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Chapli Kabab Recipe

The Best Chapli Kabab

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A Chapli Kabab recipe that's simple and easy to make yet tastes like it's from an Afghan or Pakistani restaurant. This recipe includes tips on how to get them crisp and juicy without breaking or falling apart. Tested to perfection!
Cuisine Afghani, Pakistani
Diet Gluten Free, Halal
Keyword Chapli Kabab, Chapli Kebab
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 10 Chapli Kababs
Calories 141
Cost $10


  • Skillet (preferably cast iron but any will do)
  • Large Spatula (for turning the kababs)
  • Spice Grinder or Food Processor (for roughly crushing spices)


  • 3 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • ¼ tsp carom seeds - ajwain optional - use if you have it
  • 1.5-2 tbsp dried pomegranate seeds anardana - See Note 1
  • 3 tbsp corn flour (makai ka atta) or gram flour (besan)
  • 1 lb ground beef 20% fat – not lean
  • 1/2 medium to large red onion very finely chopped – may use pulse function of food processor for this
  • 2 green onions (scallions) both white & green parts, finely chopped
  • 2-4 small green chili peppers (such as Thai/Bird's Eye Chili or Serrano) finely chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves finely chopped or crushed
  • ½-3/4 inch ginger finely chopped or crushed
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves (fresh coriander) finely chopped
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes plus more to taste
  • 1/4 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ tsp kosher salt or to taste
  • 1 egg whisked
  • 1 small Roma tomato deseeded and very finely diced – discard excess pulp/juices - See Note 2
  • neutral oil for frying



  • Heat a small to medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and carom seeds (if using). Toast, stirring and shaking the skillet often, for 3-4 minutes. The seeds will deepen in color and become highly aromatic. Remove from heat and transfer to a spice grinder, food processor, or mortar and pestle. Add pomegranate seeds to the spice grinder. Pulse to roughly grind 4-5 times (you don’t want a fine powder, just roughly crushed up seeds).
    Skillet of coriander seeds, cumin seeds and carom seeds beside a picture of these whole spices grinded in a spice grinder.
  • In the same skillet over medium heat, add the corn flour or chickpea flour. Toast until it deepens in color and smells toasty (~4-5 minutes). Turn off the heat and allow to cool.
    Toasted gram flour (besan) in a pan with a spatula.
  • In a medium bowl, add the ground beef along with the remaining ingredients (ground coriander mixture, toasted corn flour, red onion, green onion, green chili pepper, cilantro, garlic, ginger, red chili flakes, red chili powder, black pepper, salt, egg, and tomatoes (if using)).
    Ingredients for Chapli Kabab combined in a bowl ready to be mixed.
  • Using gloved hands (try not to use bare hands or the green chili may 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 2-3 minutes.) The mixture should be homogenous instead of crumbly. Cover and set aside or refrigerate up to 24 hours.
    Chapli Kabab mixture ready to be formed into patties.
  • Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat. Add enough oil to generously cover the bottom of the skillet.
  • To test a piece for taste, place a piece of the beef mixture on the pan to cook, turning over as needed. Taste and adjust salt and seasoning if desired.
  • Using oiled hands, take around 1/4 cup heaped (~90g) of the meat and form into a hearty round shape.
    Chapli Kabab Patties on parchment paper ready to be fried.

Option 1 -

  • Place the round ball on the hot cast iron and use the flat part of a sturdy spatula to press it down until it is 4.5 inches in diameter and no more than 1/3-inch/¾-cm thick.

Option 2 –

  • Use your hands to shape the patties until they’re 4.5 inches in diameter and no more than 1/3-inch/¾-cm thick. Place on hot pan.
  • Use a spoon or small spatula to flatten and spread (uneven sides add character!). Fry for 1 ½ to 2 minutes on each side, using your spatula or a spoon to push oil on top of the kabab. Do not overcook. You want it crispy and charred on the outside and just cooked on the inside. (Internal temp 160°F/71°C)
  • Flip over by lifting the kabab using a large spatula and small spatula to hold it in place (see video!). Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. If the mixture is not binding well enough, add 1 tbsp of corn flour or gram flour. Fry remaining kababs, replacing the oil if it starts to darken.
    Frying Chapli Kabab in a cast iron skillet.
  • Garnish with a sprinkle of ground coriander and cilantro. Serve immediately with mint raita and lemon on the side.
    Chapli Kabab on a platter with naan, rice, salad, and raita on the side.



Note 1: Dried Pomegranate seeds (Anardana): These are a key ingredient that help make Chapli Kabab..well..Chapli Kabab. They add a slight tang and crunch. I love adding the full 2 tablespoons (more than most recipes!) but you can decrease to 1 tablespoon to make them more subtle.
  • If you positively don't like the crunch, a great substitute is 2-3 teaspoons of pomegranate powder or even pomegranate molasses.
Note 2: Tomatoes: Use a firm, not too ripe tomato. I considered making the tomato optional because my favorite restaurants don't include them. I'm assuming one of the reasons is that they add too much moisture and can cause breakage. That's why it's best to finely chop them and drain of any moisture before adding. If storing these in the fridge, try adding the tomatoes right before frying.
Nutrition Facts are per Kabab, assuming 10 Kababs (not including oil).


Calories: 141kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 49mg | Sodium: 392mg | Potassium: 202mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 220IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 2mg