Sunday, January 8, 2012

Reshmi Kabobs – A flavorful alternative to baked chicken

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Kabobs are popular all over South and Central Asia and the Middle East. The word “kabob” (or kebab, kabab) does not necessarily mean meat roasted on a skewer, but can mean any kind of baked or roasted cuts of meat – even ground meat. This simple (and quick!) reshmi kabob from North India and Pakistan has a slight crust made from ground almonds and is bursting with flavor from the herbs, garlic and lemon! We don’t have a tandoor (traditional clay oven) like they use in India ;-), so I bake our kabobs in the oven.

Reshmi Kabob/Kebab

Here’s what you'll need: (serves 2 to 3)
  • 1.25 lbs chicken breasts or thighs, (deboned, skinned and chopped into kabob-size cubes)
  • ¼ cup slivered almonds
  • 4 green chilies*(see note below)
  • 1 Tbs ginger paste (if from a jar; if using freshly grated ginger, use less - 1.5 tsp should be fine).
  • 1 Tbs chopped or pasted garlic
  • ¾ cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala powder* (a popular Indian spice blend, see note below)
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne powder/red pepper powder (1/4 tsp if you like it milder)
  • ¼ cup lemon juice from a fresh lemon (not the kind in the bottle)
  • ½ cup half and half cream (don't substitute milk!)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • For garnish (don't leave this out, it's delicious!): chopped red onion, sliced lemon, and chopped fresh green chilies. It's also nice with some sliced cucumbers :).
Getting the ingredients ready :). I love how colorful they are! Please ignore the sizes of the measuring spoons in this picture. I ran out of the right size measuring spoons, so I used random sizes to display the spices for the photo. Follow the measurements in the ingredient list above!


1. Chop the green chilies – if you cannot eat spicy food, you may want to de-seed a few of the chilies. I used 4 chilies and de-seeded 2 of them. This ensures you have the lovely flavor of the green chilies without all the heat!)
2. Place the slivered almonds, chopped chilies, ginger, garlic, cilantro, lemon juice, half and half cream, spices, and salt in a food processor. Blend until it is a smooth paste.
3. Place the chicken pieces in a bowl and pour the marinade over them. Let marinate for at least an hour (or longer – you can put it in the fridge for a few hours or overnight). Preheat oven to 365 degrees.

This is what the chicken looks like marinating
4. Transfer chicken to a baking dish – my 8x8 inch Pyrex did the trick. Make sure chicken pieces are not stacked on top of each other, or they won’t cook evenly or quickly.
5. Bake for one hour – It should not be watery, but not too dry either. The chicken should be soft and juicy. Depending on your oven, you may need to cook a little longer than an hour. I think I baked mine for an hour and ten minutes.
6. Serve this with the chopped red onions, chopped fresh green chilies, and sliced lemon. (Don't forget to squirt the lemon over the chicken, it adds that certain something special!). If you eat this with rice (which we prefer), it's delicious to mix a little Earth Balance spread (a healthy buttery spread full of omega 3's!) or butter in :). Traditionally these are eaten with naan, and we sometimes do that, too:


Trader Joe's Garlic Naan & Paratha!
*Cook's Notes*
- I use Indian green chilies available at the Indian store, but you can substitute Serrano peppers. Since Serrano peppers are larger, you may want to use less (3, not 4). Thai chilies are VERY hot, so I do not advise using Thai chilies; you'll get too much heat and not enough green pepper flavor.
-I like using ginger paste better than chopped ginger in this dish. You can find great preservative-free ginger pastes at Whole Foods.
-You can buy garam masala powder at Indian grocery stores or on various sites online, such as or

This recipe was adapted from this recipe on 


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