Indian Chicken Kebabs


Minced meat kebabs are a popular street food in India. Here we've combined an aromatic mixture of ground chicken, ginger, cilantro, mint and exotic spices for a taste of the subcontinent. The meat is formed around wooden skewers; the amount can be adjusted for appetizer or main course portions. The addition of ricotta cheese is decidedly un-Asian, but it softens the cooked texture (firmness) of the kebabs. It's entirely optional, however; leaving it out doesn't affect the flavor of the meat. This recipe is only moderately spicy, so feel free to increase the amount of chile peppers if you crave more heat. Formed into small portions, these kebabs make an unusual party hors d'oeuvres and can be served with hot mustard or sweet chili dipping sauces.


1 1/2 pounds ground chicken
2 tablespoons grated or finely micned fresh ginger root (2-inch pieces)
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
2 tablespoons finely minced jalapeño pepper (or more to taste)
1/2 cup minced fresh mint leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup ricotta cheese (optional)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon dried mint
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground fenugreek
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 limes


Combine the chicken, ginger, garlic, jalapeños, cilantro, mint, salt and ricotta, if using, in a large bowl and mix well.

In another small bowl, mix the ground ginger, coriander, mint, cumin, cardamom, and fenugreek until blended. Add half of the spice mixture to the chicken and mix well. Reserve the remainder of the spice mixture for the cooking stage.

Refrigerate the meat for at least 2 hours, or until thoroughly chilled. At this point, the meat may be covered and refrigerated for up to 24 hours before continuing.

An hour before serving, soak 12 to 16 wooden skewers in cold water. Wet your hands and form the cold meat around the skewers. (Wetting your hands helps keep the meat from sticking to your fingers.) Form the meat so it's not too thick, as this will make cooking more difficult; aim for uniform, sausage-like kebabs. Keep the meat at the upper third of the skewer. Once formed, re-chill the kebabs for 30 minutes.

Heat a flat griddle or ridged grill pan over high heat. Film the bottom of the pan with some of the oil. When the pan is hot, arrange the kebabs on the pan. It may be necessary to do this in two batches, depending on the size of your pan and the kebabs. Lower the heat to medium and cook the kebabs, turning them during the cooking process so that all sides get brown and crusty. Occasionally brush the kebabs with more oil, and when the kebabs are half-cooked, sprinkle them with the remaining spice mixture. Continue cooking until the chicken is no longer pink inside.

Transfer the kebabs to a serving platter, squeeze lime juice over the skewers, and serve immediately.


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