The origin of kebab may lie in the short supply of cooking fuel in the Middle East, which made the cooking of large foods difficult, while urban economies made it easy to obtain small cuts of meat at a butcher's shop.The phrase is essentially Persian in origin and Arabic tradition has it that the dish was invented by medieval soldiers who used their swords to grill meat over open-field fires.
The version I am showing here, is the Kathi or Chicken Tikka Kebab. Cooked in a tandoor ( a large clay oven) Kathi kebab is one of the most famous tandoori dishes, besides Tandoori Chicken ( which I will illustrate in another recipe) which has made tandoori cuisine famous worldwide. Made with beef, chicken or lamb meat, it is mostly prepared with a mix of spices, and cooked in a tandoor with skewers. The radiant heat from the tandoor slowly cooks the meat and due to the lack of direct heat from the fire, the juices remain inside while adding flavour, keeping the meat's moisture intact. It is usually served with rice, or a variety of Indian breads, along with onions and mint/cilantro sauce. Since I do not own a tandoor, I cooked mine on a gas grill with wonderful results. I have also tried the charcoal grill, which adds wonderful flavor, but is time consuming. In a pinch, you can bake them in an oven too.
1 lb. boneless chicken cut into 1.5 inch cubes
2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
2 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp roasted cumin powder
1/4 tsp black pepper powder
1/2 cup curd
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp. curry powder or garam masala
Salt to taste
2 tbsp canola or vegetable oil
6 black pepper - ground
5 green cardamom,coarsely ground
Juice of 2 limes
Mix ginger and garlic paste, 1 tbsp oil, 1 tbsp lime juice and all of the spices in yogurt and marinate the meat for at least 2 hours to overnight.
Baste the the meat with some oil and arrange the pieces on skewers.
Roast, grill on a charcoal or gas grill until cooked through, or bake for 15-25 minutes, turning from time to time.
Now squeeze some lime juice and serve hot with sliced onion ( raw or grilled) green cilantro chutney and buttered basmati rice.
AUTHORS NOTE:If you are using wooden skewers, make sure that you soak them for at least an hour before grilling to prevent them from catching fire. Try rolling in wraps, using pita bread or tortillas - add some lettuce, tomato slices and mayo ( or any sauce of your choice) and you can have a wonderful lunch with the leftovers!