Kebabs consist of cubed or ground meat and various other accompaniments according to the specific recipe. Although 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 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 flat shaped and to this day I have not tasted any as good as hers was! 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.
I am frying these Kebabs in oil. You can bake them instead, I just find them more tender and less dry cooked this way but you can decide how you prefer to cook them. 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)
1 large onion chopped
1 medium potato pealed and cut into large 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 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 better flavor.
In a large bowl, add both types of ground meat and all 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 flat. 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 onto 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.
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!