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A formal spread in any Nawabi banquet of a nawab in Awadhwas considered incomplete without the inclusion of the Shami Kabab an important constituent of the ‘Tora’ (presentation of food). It would be no exaggeration to say that it was the ‘National’ kabab of Awadh. Made from mince meat, the kababs are round patties,  filled with spicy surprises and the tangy ‘kairy’ or raw green mango. So ideally the best time of the year to have these kababs is round the month of May when the fruit of the mango tree is in its infancy. In other seasons the ‘kairi can be substituted with ‘kamrakh’ or ‘karonda’ both having  a tart flavour reminiscent of the raw mango. If none of these are available then one can make do with the juice of lime squeezed into the mince paste. The texture of kabab is extremely soft and simply melts in the mouth.


Minced meat                          500 gms  


Bengal gram                           125 gms

Ginger                                     ½”

Garlic                                      5 cloves

Red chillies                             4

Black pepper                          4

Brown cardamom                   4

Cinnamon                               1 tsp

Salt                                          to taste

Water                                      ½ litre approx.


Garam masala                        1 tsp

Mace powder                         ½ tsp

Green cardamom powder       ½ tsp

Kewra water                           1 tsp

Mitha ittr                                2 drops


Mint leaves                            50 gms

Green chillies                         10

Ginger                                     1”

Onions                                    3 medium sized

Kairi (raw mango)                   125 gms

Salt                                          ¼ tsp

Ghee                                       250 gms

Clean the minced meat and keep aside. Chop the ginger and extract the juice of the garlic. Now place a deep vessel or ‘patili’ on the fire and put in all the ingredients of masala’A’. Cover and cook till the grains of the pulse are done. Then uncover and keep stirring till the water evaporates and the contents of the patili start sticking to the sides. Remove from the fire and grind to a very fine paste. It is important that there should be no coarse grains in the paste. Then mix ingredients of masala ‘B’ and blend well. Divide the mince paste into approximately sixteen portions and keep aside. For the filling, wash and finely chop the mint leaves, green chillies and onions. Also peel and finely chop the raw mango, taking care to remove the seed. Carve out fine slivers of ginger. Add salt and mix well using your fingers. Now take each ball and stuff it with the mixture and gently shape into patties. Then grease a mahi tawa or griddle with about 50 gms. Of ghee and place the kababs in it. Then put on very slow flame. Melt the rest of the ghee and pour on the kababs evenly. When the sides of the kababs appear to be of light brown colour , gently turn to a golden brown colour. Serve hot with fresh mint chutney and roomali roti or warqui paratha.