground meat.
  • – If you don’t have cardamom powder, you can grind the cardamom seeds yourself using a pestle and mortar or a spice grinder. For this recipe, you only need seeds from 6 green cardamoms.
  • – I appreciate that everybody has their own taste on how much they like in their food. So, feel free to adjust the salt according to your taste. Though we find this recipe is just right for the saltiness that we like.
  • – You can skip the green chillies altogether if you don’t want spicy kebabs. And add the chillies however many you like if that’s what you prefer. 


Serving: 1g | Calories: 152kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 55mg | Sodium: 282mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g


Nutritional info in this recipe is only estimate using online calculator. You should refer to it as a guide only. Please verify with your own data if you seek an accurate info.

Author: Devy Dar

Title: Food Writer, Recipe Developer, and Digital Content Creator.


Devy Dar founded So Yummy Recipes and Drizzling Flavor to share her love of food after exploring various cultures and cuisines for more than two decades. Her mission is to help others easily recreate traditional and non-traditional food with readily available ingredients. Her works have been featured in Reader’s Digest, Al Jazeera, MSN, Yahoo, Bon Appetit, and more. 

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  1. 5 stars
    Hi Devy. Another hit! I made these yesterday and, as always when making something for the first time, played it by the book. Absolutely delicious little mouthfuls – savoury with a hit of chilli that creeps up on you. I had them with crunchy leaves, a chopped relish and cucumber and mint raitha. Just perfect. My tummy thanks you! As usual …

    1. Hi Susan, thank you so much for sharing and I’m so happy to hear from you with yet another happy news. Wish me luck, I’ve got a long list of recipes to publish. So watch the space.

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