It’s reveal day for the Muslim Food Blogger Challenges! This month’s challenge was to share a recipe for Pakistani food (and to say I was thrilled would be an understatement). I was especially excited because although at first I didn’t know exactly what recipe I wanted to share, I knew that I wanted to share something that would be special to not only Pakistan, but to the city of Karachi (my family hails from this part of Pakistan).
I took an informal survey in an online group that I am a part of, and asked what food was considered special to Karachi. I got a variety of answers, but one that stood out to me was Bun Kabab. Bun Kabab is a Karachi street side staple. It’s basically a burger bun stuffed with a kabab, and topped with a slightly sweet and spicy chutney, sliced onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, and cabbage.
My husband is especially fond of Bun Kababs, and lovingly recalls his favorite street-side vendor from when he was growing up (Tippu’s). Our trip to Pakistan this past March left him speechless, because his beloved street-vendor was now the proud owner of a brick-and-mortar storefront! Clearly his Bun Kababs were the real deal, because owning property in Karachi is no joke.
Generally speaking, when someone mentions Pakistani food, the first thing that comes to mind is meat. Pakistanis love their meat, as can be seen by the vast variety of dishes specific to the cuisine of the country. However, let me blow your mind by telling you that everyone’s beloved Bun Kabab is entirely vegetarian (and can be vegan if leaving out the eggs and yogurt)! Say what?! Yes, you read that correctly. A completely vegetarian meal that nearly every Pakistani loves.
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Karachi Bun Kabab
- 4 cups water
- ¾ cup split bengal gram / channa daal
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- ½- inch piece ginger, peeled
- ½- inch piece cinnamon
- 4 cloves
- 4 whole black peppers
- 3 dried red chillies
- 3 medium potatoes, boiled, peeled, and mashed
- ¼ cup diced onion
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- ½ teaspoon chaat masala
- Salt, to taste
Bun Kabab Chutney
- ½ cup cilantro
- ½ cup mint leaves
- ½ cup yogurt
- ¼ cup sweet tamarind chutney
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon chaat masala
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 green chilli (jalapeno or serrano)
- Oil, to shallow fry
- 1 large egg, whisked
- Slider buns or small burger buns
- Onions, sliced
- Cucumbers, sliced
- Tomatoes, sliced
- Cabbage, shredded
In a medium sized vessel, combine water, bengal gram, cumin seeds, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, black peppers, and red chillies, . Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook until lentils are tender and the water has evaporated, 60 to 90 minutes. Cool slightly.
Transfer cooked mixture to a food processor and grind until smooth. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add mashed potatoes, onion, cilantro, chaat masala, and salt. Mix well. Using about ¼-cup of mixture (or a little less), form patties and refrigerate.
Combine all ingredients in the blender jar and blitz until smooth. Set aside.
Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a fry pan over medium heat.
Dip kabab patties into the egg, making sure both sides of the kabab are coated. Place kabab in frying pan and cook until the bottom is golden brown, flip, and cook until lightly browned, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove kababs from the pan and set aside.
On the same pan, lightly toast the buns on both sides. Remove from heat.
To assemble, spread a spoonful of chutney on both sides of the bun. Place sliced onions, cucumbers, and tomatoes on the bottom bun. Top with fried kabab, shredded cabbage, and top bun.
Kababs can be frozen once shaped. To use, simply cook from frozen (do not thaw, as the potatoes in the kababs will lose shape) and proceed as written. A few additional minutes of cook time will be needed.
Leftover Bun Kabab Chutney must be refrigerated.
Recipe adapted from Food Fusion.