Easy Oven-Baked Pakistani Seekh Kabob (Ground Beef Skewers)
Learn how to make Pakistani Seekh Kabob in your oven! Pakistani seekh kabob is usually made of ground beef and grilled. This recipe makes a healthier, fuss-free, baked version.
“Great recipe – it reminded me of the kebabs I used to enjoy on the streets of Calcutta and Bangalore.”Douglas
What are Seekh Kabob?
A little Google-fueled research and I discovered that the word ‘seekh’ is Persian for skewered meat and ‘kabob’ literally means meat cooked over a charcoal fire. So the seekh kabob is skewered meat cooked over a charcoal fire. Admittedly, I created the hollows of my kabobs using chopsticks and my ‘charcoal fire’ is precisely 450 degrees Farenheight in the oven.
I try to make modern South Asian cooking less fussy (skipping the Mughal-level opulence) and more an attempt to keep our grip on the depth of flavors that make it special.
Pakistani-style seekh kabobs are perked up with onions, garlic, ginger, green chili peppers and garnished with fresh cilantro, mint, and spices.
How to make Baked Pakistani Seekh Kabob
Though these are baked, I like to pan-sear them after baking. You could also use a skillet grill. This gives them that irresistible extra oomph and color.
Tea for Turmeric Tips on how to make Baked Pakistani Seekh Kabobs
For this recipe, I recommend using regular ground beef (not lean). This will help your kabobs stay tender and moist because of the extra fat.
I don’t know if it’s “normal” to rinse your meat (some say it’s unsafe), but I sometimes give my meat a little rinse if I think it needs it. I’ve tried making these kabobs without rinsing the beef, and it makes them easier to handle. I’d say if you normally rinse your meat, then go for it. Just don’t overdo the rinsing and make sure to squeeze out any excess water.
High five! I didn’t have skewers either. I just used chopsticks to shape them. Shaping them can be tricky at first, but just work with it gently and swiftly. I’m not too meticulous about the shape, but feel free to make them longer, thinner, or more hollow as desired.
Yogurt raita or my green chutney (or any other chutney) are ideal accompaniments to these kabobs. Its cool creaminess contrasts with the intense, meaty flavor of the beef. Naan, rice, and crunchy vegetables also go wonderfully with these.
How to freeze Baked Pakistani Seekh Kabobs
After shaping, the kabobs can be frozen. The day you want to bake the Pakistani Seekh Kabobs, allow them to thaw on the countertop and then bake before guests arrive. Right before the guests arrive, you can sear them!
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If you like this, I recommend:
Pan-Fried Pakora + Simple Green Chutney (which goes wonderfully with these kabobs)
Update: As of July 7, 2021, I have improved and updated the recipe. I removed unnecessary ingredients, enhanced aromatics, and increased the spices and salt. It definitely needed more salt!
Easy Oven-Baked Pakistani Seekh Kabob (Ground Beef Skewers)
- 2 tsp coriander seeds
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 small to medium (~75-85 g) yellow onion, roughly chopped
- 4 small (5 g) green chili peppers such as Thai Chili, sliced
- 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
- 2 tbsp mint leaves
- 1 lb (454 g) ground beef (20% fat – not lean)
- 2 1/8 tsp kosher salt , or 1 1/2 tsp sea salt/table salt
- 1 tbsp (6 garlic cloves) crushed garlic
- 3/4 tbsp crushed ginger
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
- 1 tsp garam masala, Use up to 2 if using homemade garam masala, which is typically milder than store-bought
- 1 tsp papaya paste, optional – for tender kebabs
- 2 tbsp oil or melted butter (for searing), or as needed
- Kabab Skewers, chopsticks, or wide straws
- Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and coriander seeds. Toast, stirring and shaking the skillet often, for 2-3 minutes. The seeds will deepen in color and become highly aromatic. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Then use a spice grinder or mortar and pestle to grind to a powder. Set aside.
- Strain and pat dry any excess moisture from the ground beef. The kebab mixture should be as dry as possible to prevent any breaking. Place in a large bowl.
- Add the onion, cilantro, mint, and green chili peppers to a food processor. Using the pulse function, finely chop (but not blend) them to a coarse mixture (~17 pulses). You may need to pause and scrape down the sides in between. Remove the onion mixture, squeeze out the excess moisture between your hands, and add to the beef.
- Add the salt, garlic, ginger, all spices, and papaya paste (if using). Mix well.
- Using gloved hands (do not use bare hands or the green chili will sting), knead for 3-4 minutes, until you begin to see a lacy,stringy texture (resha) of the meat. (Alternatively, you can use the paddle attachment of a food processor and knead on medium speed for 2 minutes.) The mixture should be homogenous and no longer be crumbly.
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, up to overnight.
- To test a piece for taste, heat a small pan over medium-high heat. Add a small amount of oil and place a piece of the beef mixture on the pan to cook, turning over as needed. Taste and adjust salt and seasoning if desired.
- Take around 1/4 cup of the meat and form into a hearty round shape. Run the kebab skewers through the meat and use your hands to form a sausage-like shape around the skewer. It should come to around 5 inches long. If you don't have skewers, use chopsticks or a large smoothie straw to help shape them.
- Slide the kabobs onto the baking sheet. If you used skewers, keep the kababs on them. Brush with oil or butter, if desired. Bake for 8-10 minutes, turning them over midway. Remove from oven.
- Preheat your broiler on High (550°F/287°C). Set the oven rack so that your kebabs will be as close as possible to the heat source. Place the kababs on the top rack and broil for 1-2 minutes. Then turn and broil for another 1-2 minutes. (See Note)