When served Bahraini kebab, you will not find yourself eating… “a dish consisting of small pieces of meat, tomato, onions, etc., threaded onto skewers and grilled, generally over charcoal,”… which is the dictionary definition. Instead you will be served a vegetarian snack made from a thick batter, which has been shallow-fried, making this kebab resemble a pakora or a pakoda… in my opinion!
The batter for the Bahraini kebab is made using chickpea flour, known locally as kebab flour… besan and gram flour are also other names for chickpea flour. Tomato, onion and other spices are some of the ingredients incorporated into the batter, however ingredients may differ from household to household. Adding kurrat (so does my sister in-law) which is locally known as “bughel” adds a nice onion flavour to the kebab. Kurrat is also known as Egyptian leek and looks like long flat blades of grass which are widely grown in the Middle East.
The Bahraini kebab is very popular during Ramadan and usually served during Iftar. But also eaten and enjoyed as a snack with a cup of sweet tea (chai) anytime of day. Having had my fair share over the years… it’s a bit like throwing buns to an elephant, these kebabs are so delicious and I can never stop at just one! Crisp on the outside with a soft interior, the Bahraini kebab makes a great little spicy vegetarian appetizer for passing around when entertaining. Also, delicious when served with a cool refreshing (will post recipe) yoghurt and coriander dipping sauce.
- 150g chickpea flour or kebab flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon red chilli powder
- pinch of garam masala spice mix
- 1 egg
- 140ml water
- 2 tablespoons of finely chopped tomato
- 1 tablespoon of finely chopped red onion
- 3 blades kurrat, finely chopped
- 1 small green chilli, finely chopped
- 1 small garlic clove, peeled and crushed
You will also need some sunflower oil for shallow-frying.
How to make: Sieve the chickpea flour, baking powder, salt, chilli powder and garam masala into a medium mixing bowl. Make a well in the center of the chickpea flour, add the egg and pour in the water, whisking all the ingredients together until the batter is smooth. Add in the tomato, onion, kurrat, chilli and garlic, mix all the ingredients together and leave the batter (covered) to rest in the fridge for about 25 to 30 minutes.
Shallow fry: Pour sunflower oil ( approximately 1/2 inch deep) into a frying pan and heat until the oil becomes hot. Place tablespoons of batter carefully into the hot oil and fry until deep golden, flipping the kebab over, cooking the other side. When cooked remove the kebab from the oil with the help of a slotted spoon and transfer onto a plate covered with some paper kitchen towel to absorb any excess oil. Serve warm.
Note: Recipe can easily be doubled which will make approximately 30 pieces!