Chicken Seekh Kebabs

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The name “Navika Gangrade” is a little cryptic, I’ll admit. I went through 12 years of schooling with teachers interminably staring at their attendance lists when they got to my name. Not to mention surreptitiously scanning for the room for which kid looked like a “Navika.” And that brings me to my point, Navika is a unique name and I’m not sure that it points to one ethnicity. I’ve been told it sounds Russian or Mexican. But actually *drum roll* it’s Indian! So, yeah, I don’t look completely Indian, but that’s because my mom is Chinese. Well, that is, racially Chinese. She grew up in India so she’s ethnically Indian. If that makes sense….ANYWAYS, now let’s talk about food.

So, I’ve always been nervous about making Indian food. My parents are both really great cooks and in America, as opposed to European countries, Indian food isn’t so prevalent. That means the flavors and spices of Indian food I don’t really read about in magazines/cookbooks or see on TV. But I do have a kick awesome spice drawer at home. I decided to play around with the spices and made kebabs that are “parent-approved” ha ha ha. Also, I wanted to use ground chicken which is so very lean. Usually seekh kebabs are made with lamb or beef, but even when I ate (and loved) red meat, I still preferred the chicken ones. So, there’s that! Another note, the spices are key indian spices that can be found at the Indian store or perhaps even the normal grocery store. If you go out and get these spices, they’ll pretty much last you forever: a good food investment!

So, the same day I also made an eggplant subzi (indian vegetable dish), cilantro mint chutney, and homemade pita bread, which are pictured below. I made so many things so it got really late by the time they were all done. That’s why my pictures have subpar lighting wahhh D: But, nevertheless, I hope I can convey THE ABSOLUTE DELICIOUSNESS OF THE KEBABS.

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Also, does anyone know how to spell kebabs or kabobs or kebobs or kababs…? See my problem.

Recipe: (Makes 9 8inch kebabs)

3 lb ground chicken
1 inch square ginger
8 cloves of garlic
2 medium sized yellow onions
1 tbsp groud cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
1.5 tsp paprika
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tbsp salt
1 cup fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup cilantro

In a food processor, mix  the ginger and garlic into a paste and set aside
In the same processor, mix up the onions JUST until they become paste-like and mix into a bowl with the ginger and garlic
(Important note #1: the key to good kebabs that hold up is no big chunks) (Important note #2: when you open the food processor you WILL be inundated by deathly vapors of chopped onions. They WILL make you cry. Consider yourself warned)
Chop up the mint and cilantro leaves very finely
Mix the cumin, coriander, paprika, garam masala, and salt together
Add the spice mixture, garlic/ginger/onion mixture, and mint/cilantro to the ground meat
GET YO HANDS DIRTY and mix it all in!
DO NOT MUSH THOUGH. You don’t want a mealy kebab. Mix as little as possible.
Let the flavors mature in the fridge for at least an hour, but 3-4 hours is best.

Now, time for the baking!
Preheat oven to 400degrees F
Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil
Place a metal cooling rack on top of the foil
The kebabs will be placed on the rack to cook so that the bottom is exposed and not pressed against the baking sheet
Take 9 metal, oven-safe skewers
Grab a fistful (yes, you can see how mathematical this is) and shape around the skewer. Repeat 8 more times with great difficulty. (Yes, this part SUCKS, but persevere and don’t worry if you’re sucking!)
Place on the rack. (The rack will indent the meat a little)
Bake for about 13 minutes then take out the pan, turn the skewers with tongs or mitts, they’ll be HOT!
Place back into the oven for about 13 more minutes
Take out one last time and flip over to the “pretty side” you’ll see what I mean…
Broil for about 7 minutes
TAKE OUT AND DONE YAY DONE WOO

Enjoy with some chutney, pita, roti, yogurt, a fork 🙂

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