Monday, 19 March 2012

Reza's Shami (Syrian) kebab

When back in Australia recently (or at least "recently" when I started writing this post (g)), I was bemoaning the time it takes to shop for groceries in the town my parents live in. I mean, aside from the sheer number of options for any given product--yogurt, say--the shop layouts are so much bigger and the massive shopping trolleys so much less manoeuvrable than ours here in Japan. Plus the three supermarkets in town all have different goodies, so you have to visit them all! Saffron Papa's comment: It takes so long because of all the weird and wonderful things you're trying to buy! Touche, I guess.

I was keen to recreate the Shami kebab and jewelled rice meal I'd learned at my Persian cooking class for my dear friends in Australia, but was having trouble getting a couple of the ingredients, namely chickpea flour and dried rose petals (for the jewelled rice). Luckily, being Persian cooking and having a whole lot of flavours going on at one time, we were able to get by without them.
I made these patties with 100% beef in Australia and they had quite a different texture to the beef-pork blend we used in the cooking class. It could be a matter of familiarity, but I actually liked the texture of the blended mince better. In Iran, of course, it would be a lamb/mutton-beef blend.

Saffron Papa and Mama were clean out of dried tarragon, so I used about 2 tbsp of fresh and was pleased with the results. Because I'd omitted the chickpea flour, my meat mixture was quite loose, but a few minutes in the fridge before cooking solved that problem.

These are the brassiest "burgers" I've yet to come across. Definitely recommended, whether with jewelled rice, another Persian rice dish, or just for something a bit interesting at your next barbecue!

Reza's Shami (Syrian) kebab

Makes 4 largish ring-shaped patties

300 g beef, pork or chicken mince
1 onion, chopped finely
3 tbsp chickpea (gram) flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 tbsp dried tarragon
1 tsp garlic paste (or crushed garlic)
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
shake of cayenne pepper (optional)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
grilled cherry tomatoes and soft fresh herbs to garnish

1 In a large bowl, lightly kneed mince, then add the onion, chickpea flour, egg, parsley, tarragon, garlic and ginger pastes, baking powder, turmeric cayenne and salt. Kneed very well until ingredients become pasty.

2 Divide the meat in 4 and form into round patties. Using a finger, open a fairly large whole in the middle of each patty. Make the outside edges of the patties slightly thinner than the ring in the center.

3 Fry or grill on both sides until nicely browned. Serve with grilled cherry tomatoes and soft herbs and rocket.