Today I am sharing a twist on the traditional Pakistani chapli kabab by making chapli kabab sliders or mini chapli burgers. Mini slider buns are topped with green chutney raita, crispy and crunchy chapli kabab patty, tangy tamarind chutney, and your favorite toppings. It’s the perfect appetizer for a dawaat, a birthday party, a high tea, or just to have with your shaam ki chai (evening tea). Enjoy the classic chapli kabab flavors in a mini version that’s easy to eat and serve.
What are chapli kababs?
Chapli kabab is a specialty of Pashtun cuisine, and a dish that’s popular in Pakistan as well as Afghanistan. In Pakistan, the most famous chapli kababs can be found in the city of Peshawar, the capital of the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly known as NWFP). It’s why they are also called Peshawari kabab. The name of these kababs originates from the Pashtu word chaprikh, which means flat and these kababs are known for their distinctive flat and round shape. They are usually served with naan, and chutney.
The traditional chapli kababs are made of either beef or lamb mince, with a high fat content (20 – 30%) and the mince used is a coarse style mince, which is ideally hand ground. They are also fried in beef or lamb fat (known as tallow). I find the smell of lamb mince too strong which is why I use either beef mince or turkey mince to make the chapli kabab sliders, and I fry them in oil.
Another thing that is distinctive about chapli kabab is the spice blend used to make them. The spices used are coarsely crushed instead of being turned into fine powder, adding a distinctive crunch to the kababs. One of the most essential spices in chapli kabab are dried pomegranate seeds (known as anardana), which are coarsely crushed and then added to the mince mixture. These add a tangy flavor and texture to the kababs. Other spices that are used are cumin seeds and coriander seeds, both of which are dry roasted, and then coarsely crushed. The heat in the chapli kababs comes from red chili flakes, and green chilies. The spice level can be adjusted to personal taste.
For this recipe, I have taken the classic chapli kabab flavors and turned it into a mini version that's easy to eat and serve.
Chapli kabab sliders – variations:
Adjust the fillings of these chapli kabab sliders or mini burgers as per your personal taste. At your next BBQ party, serve chicken malai tikka and also do a DIY slider section so everyone can make chapli kabab their way.
Here are some options on how you can change things up:
- Instead of turkey mince, you can use beef, lamb, or chicken mince. The fattier the mince, the better it is but you can go for a lean option such as chicken or turkey for health reasons.
- One of the distinctive features of chapli kabab is the tomato slice on top, however, it can be skipped. In fact, when I was doing the photography for the recipe, I didn't have tomatoes as we are in lockdown.
- Skip the onions and tomatoes to make the chapli kabab burgers simple. Or add other vegetables of your choice, such as lettuce or other salad greens.
- I love using tamarind chutney in these sliders because I love the sweet and tangy contrast but you can change up the sauces by using mayo, garlic sauce, green chutney or peri peri sauce.
- Add cheese to make a fusion style burger. Cheddar, mozzarella, pepper jack or Colby cheese would make for good options.
- Use burger buns to make chapli kabab burgers, or pita wraps to make chapli kabab pita wraps.
- If you don't want to make sliders or burgers, you can just make regular chapli kababs and serve with naan. In that case, make the patty long and thin, and slice up a medium size tomato to use as the garnish on top.
Tips for making chapli kabab sliders:
- Too much moisture in the kababs can cause them to break. This is why the excess moisture from the onions is thrown away, and the tomatoes are deseeded and added to the mince mixture just before frying.
- Lack of fat in the mince can also cause the kabab to break and taste dry. That’s why it’s best to use mince with a high fat content. If you are using a leaner mince, you can add two scrambled eggs (instead of one) for softness and more chickpea flour to help the mince mixture bind together.
- Scrambled eggs, and chopped tomatoes are added to the chapli kebab to make them soft. If tomatoes aren’t available or are too expensive, you can add an extra scrambled egg to compensate.
- If you don’t like the texture of the coarsely crushed pomegranate seeds, you can substitute with pomegranate seeds powder (anardana powder).
Looking for more kabab recipes. Check out the following:
- Shami Kebab
- Turkey Rissoles
- Daal and aloo bun kabab (Lentil and potato spicy burgers)
- Aloo Kabab (Potato cutlets)
Would love it if you could try out and rate the recipe, and let me know how it was in the comments below! To keep updated with recipes, stories and so much more follow me on Facebook here and Instagram here
Chapli Kabab Sliders
For the spice blend:
- 1 ½ tablespoon dried pomegranate seeds see note 1
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 1 ½ - 2 teaspoon red chili flakes
- 1 - 1 ½ teaspoon salt
Green chutney raita:
- 4 tablespoons yoghurt
- ½ bunch coriander leaves chopped
- 1 green chili
- Salt to taste
For the chapli kabab mixture:
- 500 g turkey mince (high fat content) see note 2
- 2 medium / 400g onions
- 2 tablespoons coriander leaves chopped
- 2 green chilies
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 small tomatoes deseeded and chopped
- 1 small tomato sliced (for garnish)
- 2 eggs
- ½ - ¾ cup chickpea flour / gramflour roasted (bhuna besan)
- 16 slider buns toasted
- Butter for toasting (optional)
- 8 tablespoon tamarind chutney
- 2 small onions, sliced
- 2 small tomatoes, sliced
Prepare the spice mix:
- Dry roast the cumin seeds on a frying pan till they release their aroma and then take them off the heat. Coarsely crush them using a mortar pestle, or in a spice grinder.
- Dry roast the coriander seeds on a frying pan till they release their aroma and then take them off the heat. Coarsely crush them using a mortar pestle, or in a spice grinder.
- Coarsely crush the pomegranate seeds in a mortar and pestle, or in a spice grinder and set aside. If you don’t like the texture of the pomegranate seeds, it’s possible to use pomegranate seeds powder.
- It’s possible to ground the cumin seeds, coriander seeds and pomegranate seeds together in a spice grinder as well. Just make sure they are coarsely ground, and not turned into fine powder.
- Place the roasted and crushed cumin seeds, roasted and crushed coriander seeds, crushed pomegranate seeds, red chili flakes and salt in a small bowl. Mix well.
Prepare the green chutney raita:
- Place yoghurt, coriander leaves, green chili and salt in a blender. Blend till smooth and keep in the fridge.
For the chapli kabab:
- Finely chop the onions or pulse them a few times in a food processor. Place the onions in a muslin cloth (or cheesecloth) and squeeze to remove as much water as possible. Set aside.
- Whisk one of the eggs in a small bowl and set aside. Heat oil in a small frying pan, and add the whisked egg. Cook the egg in the form of scrambled egg and set aside.
- Place the turkey mince in a bowl. Add the onions, the green chilies, chopped coriander leaves, the scrambled egg and the spice mixture. Mix thoroughly. The best way to mix the chapli kabab mixture is to use your hands and knead the ingredients together for 2 – 4 minutes.
- Keep the mixture in the fridge for about an hour to marinate and chill.
- Remove the chapli kabab mixture from the fridge, and then add the chopped tomatoes, raw egg, and chickpea flour. Start off with adding ½ cup chickpea flour (besan), and then add more if needed. Mix thoroughly.
- Heat oil in a large frying pan. Once the oil is hot, do a taste test by frying off a small patty. If needed, adjust salt and spices. In case the mixture is breaking, add some more chickpea flour to bind the kababs together.
- Once you are satisfied with the seasonings in the mixture, portion out some of the mince mixture to form a small patty. Chapli kababs are on the thinner side so flatten the mixture accordingly.
- Press a tomato slice on top of the patty, and then fry the chapli kababs tomato side down. Let the chapli kabab fry for about 2 – 3 minutes, then flip over and fry on the other side till crispy and golden brown. Once you flip the patty, the tomato will have caramelized and turned a beautiful reddish-brown colour.
- Cut the slider buns in half. Toast on a frying pan or tawa till light golden. I like to butter the buns, and then toast for additional flavor.
- Spread green chutney raita on the bottom of the slider bun. Top off with the chapli kabab (keeping the tomato side on top), sliced onion, sliced tomatoes, tamarind chutney, and then the top of the bun. Serve with more green chutney raita on the side.
- This recipe makes about 15 - 16 chapli kabab sliders. Serving size is 1 - 2 sliders as an appetizer or snack, and 3 - 4 sliders if served for lunch or dinner.
- Dried pomegranate seeds are known as anardana and can be found in seed format, as the powdered version. In these kababs the seed version is used, and it is coarsely ground then added to the mince mixture. If you don’t like the texture of the seeds, it’s possible to use pomegranate seed powder (anardana powder). The dried pomegranate seeds can be found at Indian, Pakistani or Persian grocery stores easily, or any supermarket that specializes in ethnic spices.
- I prefer to make chapli kababs with turkey mince as it’s what is easily available to me. However, chapli kababs are best made with mince that has a high fat content (20% – 30%) such as beef or lamb mince. It is possible to use chicken mince as well, but in that case use chicken mince that has been processed from chicken thigh and not chicken breast.
- The filling of the chapli kabab is up to you. You can add lettuce, other salad greens or green chutney. You can skip the onions and tomatoes or add other vegetables. You can also add a slice of cheese, mayo, garlic sauce, or peri peri sauce. You can also use burger buns to make chapli kabab burgers.