Chapli kebob.. A tribute to childhood in Saudi Arabia

After a very tiring night with a bawling baby who had fever,I was roused from my dolphin eye slumber( partially awake is what I mean) on the couch,when my nose caught a whiff of green mangoes. 

**Unripe green mangoes??? Where is it coming from?? Is that the room freshener or maybe it’s smoke which smells like the green mangoes?? Maybe I’m in a garden.. Maybe…It’s time to wakey wakey**

I see mum, sitting on the brown teakwood chair with a big basket of green mangoes kept on the table. The sun rays kiss her red coloured hair through the glass window,I see a clandestine bunch of sprouting white hair too. Though she budges when she sees me,clearly she doesn’t care much about the sharp sun rays hurting her eyes. She winces but yet her eyes twinkle and she says ” Yeh dekho, kairee. Aaj Maine bazaar me liye, 2 kairi 10 rupiye mein miley” ( Look what I got, green mangoes. Bought them at the market,2 green mangoes at 10 rupees) 

She shows to me a few dozen of the green mangoes. When I ask her why do we need so many? She just innocently reaffirms to me that it’s a big part of her childhood. Green mangoes reminds her of Nan,her friends,her dresses,her house,etc.. I find it quite hard to digest,that a humble green mango can do that much.

Then I sit down and mull over what food brings childhood memories back to me. The first thing that I think of is ” Chapli kebob”. Just contemplating about it,I find myself smiling. Those streets,the yellow school buses,the boutique nearby,Meena Bazar,Pakistani School,Tawftans,our white Buick,a man dressed in white shalwar,the big huge tawaa( girdle,frying pan),the tak tak tak of his Flathead metal spoon hitting the tawaa and white tunic men..

Yes,green unripe mangoes and Chapli kebobs do bring back memories.

Off I went to relive those memories, during the time my son caught a few winks under the influence of paracetamol and ibuprofen.

A recipe for maybe not the ” THE MOST” yummiest,but certainly ” THE MOST” closest to my heart ” Chapli kebobs” :

Chapli kebobs 🍖🍗


The kairi symbolises mums memories

  • 500 gms of mutton/chicken mince ( the recipe traditionally calls for beef,but as I don’t eat it,I use only chicken.. But feel free to use mutton or any meat of your choice).
  • 1 Tbsp of ginger garlic paste.
  • 2 medium sized white onions, 1 sliced and 1 cubed.
  • 1 large tomato grilled with olive oil. ( you can use just raw tomatoes,but grilled ones impart more flavour).
  • 1/2 cup of spring onions,diced very finely.
  • 4 tsp of roasted whole coriander seeds just crushed lightly or just given a 5 second whip in the grinder.( make sure that you don’t end up grinding it too fine,we need that coarseness,so characteristic of Chapli kabobs).
  • 1 tsp of the secret garam masala
  • 1 egg stirred well with 2 drops of soya sauce( gives more flavour to egg,just 2 drops,not anymore).
  • 1 tbsp of gram flour for binding.
  • 1 tsp of almond meal.
  • 2 or 3 green chillies chopped fine
  • 1 tsp of cumin powder
  • 2 tsps of black pepper powder
  • A few sprigs of mint,finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup of coriander/cilantro leaves.
  • 1 tsp of red chilli powder.
  • Salt as per taste 

Method of preparation:

First,let me tell you that there are a lot of easy peasy ways of making Chapli kebobs,my version is a tad bit more complicated,but the end results are just amazing. If you’re in for a little hard work please go ahead,you won’t be disappointed. 

  • Knead all the ingredients along with the mince,except for the sliced onion and the tomato and keep it aside for 20 minutes or so.
  • Take some oil in a frying pan and fry the sliced onion till its crisp golden brown. Leave the onions to cool and crush the onion with bare hands later. Keep the oil aside.( I,usually keep fried onions handy or do it much before I start making Chapli kebob and always reserve the onion flavoured oil)
  • Grill tomato with olive oil and salt. Let it cool, now finely chop it.
  • After 20 minutes,add the crushed onion,the leftover oil and grilled tomato to the mixture and knead well again.
  • Shape the mixture into flat circles.Usually the kebobs are as big as your palm,but I like to keep them small almost nugget sized. That way,I’m controlling my portions.
  • Arrange them on a plate and stick it into the freezer for atleast an hour.  
    before going into the freezer
  • Deep fry them in a skillet till they are done well. They should turn a deep brown,that’s when you know they are done.
  • Garnish with some coriander and lemon juice.

This is how they oughta look after frying.




9 thoughts on “Chapli kebob.. A tribute to childhood in Saudi Arabia

  1. They are simply the best I love them
    My mum makes handi kebab, my goodness out of the world 🙂
    I loved the post, childhood is always very refreshing part of life

    Liked by 1 person

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