Shami kabab is a very popular and delicious Awadhi dish made from minced meat, lentils and spices. In this post I have shared a vegetarian and plant based version of shami kebab made with black chickpeas, gram flour, onions, spices and herbs. They are crisp, succulent and tasty served with a side of green chutney, lemon wedges and onion slices.
I make these shami kebab usually with chana dal (bengal gram) or whole black chickpeas (kala chana). The recipe posted here has been made with black chickpeas. If you have presoaked chickpeas handy, then making these kala chana kabab is a breeze.
Now these veg shammi kabab are not melt in the mouth like the traditional version. That much I can tell you, but they are crispy and delicious.
They are excellent as starters and even team up well with bread in a sandwich, with a bun in a burger and with Pita Bread too. They are quite filling so you can have them for breakfast or brunch also or as an evening snack. This delicious shami kebab also makes for a good party snack or starter.
There are a variety of kabab made in Indian cuisine. If you are fond of kabab then I have shared a few more vegetarian variations on the blog like:
These shami kabab are shaped into small patties and then shallow fried. For a more healthier version you can bake or air fry them.
You can serve them hot or warm, with onion-mint-lime salad or mint-yogurt chutney that is usually served with tandoori snacks.
How to make Shami Kabab
A) soaking and pressure cooking the chickpeas:
1. Rinse 1 cup dried black chickpeas (kala chana) a couple of times in fresh water. Then in a bowl soak them in enough water overnight or for 8 to 9 hours.
Make sure to use fresh black chickpeas that are in their shelf period. The aged black chickpeas will take a long time to cook and won’t taste so good.
2. Next day the black chickpeas will double in size as seen in the below photo.
3. Drain all the water.
4. In a stovetop pressure cooker add the soaked black chickpeas with 2 cups water. Also add ½ teaspoon salt.
Pressure cook the chickpeas for 10 to 15 minutes on medium heat or till they are thoroughly cooked and tender.
5. Let the pressure settle down in the cooker on its own. Then only open the lid of the pressure cooker.
Check whether black chickpeas are cooked or not. If not cooked well, then pressure cook again for some more time. Once chickpeas are cooked well then drain all the water and keep the cooked chickpeas aside.
Do make sure that all the water is drained well. Any water or liquid will make the mixture pasty and you won’t be able to easily shape the kabab.
Making shami kabab mixture
7. In a large bowl or wide plate, add the chickpeas and mash them with a wooden spoon or a blender or with your hands.
8. Just make a semi coarse mixture and not too smooth.
9. Measure and keep all the ingredients ready.
10. To the semi coarse chickpea mixture, add 1 medium-sized onion (finely chopped) and 1 green chili (finely chopped).
11. Next add the following ingredients:
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon red chili powder
- ½ teaspoon garam masala powder
- salt as required
12. Also add 3 to 4 tablespoons of gram flour (besan) and ½ tablespoon ginger paste.
14. Lastly add 1 tablespoon of chopped coriander leaves.
15. Stir and mix very well.
16. Make it into small round shaped kababs or patties as shown in the below photo.
Frying Shami Kebab
17. For shallow frying, heat oil as required in a pan or tawa on a medium heat. You can use any neutral-flavored oil with high smoke point.
I would not recommend to deep fry as these kabab are tender and fragile. So while deep frying they can fall apart in the oil.
18. When the oil becomes medium hot, then place the shami kebab in the pan or tawa or skillet. Begin to shallow fry these veg shammi kebab on medium heat.
TIP 1: When frying kabab, for testing, first fry one kabab in the oil. If it doesn’t break then you can safely fry the remaining kabab. If it does break, then add some more besan to the mixture and mix again.
TIP 2: You can also bake them with a drizzle of oil for a healthier version. You can also pan fry them with less oil.
19. Flip gently when one side is browned and fry the second side until golden brown. You can flip each shami kabab a couple of times for even browning. Fry till they are browned on both sides and crispy.
20. Once done, then place them on kitchen paper napkins to remove any extra oil. Shallow fry the remaining kabab in the same way. Add more oil if needed to fry the remaining batches.
21. Serve them hot or warm for best taste. While serving, garnish shammi kabab with 1 tablespoon chopped mint leaves or chopped coriander leaves.
You can serve them with onion-mint salad along with slices of lime and some mint chutney.
For a more filling snack, you can make sandwiches, Burger with these kababs. Use them as patty and top with your favorite fillings. You can also make a pita sandwich with hummus, tahini sauce and pickles.
If you are looking for more Snacks recipes then do check:
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Shami Kabab | Veg Shami Kebab
For pressure cooking black chickpeas
- 1 cup dried black chickpeas
- enough water for soaking black chickpeas
- 2 cups water or as required, for pressure cooking kala chana
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 medium sized onion, finely chopped or minced
- 1 green chili , finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon Coriander Powder
- ½ teaspoon red chili powder
- ½ teaspoon Garam Masala Powder
- salt as required
- 3 to 4 tablespoons gram flour (besan)
- ½ tablespoon ginger paste
- 1 tablespoon coriander leaves , chopped
- oil as required for frying the kababs
- 1 tablespoon chopped mint leaves or chopped coriander leaves
- First rinse black chickpeas a few times in fresh water.
- In a bowl soak the black chickpeas in enough water overnight or for 8 to 9 hours.
- Drain all the soaked water and then in a stovetop pressure cook the chickpeas with 2 cups water and ½ teaspoon salt for 10 to 15 minutes or till they are thoroughly cooked.
- Let the pressure settle down on its own in the cooker and then only open the lid.
- Check if the chickpeas are cooked well. If not cooked well, then pressure cook again for some more time.
- Then drain all the water very well. Do make sure that the chickpeas are dry and all the water is drained from them.
- In a large bowl or plate add the chickpeas and mash them with a wooden spoon or a blender or your hands.
- Just make a semi coarse mixture and not too smooth.
- Add the following ingredients – finely chopped onions, finely chopped green chili, coriander powder, red chili powder, garam masala powder, salt as required, gram flour, ginger paste and chopped coriander leaves.
- Stir and mix very well.
- Make into small round shaped kababs or patties.
Frying Shami Kebab
- Heat oil in a pan or skillet on a medium heat.
- Shallow fry the kabab in medium hot oil till crisp and browned on both sides.
- Once done, then drain the kababs on kitchen paper napkins to remove excess oil.
- You can also bake the kababs with a drizzle of oil for a healthier version.
- Garnish shammi kabab with mint leaves or coriander leaves. Serve these shami kebab hot with onion-mint salad along with slices of lime and some mint chutney or coriander chutney.
- You can also make the shammi kabab with chana dal or both chana dal and black chickpeas.
- When frying kabab, for testing first fry one kabab in the oil. If it doesn’t break then you can safely fry the remaining kababs. If it does break, then add some more chickpea flour or gram flour to the mixture. Mix again and test.
- Do not deep fry as they can break and fall apart while frying.
- Ensure that you drain the water from the cooked black chickpeas very well. Any water or liquid will make the mixture pasty and you won’t be able to easily shape the kabab.
- You can adjust the spices and seasonings according to your taste preferences.
- Instead of shallow frying you can also pan fry with less oil. Or for a more healthier version, you can bake or air fry these shami kabab. Brush some oil on them prior to baking or air frying.
- For pan frying you can use any neutral flavored oil with high smoking point.
- The approx nutrition info is for 1 shami kabab fried with ½ teaspoon of sunflower oil.
Nutrition Info (Approximate values)
This Shami Kabab post from the archives (July 2012) has been updated and republished on 22 October 2021.