Spicy, savory shami kebabs make awesome burgers, and go just as well with ketchup as they do with green chutney. It seemed like the perfect thing to make as a main course for our Ms Marvel menu, Pakistani food that an American teenager can get excited about. And since on the very first page of the comic we find our heroine drooling over “delicious, delicious infidel meat,” I thought I’d make some shiitake bacon that everyone from Muslims to vegetarians can enjoy – because we have both in our house.
In fact, though I’ve made Chef Vah’s shami kebabs many times (delicious, and I love how excited he gets about food in his videos), since we’ve shifted to eating vegetarian at home I decided to convert these to meatless. They have double the chana dal, and are well-spiced with jammy tomatoes and soy sauce to up the umami. They came out zabardast! Chef’s kiss!
And duh, pakoras are the best, who can turn down fried potatoes?
For the shami kebabs
Adapted from Chef Vah
- 1 cup uncooked chana dal (split chickpeas)
- 2 tablespoons ghee, plus more for frying
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, grated
- 1 1/2 inch ginger, peeled and grated
- Half of a 14 ounce can of diced tomatoes (or 2-3 romas, diced)
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili (lots more if you’re not cooking for kids or wimps)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- Salt to taste
- Handful mint, chopped
- 1-2 tablespoons besan (chickpea flour), optional
- 1 egg
Cook chana dal in 2 cups of water until soft, adding more water if necessary.
Meanwhile, heat ghee and cook onion until very golden brown. Add garlic and ginger and stir for a minute or two, then add tomatoes, cumin, coriander, garam masala, turmeric, red chili and soy sauce. Cook until tomatoes are completely broken down and jammy. Add dal and mint into the pan and warm through.
Transfer everything to a food processor and pulse until well combined. Don’t over mix, and don’t worry if there are unmashed lentils, a little texture in these is nice. Transfer to a mixing bowl and mix with a spatula. If the mixture is very wet, add a tablespoon or two of besan to help them hold together. They will be delicate, but once cooked they should hold together fine.
Heat a few tablespoons ghee, and mix an egg on a plate with a pinch of salt and a tablespoon of water. Make patties from the lentil mixture, dip both sides in the egg, and fry on both sides until golden brown. You can rewarm these in the oven before serving if necessary.
Serve alone with green chutney, or on buns with a slice of cheese, ketchup, and shiitake bacon!
For the shiitake bacon
Adapted from Olives for Dinner
- 2 cups sliced shiitakes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Whisk together olive oil, salt, liquid smoke, sesame oil, and smoked paprika. Toss shiitakes with the mixture and marinate for at least 20 minutes.
Heat oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange mushrooms in a single layer. Bake for 10 minutes, flip, then bake 15 minutes more. Increase heat to 375°, flip, and bake 10 minutes more. Serve hot.
For the pakora fries
- 1 cup besan (chickpea flour)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili
- 1 large Russet potato
- oil for frying
Mix together besan, salt, coriander seeds and red chili. Mix in enough water to make a medium thick batter. Peel the potato and cut into batons and place in the batter to coat.
Heat an inch or so of oil. Fry the potatoes in batches, turning gently, until golden and cooked through. Drain on a paper towel and serve hot with mint chutney or ketchup.
Check out the whole Ms Marvel Menu
See more of the The Comic Vault’s Comic Kitchen
Photo credit: Jonathan Hartzell