Chapli kebab (Pashto: چپلي کباب)[α][β] is a Mughlai-influenced Pashtun-style minced kebab, usually made from ground beef, mutton or chicken with various spices in the shape of a patty. It originates from Peshawar, what is today northwest Pakistan, and is also known as the Peshawari kebab.
The chapli kebab is a popular barbecue and street food throughout Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and other parts of Pakistan, as well as in eastern Afghanistan and India. It can be served and eaten hot with naan bread, rice, or in buns and sandwiches such as in a bun kebab.
Mughal culinary influences in the region popularised a number of kebab dishes, resulting in local recipes such as the chapli kebab. The name chapli is said to be derived from the Pashto word chaprikh, meaning "flat" – alluding to the kebab's light, round and flattened texture. Another theory is that the name is derived from chappal, the local word for sandals – implying the average shape and size of a kebab, which resembles that of a front part of the chappal sole.
The city of Peshawar, where the recipe took hold, alone has over 2,000 kebab houses that serve the chapli kebab. Such eateries have rapidly expanded in other cities as well. Today, the chapli kebab is featured on the menu of South Asian restaurants across the world.
Ingredients and preparation
The chapli kebab is prepared with raw, marinated mince and the meat can be either beef or lamb/mutton. The main ingredients include wheat flour, different herbs and spices such as chili powder, coriander leaves, followed by smaller quantities of onions, tomatoes, eggs, ginger, coriander or cumin seeds, green chillies, corn starch, salt and pepper, baking powder, as well as a seasoning of lemon juice or pomegranate seeds.
The kebabs can be fried shallow or deep in vegetable cooking oil over medium heat. Some chefs fry the kebabs in lamb fat over wood-fired stoves to lend an organic flavour. This approach is avoided by other gastronomists, citing health-conscious reasons.
Once cooked, chapli kebabs can be served and garnished with parsley, chopped onions and tomatoes, along with other accompaniments such as various chutney sauces, salad, yoghurt, pickles or nuts. The chapli kebab is best served aromatic, moist and spicy. It is considered a specialty of Pashtun cuisine and often served to guests. The kebab is commonly consumed in meals with bread such as naan, rice dishes such as Kabuli pulao, or wrapped in fast food. In winters, green tea such as kahwah may traditionally be served alongside it, while cold drinks are preferred in the summers.
- Tirmizi, Bisma (19 March 2014). "Food Stories: Chapli kabab". Dawn. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
The province formerly known as NWFP and the eastern region of Afghanistan can proudly lay claim to the spicy flat meat beef patty, however, it stands as a favourite throughout Pakistan and India.
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