I remember when I was kid, my mother used to get up early and prepare the whole days meal while we were all still sleeping, and also fix everybody’s lunch boxes, sometimes each one different from one another according to the likes of each person. By lunch time in the school, tired and bored, lunch was always what I looked forward to. Yummy and heartfully delicious simple home food to satisty the hungry stomach. Later, when I was in the junior college, I had to stay away from my parents. I then seriously missed food, especially filling lunches. That is when I began to develop a like for Shaami-sandwiches for lunch everyday. My mother would prepare Shaami in bulk, and send to me. I used to store them in the freezer, content and happy. That is when I learnt to prepare these.
Shaami, Shikampur and Kofta are all prepared the same way from a dough like cooked meat+dal+spices paste. Boneless/Minced meat is cooked dry along with lentils, onions and spices to perfection, along with a few fresh herbs, spices and chillies. This is then ground to a dough like paste which is then shaped into various kinds. If you shape it into a diamond like oblong kawabs, it is called as ‘Shaami‘, if you shape it into a small patty with a finely chopped onion+yogurt+herb relish, it is called as ‘Shikampur‘, and if you shape them into small golf balls, they are called as ‘Kofta‘. Each of them are shallow fried in oil and then eaten.
Preparing the meat+dal mixture before hand, and storing it in sandwich bags, like I have explained below, saves a lot of time. Infact during my holidays, I buy the ingredients for this in bulk, and prepare and store them in the freezer for future use. Comes extremely handy to me.
You can serve Shaami and Shikampur as snacks along with chutney to your guests, or add them between your sandwich bread for lunch, between burger buns for a delightful meal, or you can add a few Shaami along with little chutney, salad and mayonnaise and roll them between a Paratha as a wrap. Kids will love it.
Shaami and Shikampur and Kofte - Fragrant and Spicy Meat Kababs
Boneless Lamb/Veal meat (or) Minced Lamb/Veal meat - 700 gms
Yellow onions – 2 large, roughly chopped
Chana Dal – 1 cup (pre-soaked for 1 hour and drained)
Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
Red Chilli powder/Lal mirch powder – 3 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
Garam masala powder- 1 tsp
Cinnamon sticks/Dalchini – one 8 cm long stick
Salt – 3 tsp
Ginger garlic paste – 2 tbsp
Green Serrano chillies (or) Small green chillies – around 12, roughly chopped
Small Thai Red chillies – 3, chopped (optional)
Lemon juice – 4 tbsp
Cilantro – 1 cup, roughly chopped
1. In a pressure cooker at medium high heat, pour half cup water, and add lamb, pre-soaked dal, chopped onions, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, salt, cumin seeds, and ginger garlic paste and cinnamon stick. Mix well. Close the lid and let it pressure cook until the meat is tender. Later, open the lid and let it cook until all the liquid has evaporated and it is mostly a dry mixture. There should be no water in the mixture left. This is important, else you will not be able to properly shape them later on and they will end up cracking while you shallow fry them in the end.
2. Let the mixture cool down. Once cool, remove and discard the cinnamon stick. Add the mixture to a food processor. Throw in the cilantro, garam masala powder, chillies, lemon juice and process without adding any water until smooth and pasty. The mixture is ready.
During earlier times, this mixture was grinded using a Sil-Batta or a grinding stone from the past. Sil referring to flat stone and Batta referring to a cylindrical grinding stone. The process must have been a vigorous exercise for arms.
Method of storing the extra meat mixture for future use:
Meat mixture packed in Sandwich bags to be stored frozen for later use
I often prepare the meat mixture for Shaami/Shikampur and Kofta in bulk at a time. Once the mixture is cool enough to handle, store the extra amount in ziplock sandwich bags. Stack them up and freeze for future use. When you feel like having it, take a few sandwich bags out of the freezer and keep them on the countertop until they defrost to room temperature. Shape them into Shaami or Shikampur or Kofta and shallow fry them to serve. It saves a lot of my time this way.
To prepare Shaami:
1. Wash your hands clean. Take a small amount of cool water/oil into a cup. Take the above prepared meat mixture, the size of a golf ball into your hands. Dipping your right hand fingertips into the water, shape the mixture into a oblong diamond shaped Shaami(as shown in the picture above). Keep aside. Continue preparing Shaami until you get the number of Shaami you need.
2. In a small frying pan at medium high heat, pour little oil and shallow fry the Shaami until crisp dark brown on each side. Shallow fry them in batches and serve warm.
To prepare Shikampur:
1. Finely chop 1 medium onion, 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, 1 tbsp fresh mint leaves, and 4 small green chillies. Add 2 tbsp hung thick yogurt and salt to taste. Mix well. This is the yogurt relish. (Prepare more of this if you are planning to make many Shikampur for a large crowd)
2.Wash your hands clean. Take a small amount of cool water/oil into a cup. Take the above prepared meat mixture, the size of a golf ball into your hands. Make a well in the centre and add about a tablespoon of the relish prepared in the above step. Working gently with your hands, bring the edges together and cover the filling properly to shape into a flattened patty(as shown in the picture above).
3. In a small frying pan at medium high heat, pour little oil and shallow fry the Shikampur until crisp dark brown on each side. Shallow fry them in batches and serve warm.
To prepare Kofta:
1. Wash your hands clean. Take a small amount of cool water/oil into a cup. Take the above prepared meat mixture, the size of a golf ball into your hands. Wetting your palms with little water, shape the mixture into smooth balls and keep aside. Continue preparing the koftas until you get the number you need.
2. In a small frying pan at medium high heat, pour little oil and shallow fry the kofta’s, a few at a time, until crisp dark brown on their sides.
(Note: Koftas prepared this way are used in Kofte Ka Qorma)
You can also prepare Nagrisi Koftey using this same meat mixture.
Tip: If you feel like the meat mixture you have prepared for shaami, shikampur or kofta is very loose and not tight enough to hold a shape, dry roast about 2 tbsp or more of gram flour/besan for a few seconds, and once cool add it to the meat mixture. Mix well and you will now be able to shape it better. Add more if you require.