Beef Kebabs with a Surprise Center
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
- 1 (1/2-inch thick slice) of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 pound ground beef
- Small handful fresh cilantro, minced (about 2 tablespoons), plus 2 tablespoons for sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon store-bought or homemade garam masala, recipe follows
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons dried cherries, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons toasted cashews, chopped
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- 1 lime, juiced
- Aarti's Hot (not heavy!) Homemade Garam Masala:
- 3 large cinnamon sticks (if you have the kind you get at Indian stores, it's about 3 tablespoons of cinnamon bark bits)
- 3 tablespoons whole cloves
- 1/4 cup green cardamom pods, shelled, husks discarded (about 2 tablespoons of seeds)
- 4 large black cardamom pods, shelled, husks discarded (about 1 tablespoon of seeds), optional
Toast the coriander and cumin seeds in a dry skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant and slightly smoking. Pour into a pestle and mortar and grind until you get a fine powder. Shake into a large bowl.
Add the garlic and ginger to the mortar and pestle and pound until a paste forms. Scrape into the large bowl.
Add the beef, 2 tablespoons of minced cilantro, garam masala, baking soda and 1 teaspoon of salt. Using your hands, thoroughly mix all the ingredients together until the meat is sticky, just a few minutes. Allow the meat to rest about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the cherries and the cashews in a small bowl.
When meat has rested, divide into 16 equal portions. Roll each one into 2-inch sausage shapes. Make a long indentation in each sausage and stuff with 1/2 teaspoon of the dried cherry stuffing and pinch the meat together over the stuffing. Roll the kebab between your hands to thoroughly seal it. Repeat with the remaining kebabs.
Warm the oil over medium-high heat in a large nonstick skillet until shimmering. Place the kebabs in the pan in a circular formation, making sure none of the kebabs touch. By the time you've placed your last kebab in the pan it will probably be time to start turning the first ones you set down. Cook, turning frequently, until browned all the way around and cooked all the way through, 10 to 15 minutes.
While the kebabs are cooking, make the simple dipping sauce. Combine the yogurt, the remaining cilantro and half the lime juice. Season with salt and pepper.Aarti's Hot (not heavy!) Homemade Garam Masala:
Combine the cinnamon, cloves, green cardamom seeds, black cardamom seeds, if using, in a spice grinder or coffee grinder and grind until fine. Store the spice mix in an airtight container away from direct sunlight. Yield: about 1/2 cup.