This tender lamb kebab is famed for its melt-in-the-mouth texture, the result of including a small amount of raw papaya or pineapple to tenderise the meat. Once this was essential to mask the poor quality for the meat used, but, today, with good-quality meat, this recipe lets you appreciate the fine fixture. When you mince the meat three times you have a really tender version, but if you mince it ten more times, you have a paste so fine you can simply serve it on brioche!
2 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
500g lean boneless leg of lamb, minced at least 3 times
3 tablespoons Ginger and Garlic paste
4 tablespoons dried-friend onions
2 tablespoons fried cashew paste
1 1/2 tablespoons red chilli powder
A pinch of saffron, soaked in 2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1tablespoon of pureed or pounded pineapple (or 1 tablespoon pineapple juice)
4 drops of rose water or kewra water
1 large banana leaf, cut into 15-20cm long strips
For the spice mix
4 green cardamom pods
Seeds of 1 black cardamom pod
1 blade of mace
1/8 nutmeg, pounded
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, roasted
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
To make the spice mix, set aside 6 cloves and transfer the remainder to a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Add the remaining ingredients and grind into a fine powder, then set aside.
Heat half the ghee or vegetable oil in a small pan, and when it reaches smoking point add the 6 reserved cloves. Once they have started to smoke, after about 30 seconds, remove the pan from the heat and set aside for the ghee to cool.
Put the minced meat in a mixing bowl and add the spice mix and all the remaining ingredients, except the rosewater and banana leaf, and mix together well. Add the clove-infused oil, but not the cloves, and mix together again. Chill the mixture for 10 minutes.
Take the chilled mince out of the fridge, add the remaining tablespoon of ghee and the rosewater and mix together thoroughly. Return the mixture to the fridge for 15 minutes.
Heat the banana leaf strips in a hot heavy-based frying pan, or in the microwave for 30 seconds, until they are soft and pliable.
Shape the minced meat into 12 equal patties, each about 4cm in diameter. Wrap each patty in a piece of banana leaf and brush with oil. Grill over a hot barbecue for 2-3 minutes on each side, starting with the joint side down.
Alternatively, heat 2 tablespoons of ghee or vegetable oil in a heavy-based frying pan. Add the patties and cook over a low heat for 1-2 minutes on each side, until they are well cooked. Remove them from the pan and drain well on kitchen paper.