Beef Kebabs with Pickled Onions

Beef kebabs with pickled onions

In today post I would like share my world famous beef kebab recipe! Okay maybe not “world” famous, but they should be! It is moist and full of flavor and it will blow your socks off!
Growing up I had kebabs in all varieties. It was one my favorite appetizer served in Indian weddings. Some were heavenly but most of the time it was heavily charred, dry, and relied too much on the accompanying sauces for flavor. Then I decided I should come up with own version. After experimenting a few times, I finally come across a method that I am happy with. Creating a curry like base insured moist and flavorful kebabs.

With the numerous steps and ingredients it might be overwhelming, but overall it’s pretty straight forward. Once you taste it, it will be well worth it!

sauteed kebab mixture                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        This pic is the sautéed mixture of curry leaves, chilies, ginger, garlic and onions along with the spices.

blended mixture kebabs
Now I’m pureeing it to a paste with my handheld emulsion blender. I love this thing, better than food processor or blender because it’s less stuff to clean. But if you don’t have a handheld emulsion blender those are great substitutes.

kebabs in marinade

As you can see the ratio of the paste and meat is equal, the beaten egg adds a bit more volume. But this ratio is the secret to moist kebabs. If you prefer the texture more denser, then feel free to add ½ cup of breadcrumbs (panko is great).

kebabs pre-oven

I formed the kebab mix to a mini logs, each log is approximately 2tbsp of the meat mixture. Sometimes I make the kebabs in meatballs or patties with the same quantity, so whichever shape you fancy. Just use the same amount otherwise cooking time varies. Kebabs are typically cooked well done.

I like to add pickled onions along with garlic sauce as tasty condiments alongside naan or rice. My garlic sauce recipe is available on the blog, if you’re looking for a recipe.
The pickled onions are quick; you thinly slice a medium red onion (red onions are less acidic and sweeter) and mince deseeded one serrano chili. Add a ½ cup of lemon juice and ½ cup of white vinegar with 2-3 tbsp of white sugar, mix till the sugar is dissolved ( you can replace with honey). Let the onions and chili sit in the lemon/vinegar solution for 15-20 minutes. You will know its ready when the onions turn into a deep magenta color. Viola!

Beef Kebabs with Pickled Onions and Garlic Sauce
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-4
  • 1lb of ground beef (80/20)
  • 1 large onion-chopped
  • 1 head of garlic- crushed
  • 1 ½inch piece of ginger-roughly minced
  • 1-3 thai chilies- chopped (to taste)
  • 1-2 springs of curry leaves
  • ½ cup of cilantro- chopped
  • 1 tbsp of garam masala powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. of cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp. coriander powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2-3 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 egg- beaten
  • Salt to taste
  1. Heat oil in a flat skillet on medium heat. Once the oil is hot enough, add the curry leaves to the oil. Stand Back! Because it will start to splatter violently, after the first few seconds it will settle.
  2. Now add the crushed garlic, minced ginger, and chilies to the oil. Wait till everything becomes golden brown. Keep an eye on the garlic to gauge when it’s ready, it will turn a nutty brown color.
  3. Once that’s ready, add the chopped onions along with some salt. Sautee the onions till its translucent and softened.
  4. Now it’s the perfect time to add the spices (turmeric, garam masala, cumin, black pepper and coriander powder) allowing the mix to toast a bit in the oil. Sautee for approximately 10-15 seconds, keep stirring to avoid burning the spices.
  5. Turn off the heat and add the chopped cilantro.
  6. Allow the mixture to cool for a few minutes.
  7. Once cooled to room temperature. Take your handy emulsion blender and puree the mixture to a fine paste.
  8. Mix the beaten egg into the masala mixture. Now add the ground beef, the best method is using your hands to combine it.
  9. Leave the kebabs to marinate for least 2hours in refrigerator, best results overnight.
  10. Before cooking the kebabs, let the mixture come to room temperature to prompt even cooking. Before baking leave it on the counter for about 30 minutes.
  11. Form the kebabs in any shape you like, I personally like to make it into mini logs. I just gauge visually to see they are all the same size. But you can use an ice cream scooper to be more precise.
  12. I bake the kebabs well done in the oven 20 minutes at 375 and the last 5-8 minutes at 415 degrees to char. I bake it on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil for easy cleanup.
  13. Serve with naan and garlic sauce. Enjoy!

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