Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Adventure in Making Pakistani Food!!!

I love all kinds of ethnic food so I was elated when I found out our neighbors here in the D.C. metro area are from Pakistan. I am a little ashamed to say one of the first comments out of my mouth when I met them was, "will you teach me to make yummy Pakistani food?!"  Yes, that's me, always thinking with my taste buds.

Well, the neighbors delivered! They have invited us over for dinner several times and took me to the local Pakistani grocery store to purchase seasoning packets for several authentic dishes.  Check out all the loot I scored for $18!      

That is enough to make at least 15-20 different dishes...save the paratha bread in the front (which is sort of similar to pita bread, naan or tortillas, but SOOOO much better)...I'm going to need to go back soon to get some more!

Tonight I made Kebabs and Chickpeas.  I know, when an American thinks kebabs, they think kabobs (at least I did before I met my Pakistani neighbors).  Pakistani kebabs are ground meat mixed with lots of seasoning and then molded onto skewers and BBQ'd.  There are several ways of cooking the meat, I made mine into patties because I was using my indoor grill pan and my skewers don't fit in the pan.

Pakistani Kebabs:
1 1/2 pounds ground beef (you could totally do ground chicken, or turkey too)
1 medium onion
2 jalapeno's - I used a red and a green one for extra flavor
1 long green chili
3 tablespoons fresh ginger
3 tablespoons fresh garlic
2 eggs
1 packet Shan Chappli Kebab Mix - if you don't have a local Pakistani or Indian store nearby, you can check out the selection on Amazon. I have to note that I got my spice packet for $0.90 at my Pakistani store in the D.C. metro area and Amazon sells the SAME packets for $4-$5 each!  Support your local Pakistani store!!!

Cut up onion, peppers, ginger and garlic and toss into a food processor.  Process until somewhere between a chunky and smooth texture.

Add to ground beef with eggs and packet of Shan Chappli Kebab mix.  Refrigerate for 2 hours or more.

Form meat into patties or around skewers and grill.

If you don't want super spicy kebabs you can use less of the season packet.  I seeded half of my peppers and use the whole seasoning packet and it turned out to medium heat.  They were VERY flavorful!!!

I openly admit I am NOT that person who puts chickpeas on my salads.  I don't dislike chickpeas, but unless they are in falafel, I am generally not a fan...that is until my neighbor made this dish for us! Now I can't get enough chickpeas!!!!

Pakistani Chickpeas:
2 cans chickpeas - I suggest using the salt free kind
1 medium onion
1/2 cup lentils
3 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 cups water
3 tablespoons Shan Chana Masala Mix

Drain and rinse chickpeas and add to skillet along with water.  Add Shan Chana Masala and cook on medium heat for 45 minutes or until the chickpeas turn to a darker shade.

Heat oil and cook onions for about 5 minutes then add to chickpea mixture.  Cook until the gravy thickens.

Serve with warm paratha bread!

Seriously don't be afraid to walk into your local Indian or Pakistani store and purchase these spices.  I found the people to be VERY nice and accommodating. The clerk even gave me a free sample of a box of spices to make a sweet rice dessert!

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