Being a Mallu, the first time I heard of fish shaami kabab from my husband I was not too comfortable. Shaami kabab = garam masala and fish with garam masala was a definite no-no. Then once my mother-in-law served it to us on one of our annual -visits home and was I bowled!!! My mother-in-law is a fabulous cook and an absolute expert on the cuisine from eastern Uttar Pradesh. It’s sad that I get to spend very little time with her learning from her :-(.
About the fish kababs, what I have realized is - these kababs turn out good only if you use fresh water fish rather than sea fish. I tried it once with seer fish and the result was far from desirable. Today I made it with catla fish…took me a long time deboning it so it is always better to use fresh water fish with minimal bones; fish like cat fish or pungus are good options.
This is my mother-in-law’s recipe which I have tweaked a bit for my convenience but with no impact on the taste.
Fish Shaami Kabab
250 grams deboned and deskinned cooked fresh water fish,
2 ½ tbsp channa dal,
2 tsps red chilli powder,
1 ½ tsp garlic paste,
1 ½ tsp ginger paste,
1 ½ tsp garam masala powder,
1 ¼ tbsp roasted powdered poppy seeds,
1 ¼ tbsp roasted powdered cumin seeds,
Juice of half a lemon,
Salt to taste
1 small chopped onion,
6-8 mint leaves,
4 chopped green chillies,
1 tbsp oil,
Oil for shallow frying the kababs
Soak the channa dal for two hours and cook till soft. Drain and grind to a fine paste. Blend this with the deboned and deskinned fish, chilli powder, garlic paste, ginger paste, garam masala powder, powdered roasted poppy seeds, powdered roasted cumin seeds, salt and lemon juice to get a dough like consistency.
Heat 1 tbsp oil and sauté the onion, raisins, mint leaves and green chillies. Add some salt to taste. This will be the filling for the kabab.
Divide the fish dough and the filling into equal number of portions. Take one portion of the dough and flatten it on your palm, make a depression in the centre and place one portion of the filling in the depression and cover it up and form a flat cake. Make all kababs in the same manner.
Heat oil in a non-stick tawa and shallow fry the kababs till golden brown on both sides.
This is generally served with parathas but it can also be had as a starter.
To make mince meat shaami kababs, just substitute the fish with the mince meat. You can also make vegetarian shaami kababs by using soy nuggets, raw banana or whole masoor and follow the same method.
Mutton Shaami Kabab