Monday, February 16, 2009

Beef "Ribbon" Kebab (Pasanda Kabab) with Cilantro Chutney

India is the region featured in this edition of Regional Recipes. We had to rack our brains for what to make. We ruled out curries right away just because of the fact that I'm not a good enough photographer to make curries look good! ;)

So, onto our search for non-curry Indian dishes. Since we only had three books with Indian recipes -- the two of them being 50 Great Curries of India and 660 Curries-- we had to go with Madhur Jaffrey's From Curries to Kebabs. Of course, we had to be careful to choose Indian recipes (as opposed to curries from other places).

Pasanda Kabab it is!

The Marinade

marinade ingredients

We chose this recipe because it looked very easy. Make the marinade and broil the kebabs! Even the marinade didn't seem to have a lot of ingredients.

left: more marinade ingredients; right: finished marinade

The only hardship in making the marinade was that I had to brown some onions first. Then, everything just went into the blender. I made some minor substitutions because I had to use what we had.

That's browned onions, raw onions, yogurt, olive oil, almonds, ginger, garlic, red chili flakes, nutmeg, ground coriander, and salt.

I sliced our flank steak into long strips and marinated them. We left them there for about 2 days.

Cilantro Chutney (aka "Green Sauce")

left: sooo green; right: finished chutney

The blender got a workout with this recipe. I blended a whackload of cilantro leaves, a jalapeno pepper, some garlic, lemon juice, salt, and a touch of water to make the blending easier. I then added this mixture to yogurt.

Ribbon Kebabs

To cook the kebabs, I weaved them onto five large skewers. Madhur Jaffrey describes this zigzagging as "forming Elizabethan ruffles." That has to be the best recipe instruction.

I then simply broiled each side of the skewers until the meat was browned and lightly charred.

I love the presentation of beef being in ribbons.

The pasanda kabab was absolutely delicious -- and the cilantro chutney just elevates this "street food" into dinner party fare.

My only regret was we did not have hot, buttery naan to go with these kebabs.

One word of caution: we might have left the beef marinating too long (overnight and half a day). It resulted in a slightly mushy texture. The texture did not take anything away from the flavour though, but for a perfectionist, 2 to 4 hours marination would be sufficient to infuse the flavours into the beef.

The cilantro chutney goes with a lot of things: the beef, mashed (or boiled) potatoes, some greens. . .We even had one guest dipping popcorn into the chutney! It was quite an inspired pairing: I nabbed some kernels and they were totally delicious!

Blazing Hot WokWe're submitting this to Regional Recipes, a blogging event created by Blazing Hot Wok that celebrates food from all over the world.

The region for this edition is India. The round-up will be hosted by Darlene of Blazing Hot Wok.

Regional Recipes information

Our Regional Recipes posts:
Greek Meatball Soup (Giouvarlakia)
Simmered Saba Mackerel with Daikon Radish (Saba Oroshi-ni)
Thai Fried Chicken
Roast Pork Belly with Puy Lentils
Beef "Ribbon" Kebab (Pasanda Kabab) with Cilantro Chutney
Canadian Onion Soup with Oka Cheese
Börek with Beef Filling
Korean Pork Bulgogi (with Muu Namul, Kong Namul)
Lobster Congee from a Lobster Feast
Pork Jowl (Pork Cheeks) with Brown Sugar Rub
Beef Salpicao
Cuban Arroz con Salchichas (Yellow Rice with Vienna Sausages)
Cuban Pastelitos de Guayaba y Queso (Guava and Cheese Pastries)
Vietnamese Spring Roll (Cha Gio)
Grilled Fish Fillet on Oregano
Pastéli (Greek Sesame Snaps)


Beef "Ribbon" Kebab (Pasanda Kabab)
from Madhur Jaffrey's
From Curries to Kebabs: Recipes from the Indian Spice Trail

Serves 4 to 6 as a main course, 8 to 12 as appetizer

1 medium onion, rings
1 medium onion, chopped
4 tablespoons yogurt
3 tablespoons mustard oil (or extra-virgin olive oil)
1 tablespoon blanched, slivered almonds
1 tablespoon peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1-2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon mace
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 1/2 pounds beef flank steak

Fry onion rings in 1/2 cup oil until medium-brown. Save oil and set aside.

Add browned onions, and all the rest of the ingredients (except beef) into blender and process into smooth paste to make the marinade.

Cut meat into 1/4-in slices across the grain. Marinate the beef slices, 2 to 6 hours.

Preheat broiler. Zigzag ribbons of meat onto skewers, as if you were forming "Elizabethan ruffles." Push ruffles tightly against each other. Brush all sides with oil used to brown the onion rings. Broil 5 inches from the broiler untl all sides are lightly browned.

Cilantro Chutney
from Madhur Jaffrey's
From Curries to Kebabs: Recipes from the Indian Spice Trail

1 cup well-packed cilantro leaves
2-3 fresh hot green chilies, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
salt to taste
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons water
1 cup plain yogurt

Add all ingredients except yogurt into a blender. Blend. Beat yogurt until smooth. Mix in blended mixture.


  1. WOW! What a great-looking dish! I could go for some of this right now, but alas, grilling is not an option. It snowed again yesterday morning. However, it is going on the short list for when the weather gets nice.

  2. This looks amazing. I could really go for some kebabs right now...

  3. Oh, wow. This looks amazing. I love the ease of kebabs... but I've got to admit I usually only make them in the summer. Maybe I should rethink that!

  4. Wow, does that ever look wonderful

  5. interesting about the marinade. when you said you left it almost 2 days i was thinking, "wow the flavor must've been intense" (in a good way). i wouldn't have thought it would have really affected the texture cause there really wasn't any citrus or acid to 'break down the meat'. whatever, it still looks really good and i like the idea of using the skirt steak - it's totally a "weavable" cut of meat.

  6. Oh good! Another Indian dish I want to try. Maybe I do like Indian food after all.

  7. So, if you two ever want to come to California and make this for me I've got the space...maybe? Please?

  8. This sounds wonderful!!!

    What temperature do you cook the steak too? I've had issues with tenderness and flank steak in the past even with a marinade.

  9. The lamb with cilantro/chutney looks so much like the indian dish my friend's mom cooked for us!

  10. The cilantro chutney looks and sounds out of this world. You are so right about photographing curries. I noticed it before, everything is a blob. I had the problem again with my entry to RR. In future, I'll cut the meat into cubes.

  11. Cilantro chutney sounds great!

  12. Darlene:
    Yeah... we;ve been grill-less for QUITE a long time now!

    Fearless Kitchen:
    This is a definite repeater.

    The broiler can be your best friend.

    we are never full :
    We were a little surprised too. Perhaps it's something in the yogurt. We've marinated pork in acid-based marinades and they turn out fine. Well, I'm referring to Phil-style "BBQ Pork". I don't know how other recipes would fare if left that long.

    Hahaha. Actually, another reason we chose a non-curry is because the rest of the family aren't too fond of Indian curries! So perhaps we and you have the same taste in Indian food. =)

    Sweet Bird:
    I'm confused as to your location now! =)

    Thanks! Actually, this flank came out to well done. But, when we do flank steak in other applications, we take it to medium and slice it thinly against the grain. The "against the grain" instruction is probably the most important.

    Oh good... so it's authentic! =)

    Hehe... unfortunately, not only curries are like that, but also our "home-cooked"/"home-style" dishes!

    It was the star of the dish, actually. And so versatile.

  13. Wow these look delicious. Thanks for this lip-smacking recipe.


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