What is the general reaction when someone mentions Chapli kabab, accompanied with fresh naan and a bowlful of cool yogurt? The ones familiar with it will undoubtedly feel their taste buds and olfactory senses sharpen in anticipation of this traditional spicy delicacy. Originally a part of Afghan cuisine, chapli kabab is an integral part of Pashtoon culture in Pakistan and has now spread to all corners of the country, transcending boundaries that were drawn due to linguistic and ethnic differences.
Before describing chapli kabab, we will first explore the origins of the main dish kabab.
Kabab is a wide variety of meat dishes originating from Persia and later adopted by the Middle East and Turkey and now popular throughout the world. Kabab is also known as kebap, kebob, kibob, kebhav etc. In English, Kabab generally refers more specifically to sheesh kabab served on the skewer or doner kabab served wrapped in bread with a salad and a dressing. Generally in Middle Eastern countries the kabab includes grilled, roasted and stewed dishes of large or small chunks of meat or even ground meat which is served on a plate in sandwiches. The traditional meat for kabab is lamb, but depending on local tastes and taboos, it may now be beef, goat, chicken, pork; fish and seafood; or even vegetarian foods like falafel or tofu. Like other ethnic foods brought by travelers, the kabab has become part of everyday cuisine in many countries around the globe.
Chapli kabab is a pattie made from beef mince and is one of the popular barbecue meals in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Chapli kabab is flat round in shape and is prepared with minced beef or lamb meat, green chillies, egg, fresh herbs like mint and coriander leaves and spices. These kababs are usually served with yoghurt sauce (raita), rice, salad and naan. Chapli kabab is a traditional dish from the Pakistani cuisine and is a spicy recipe. It is one of the most popular street food snacks. The juicy combinations of the Chaplu kabab are tempting and mouth watering. The word Chapli derives from the Pashto word Chaprikh which means flat. It is prepared flat and round and served with naan. The dish originates from Mardan (Takhtbhai) and Mansehra (Qalanderabad) regions of Pakistan. Mardan is famous for chapli kabab not only locally but also internationally. Umar Kabab at Mardan City, Daood and Farman Kabab from Takht Bai, Mayar Kabab from Mayar and Shankar Kabab are famous around the country in all seasons. In Mansehra, shinkiari and ichrean are very famous for chapli kabab.
As mentioned earlier, Chapli kabab is one of the traditional foods of Pashtoons in Pakistan and Afghanistan. One of the many places famous for this is Takht Bahai, which is also famous for the oldest relics of Gandhara civilization. It is situated on the road to Swat while going from Islamabad, Pakistan (between Mardan and Malakand).
Making of Chapli Kabab:
One of the many recipes is given as under.
½ Kg. finely minced beef
1 medium sized onion chopped
½ tsp. salt (according to taste)
1 tsp ginger (Adrak) paste
1 tsp crushed cumin seeds (Zeera)
1 tbs. crushed Whole dried red chilies
1 tsp crushed coriander (Dhaniya) seeds
1 tsp anardana
2-3 green chilies chopped
½ cup of fresh coriander (Dhaniya) leaves
1 large tomato
1 tsp lemon juice or vinegar
100 grm. Makai ka Aata (Corn meal)
1 small onion sliced and fried till brown
Oil for shallow frying.
(DO NOT USE CORN FLOUR)
Make small pieces of an omelet made with 2 eggs with a little salt and Black Peppercorn. (Kali Mirch)
Chop the tomatoes finely.
Add all the ingredients to the mince meat and leave to marinate in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours.
Mix the omelet pieces and then make into flat patties and fry in a little oil. Wait to turn until brown on one side.
Makes about 6 kababs.
Serve with naan.
Serving: 3 persons
While talking to several customers at the —– Market in Nazimabad, we came some interesting comments about Chapli kabab. The savoury food is widely revered as a luxurious meal. As one patron stated, “Chapli kabab is not your average daal roti, to be eaten just to satisfy your hunger. You should work up a fine appetite to enjoy this meal.”
Sometimes this reverence borders on fanaticism, as apparent from another customer’s point of view, “It’s disrespectful if you spoil the taste of chapali kabab by eating any other dish with it.”