Food & Wine

It's spring and time for grilled chicken kebabs

Photo Courtesy Of Gitika Baveja

Intensify grilled meat with freshly ground spices, chopped cilantro, green chilis and lemon juice.

Spring is in full swing, and it is time to head outdoors and fire up the grill. What could be better than grilling some delicious, lean chicken kebabs bursting with traditional Indian flavors, wrapped in hot naan bread?

Kebabs can be skewered meats or vegetables cooked on an outdoor grill and can also be made of ground, minced meats like chicken, turkey or lamb. In India kebabs are made in a hot clay oven called a tandoor.

The radiant heat from the tandoor slowly cooks the meat. The juices that remain inside the meat, combined with a spice rub, make the kebabs flavorful, tender and moist. After cooking, they are rolled in a tandoori naan, wheat parantha (Indian wheat bread) or roomali roti (paper-thin Indian bread) along with onions and mint sauce. This style of wrap, a kati roll, can be a sumptous snack or a meal by itself.

Lean, minced chicken kebabs

2 cups lean, minced chicken (available at Safeway/Lucky) 1 teaspoon freshly grated garlic paste 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger paste 2-3 tablespoons plain, runny yogurt 1 teaspoon vegetable or olive oil 1/4 teaspoon red chili powder 1 teaspoon garam masala powder Salt to taste 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves 1 finely chopped green chili (optional)

Fresh kebab spice

Grind whole spices in coffee grinder after lightly roasting in nonstick pan on low heat for 1 minute or so. 1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds 3-4 whole cloves 5-6 whole black peppercorns

Seeds from 2 whole green cardamoms Small stick cinnamon Dash of nutmeg powder


1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice 1/2 teaspoon chaat masala (optional, a pungent spice mix available at Indian gro- cery stores)

Combine the ground chicken with the above ingredients including the freshly ground kebab spice. Mix and bind well. It might be a bit messy. Chill for about an hour.

Wet hands, make small sausage-shaped kebabs and place on greased foil.

Grill over medium flame on preheated grill until sizzling and well done. Once the kebabs have formed their shape on the grill, remove foil and grill directly on low heat until cooked fully. Monitor kebabs closely to avoid overcooking. Remove to plate and sprinkle chaat masala and lemon juice over them.

Serve hot with green mint chutney, onions and lemon juice rolled in hot Indian bread of your choice. Indian breads are available in frozen section of Indian markets.

Note: You can also lightly fry the kebabs in a nonstick pan in olive oil if you do not want to grill. Cook on low to medium heat so that kebabs are well cooked from the inside. Remove to absorbent paper towels. Serve hot with naan bread, sliced onions and green mint chutney.

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