Do you seekh kebab?
Seldom has there been a word so confusing as ‘kebab’. The word will evoke different meanings and memories depending on wear one is from - but one thing is common throughout most: kebabs are incredibly delicious.
Usually kebabs are meat or chicken based dishes, spiced and cooked on skewers, often on coals, over a flame or grilled. It must be kept in mind that the kebabs found in your local late-night takeaway shop are usually either shish kebabs or döner kebabs. These originate from the Levant and Turkey and are cooked on a slow spinning rotisserie. Wikipedia lists at least 32 different varieties of the kebab, each with a different local spin (no pun intended).
The kebabs we have at Zabardast are seekh kebabs of the Indian or Pakistani variety. Meat or chicken is minced and mixed up with traditional spices and then carefully wrapped on skewers.
They are then grilled on these skewers until the meat is the perfect balance of soft on the inside and slightly crispy on the outside. They are different from koftas not just in shape and size but also in that the meat is crispier in a kebab and the spices more evenly spread out.
The infamous Moroccan explorer Ibn Battuta who travelled the world in the Middle Ages has written about the grilled meaty kebab being a key part of the daily diet of Indian royalty as far back as 1200 A.D (not necessary on skewers) It was the Mughals who adapted it into the spicy, tender seekh kebab we have today by adding spices and dried fruits to them. The method of cooking the kebabs on skewers originally came from Arabia. The Mughals put their own flavoursome spin on it much later.
The history of the kebab dates far and wide - and way back - and is perfect when topped with refreshing mint yoghurt and coriander chutney, an wrapped in a handmade wholewheat paratha! Try and let us know what you think!
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