Spiced Lamb Kebabs with Fresh Herbs

For the one-year anniversary of her company, Diaspora Co., Sana Javeri Kadri and her supporters prepared a turmeric-spiced banquet. You can buy her ruddy, flavorful ground turmeric online at diasporaco.com. In this recipe, aromatic lamb and creamy chickpeas soften into a crispy, moist patty once cooked. Look for chana dal and asafoetida at local Indian grocers or online.“These pan-fried lamb and chickpea patties are an ode to my Gujarati Muslim heritage on my father’s side,” Javeri Kadri says. They’re stuffed with onions and herbs, then cooked and served with big scoops of fresh green chutney and yogurt. To make them ahead of time, prepare the kebabs through step 4, then freeze for up to 1 month, thawing fully before proceeding. You can find chana dal and asafoetida powder in Indian markets or online.

Spiced Lamb Kebabs With Fresh Herbs
Photo: Eva Kolenko
Active Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
1 hr 25 mins


  • 1 pound ground lamb

  • 1 cup dried chana dal (split chickpeas)

  • 1 cup water

  • 3 tablespoons ghee, divided

  • 1 teaspoon finely grated garlic (about 1 large garlic clove)

  • 1 teaspoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger (from 1 [1/2-inch] piece)

  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder

  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds

  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 1/4 teaspoon asafoetida powder

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, divided

  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

  • 2 serrano chiles, stemmed and finely chopped

  • 2/3 cup packed fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

  • 1/3 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped

  • Plain whole-milk yogurt

  • Spicy Green Chutney


  1. Stir together lamb, chana dal, and 1 cup water in a 6-quart programmable electric pressure cooker (such as an Instant Pot). Close and lock lid. Turn steam release handle to “Sealing” position. Press “Manual,” select “High Pressure,” and program 8 minutes pressure-cooking time. When cooking time and time for float valve to drop are complete, turn pressure cooker off. Carefully open using the natural pressure release.

  2. Heat 1 tablespoon ghee in a small saucepan over low. Add garlic, ginger, chile powder, coriander, cumin seeds, turmeric, and asafoetida powder; stir with a spatula to combine. Cook until fragrant, about 20 seconds; transfer mixture to a food processor. Add cooked lamb mixture and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt; process until texture is mostly smooth, about 2 minutes, stopping to stir and scrape down sides as needed. Transfer mixture to a large bowl, and cover with plastic wrap until ready to use.

  3. Stir together onion, chiles, mint, cilantro, and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in a medium bowl.

  4. Shape lamb mixture into 16 (3-inch-wide) patties (about 3 tablespoons each). Make a 2-inch-wide, 1/2-inch-deep circular indentation in center of each patty. Place 1 heaping teaspoon onion mixture in center of each patty. Press lamb mixture together, sealing filling inside, and shape into a ball. Flatten slightly into a 3/4-inch-thick patty. Place patties on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and chill at least 30 minutes or up to 1 day. (Alternatively, freeze patties on a baking sheet. Transfer frozen patties to ziplock plastic freezer bags, and freeze up to 1 month. Let thaw completely in refrigerator before cooking.)

  5. Working in 3 batches, add 2 teaspoons ghee to a large nonstick skillet. Heat over high until bubbling but not smoking. Add 6 patties, and cook until fully browned on one side, 2 minutes to 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Flip and cook until browned, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a platter lined with paper towels to drain slightly. Serve with yogurt and green chutney.


To make without a pressure cooker, stir together lamb, chana dal, and 3 cups water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high, reduce heat to low, and simmer until dal is just tender, about 40 minutes. Drain well. Proceed with recipe in step 2.

Related Articles