Healthy doesn’t have to be bland. These Pakistani inspired Chicken Kebabs are an example of healthy and delicious. “Keema” is somewhat of a catch-all in South Asian cooking for most ground meat mixtures. Spices and meats can vary wildly from one keema to the next, and then they can be prepared in many different ways, including stewing, pan frying, or skewering and grilling. We grill this recipe, but you could also use the broiler or a stove top cast iron grill. Create your own version by experimenting with spices!
- Prep Time: 20 Minutes (with 20 more optional for frig/freezer time)
- Cook Time: 12 Minutes
- Total Time: approximately 1 hour
- Yield: 4 kebabs (feeds 2-4 based on side dishes)
- 1 teaspoon cumin seed
- 1 teaspoon coriander seed
- 1 pound ground chicken breasts or thighs
- 2 tablespoons finely grated onion
- 1½ tablespoons fresh garlic, minced (2 large or 2-4 small cloves)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 teaspoons finely diced Thai green chilies or jalapeno if you can’t find Thai
- 1 ½ teaspoons fresh grated ginger
- 1 ½ teaspoons turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
- 4 flat edged skewers, (or 4 wooden skewers, soaked in water for at least 30 min)
- food processor with metal blade
- Place cumin and coriander seeds in a cast iron skillet over medium heat and toast until lightly browned and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder and grind into a fine powder. Do not use your coffee grinder for this! (or your coffee will take on a distinctly odd flavor!) I have a small grinder I use for spices only. If you don’t have a grinder, use a mortar and pestle and grind them. The amount is small and it will be easy.
- If you can’t find ground chicken, put very cold, partly frozen chicken cubes into your processor, and pulse very quickly until ground, being careful not to overdo it or you’ll have chicken paste. Because they can get dry, I use chicken thighs.
- In a large bowl mix together ground cumin and coriander seeds, chicken, onion, cilantro, garlic, chilies, turmeric, salt, and garam masala until chicken is evenly seasoned.
- Form ¼ of meat mixture into a skewer-length cylinder on a baking pan or tray. Press skewer into chicken and form meat around stick. Repeat with remaining meat. Place skewered chicken in freezer for 20 minutes while preparing grill.
- Light the grill. If using a gas grill, preheat on high, then turn to High/Medium/High for the cooking. Brush oil on the grate before adding the skewers. Remove skewers from freezer and carefully transfer to hot grill. Cook until skewers brown all over and are cooked through, about 3-5 minutes per side. Transfer to a platter, let rest for 5 minutes, then serve immediately.
- Don’t worry if you loose the skewer or it falls off. They still taste great!
You can serve them with a cucumber sauce (I use unsweetened dairy free coconut yogurt, dill and chopped cucumber). They are also great on salads.
Here’s the tricks to grind chicken yourself. Easy, and you can purchase the best natural chicken and not rely on mass produced ground chicken.