Ramadan

Spicy Beef Kebab Rolls

July  5, 2021
5 Stars
Photo by Mark Weinberg Prop Stylist: Ali Slagle Food Stylist: Sam Seneviratne
Author Notes

Kebab rolls are a classic snack popular in India and Pakistan and eaten year-round, especially often during the month of Ramadan. These ultra-convenient and portable kebab rolls are perfect for iftar on the go, and are often enjoyed at late-night gatherings for suhoor, the predawn meal. Recipes differ household to household, but the version enjoyed most by my family uses fatty ground beef (anywhere between 15 and 20 percent fat will work well) combined with spices, onions, chiles, and herbs, making for an aromatic and tender kebab that can be served on its own, or, my preference, tightly wrapped in chapati and served with some tamarind chutney and cilantro chutney.

This recipe makes 10 kebabs, which typically feeds around five people if you’re using one kebab per 6- to 7-inch chapati, but you can easily double, triple, or quadruple the amounts here. To make them ahead: Freeze the uncooked kebabs in an airtight container between sheets of wax paper for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to use them, thaw them in the refrigerator the night before, then resume the cooking process.

I call for bird’s-eye chiles, but, in a pinch, feel free to substitute a jalapeño or any hot chile pepper you like. If you’re using a larger chile, make sure to roughly chop it to keep things manageable for your mortar and pestle or food processor. While cilantro is most commonly used for these kebabs, if you absolutely cannot bear the thought of using it, feel free to swap in parsley or mint.
Zaynab Issa

  • Prep time 40 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • makes 10
Ingredients
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, unpeeled and roughly chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves and stems
  • 1 to 2 green bird’s-eye chiles, depending on your heat tolerance
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from about 1/2 lemon)
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound ground beef (about 85% lean)
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Chapati or naan, warmed, for serving
  • Tamarind chutney (see headnote for recipe link)
  • Cilantro chutney (see headnote for recipe link) or mint chutney
  • 2 to 3 cups thinly sliced green cabbage or romaine lettuce, for serving
  • 1 red or yellow onion, halved and sliced into half-moons, for serving
  • 1 large carrot, cut into 3-inch-long matchsticks, for serving
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Line a sheet pan with foil and heat the broiler on high (550°F) with a rack placed around 5 inches from the heat source.
  2. Add the garlic, ginger, salt, cilantro, chiles, lemon juice, and olive oil to a mortar and pestle or food processor and crush or blitz to make an aromatic and textured paste (you’ll have about 1/4 cup). Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, add the ground beef, diced onion, egg, bread crumbs, garam masala, ground cumin, and ground coriander. Add the cilantro paste and mix using your hands or a rubber spatula until well combined and homogeneous, but no need to work it further.
  4. Using a 2 1/2-ounce cookie scoop or a 1/3-cup measure, scoop out portions of the beef mixture and roll them into logs about 7 inches long (they’ll shrink while they cook), then place them on the prepared sheet pan.
  5. Broil for 15 to 20 minutes, flipping halfway through, until well browned and cooked through. (The kebabs should reach an internal temperature of at least 160°F.)
  6. To assemble a kebab roll: Place 1 chapati or half a piece of naan onto a plate, followed by 1 kebab in the center, about a teaspoon of tamarind chutney, about a teaspoon of cilantro or mint chutney, and a small handful of the cabbage or lettuce, sliced onion, and carrot. Tuck the bottom up to secure and roll tightly.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

1 Review

ASKumaran July 5, 2021
Very easy and tasty kebabs. I used a Serrano pepper because it’s what I had on hand. My toddler enjoyed these as well. I’ll be making again!