Kebabs consist of cubed or ground meat and various other accompaniments according to the specific recipe. Although the most well known kebabs are typically cooked on a skewer over a fire, some kebab dishes are baked in an oven, fried in oil or prepared in a sauce and they become Koftas! (Ground meat patties)
The traditional meat for kebabs is most often lamb but regional recipes may include beef, chicken, goat or fish. I will also have a delicious Fish Kebab recipe added soon.
Mizrachi (Middle Eastern) Jews brought various types of grilled meat dishes from their native Middle Eastern countries to Israel, where they are an essential part of the cuisine. Among the most popular are skewers of elongated spiced ground meat, called Kabab which have become a staple dish of meat in homes and restaurants alongside the Shishlik or as they are known in other countries Shish Kebabs (cubed meat on skewers).
My mother made the most delicious Kebabs which were round and slightly flat or long shaped and to this day I have not tasted any as delicious as hers were! She created the perfect mix of Lamb and Beef to develop the best tasting Kebabs. I have recreated them to include a secret ingredient and a tip or two for making them moist on the inside and crispy on the outside.
Now here comes the part that you can decide on how you prefer to cook them. Fry them or bake them. Truthfully I used to always fry them, delicious!! But I ran out of time last Hanukkah and had enough of frying doughnuts and latkes so I decided to bake them!
I remember my mother doing that in later years and the kebabs were amazing. So, I tried that and....they came out amazing. Moist on the inside and crunchy on the outside. You can eat them one by one right off the platter. Warning: they are addictive!
So here's the two methods I have updated to this recipe.
One secret tip is to fry them in deeper oil, this way they come out completely dry. If you fry them in little oil they absorb it fast and you have to keep adding more oil or the kebabs or meat patties will burn.
One more thing, I grind all my own meat, I like to know exactly what I am getting. Of course you can have your butcher grind anything to your liking.
Here are the ingredients you'll need:
1lb ground lamb (I use lean leg of lamb)
½ lb ground beef (I use a mix of ¼lb chuck steak and ¼lb sirloin steak)
or 1½ lbs of lean beef
1 large onion chopped
1 medium potato pealed and cut into medium chunks
½ cup of breadcrumbs
1 cup cilantro chopped (can be parsley or a mix of both)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons oil for sautéing onion
Canola oil for frying kebabs
Put cut up peeled potato, into a pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Simmer until potato is soft enough to mash. This is the secret ingredient. It adds an amazing texture to the kebabs. Drain well when ready and mash with a fork. Set aside to cool.
Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large round deep frying pan and sauté onions until golden and translucent. Let cool. You don't want to add warm ingredients to the following mix or it will slightly cook your meat.
This the second secret tip. Many cooks add raw chopped onions to meat balls or patties. I find that sautéing them first gives the kebabs a much more moist and better flavor.
In a large bowl, add all of the ground meat together with the other ingredients and mix well.I use my hands, I like to feel the ingredients completely blending together. It is actually quicker to mix it this way than to use a wooden spoon.
Cover with Saran Wrap and place in refrigerator for about 30 minutes. I've mixed this the night before and left it in the fridge until I was ready to cook the kebabs. It's perfectly ok to do this.
Wet hands slightly and form patties, I like them not too thick and a little flattened. I form all my patties first and lay them on a flat surface before starting to fry them so that they finish cooking at around the same time.
In the same large deep frying pan you used for your onions, fill pan to half way up with Canola oil. Bring to a fairly high heat. Drop patties in, don't croud your pan too much. Fry for about 4 minutes turning them over gently with a fork when they look a little browned.
Take them out of the oil carefully and lay them on a large plate covered with kitchen paper to absorb the oil. These kebabs do not retain any of the oil and come out so delicious. Soft inside and crispy on the outside.
Follow the exact same recipe and heat the oven to 375 degrees.
Cover a flat baking pan with parchment paper and lay the patties at least one inch apart. I do not brush any oil on them I just put them in the oven for 30 minutes and they're done! No mess of frying oil, less clean up. Ready to deliver to family in tin foil pans!
Serve with rice and an Israeli Salad! In my house I have to hide them before dinner, they get eaten just by themselves with nothing added!