Chapli Kabob

30 minutes
15 minutes
45 minutes
8 to 10 kabobs
Afghan cuisine is absolutely incredible and one of my favorite dishes they have is Chapli Kabob! It is like a well-seasoned hamburger or flattened kefta packed with spices, herbs, and veggies. Serve it with pilaf rice, veggies, and plain yogurt to make it a full meal!
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Chapli Kabob

Afghan cuisine is absolutely incredible and one of my favorite dishes they have is Chapli Kabob! It is like a well-seasoned hamburger or flattened kefta packed with spices, herbs, and veggies. Serve it with pilaf rice, veggies, and plain yogurt to make it a full meal!

One of my favorite things about the Bay Area is that there is a large population of Afghanis, specifically in Fremont, CA. There are a lot of amazing Afghan restaurants out there. Our two favorite spots are Fremont Afghan Kabob House and De Afghanan if you are in the area and want to try it out. We recently moved to Pennsylvania and I find myself missing their cuisine so much. Instead of taking a flight over, I just decided to make it at home but definitely NOT better than an Afghan making it. This is in no way a traditional recipe – I focused on trying to capture the flavor and texture as much as possible while still making it easy and accessible since some ingredients might be difficult for others to find. Let’s make it!

Making the Chapli Mix

Whenever I order chapli kabob at our favorite Afghani restaurants, my favorite part is looking at all the colors in the patties. It’s like a rainbow with all the specks of red onion, green onion, cilantro, chili, and so much more! You can literally look at it and see where all the flavor comes from. It also has a unique texture that is different from other kefta because a lot of recipes call for adding corn meal or corn flour. Here is everything you will need to add:

  • red onion, finely diced
  • green chili, finely diced
  • cilantro, finely chopped
  • green onion, thinly sliced
  • mint, chopped
  • garlic paste
  • ginger paste
  • large egg
  • corn flour
  • crushed tomato

Now that list above is just the vegetables and herbs and some binding components. We still have to add the spices and there are quite a few. This is why Afghan cuisine is in my top three fave – so much flavor!! These are the spices we will add:

  • coriander
  • cumin
  • red chili flakes
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • chili powder
  • paprika
  • garam masala, optional
  • cardamom

For the ground beef, we’ll be using 80/20! The fattier the better. You can also use 85/15 but I would not go any leaner if you want this to be authentic. Otherwise, feel free to get 90/10 or 95/5. Add all the ingredients listed above and mix well to incorporate!

How to Cook the Kabobs

Now that we have the meat prepped, it’s time to cook it up! You can either cook them right away or cover and let it marinate for 30 minutes, an hour, or even overnight in the fridge.

The most traditional way to cook chapli kabob is in a frying pan with ghee or clarified butter. Of course, you can also do olive, avocado, or vegetable oil. You can even cook them in the air fryer with a bit of oil spray if you want a more light version.

Shape the chapli mixture into thin and large, flat patties. Add it to the preheated pan over medium high heat with ghee. Get one side golden brown, you’ll see the edges darken in color and almost form a crust. Flip over and repeat on the other side. Cook the remaining chapli.

Enjoy with your favorite rice or serve with a salad to enjoy! I love enjoying it with a green cilantro chutney and plain yogurt.

How to Make it Even More Authentic

There are a few ways to make it even more authentic. It might make the recipe take a little longer to recreate and it might mean you’ll need to go on a hunt for some ingredients but it will taste EVEN better.

  • Add dried pomegranate seeds to the ground beef mixture. Pomegranate seeds have a tangy taste. Another way to achieve this taste if you can’t find the seeds is to add a small drizzle of pomegranate molasses.
  • Instead of adding ground spices, use whole spices and toast them in a pan. Then grind them and add them to the ground beef. This includes cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and cardamom pods.

Looking For More Kabob Recipes? Try These Out!

If you tried this recipe and loved it, drop by down below and let me know how you liked it with a rating and comment! Feel free to also leave a question there about this recipe and I’ll get right back to it.

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Chapli Kabob

Afghan cuisine is absolutely incredible and one of my favorite dishes they have is Chapli Kabob! It is like a well-seasoned hamburger or flattened kefta packed with spices, herbs, and veggies. Serve it with pilaf rice, veggies, and plain yogurt to make it a full meal!

Afghan cuisine is absolutely incredible and one of my favorite dishes they have is Chapli Kabob! It is like a well-seasoned hamburger or flattened kefta packed with spices, herbs, and veggies. Serve it with pilaf rice, veggies, and plain yogurt to make it a full meal!

30 minutes
15 minutes
45 minutes
8 to 10 kabobs

Ingredients

  • 1 pound 80/20 ground beef
  • 1/2 red onion, finely diced
  • 1 serrano chili, finely diced
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 3 mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 2 teaspoons ginger paste
  • 1 large egg 
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons coriander
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1/8 teaspoon cardamom
  • ghee, for frying

Instructions

  1. To a bowl add the ground beef, red onion, chili, cilantro, green onion, mint, tomato, garlic, ginger, egg, cornmeal, chili powder, paprika, cumin, coriander, garam masala, salt, black pepper, chili flakes, and cardamom.
  2. Mix together very well with your hands to incorporate.
  3. To a pan over medium heat, get the pan hot.
  4. Add ghee to the pan, enough to shallow fry the chapli.
  5. Form the ground beef into large thin patties - keeping in mind they will shrink as they cook.
  6. Add the shaped patties into the pan, as many that can fit into your pan comfortably.
  7. Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes on one side. Allow it to crisp up on one side until golden brown on the edges. Flip over and sear on the other side too.
  8. Serve with plain yogurt, chutney, and some rice to enjoy!
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