Chapli Kabab Recipe

6 Mins read
Chapli Kabab Recipe

It’s here! A Chapli Kabab recipe that’s simple and easy to Chapli Kabab Recipe make yet tastes like it’s from an Afghan or Pakistani restaurant. This recipe includes tips on how to get them crisp and juicy without breaking. Tested to perfection!

I know, I know…just another food blogger claiming their recipe is “the best”. But, I’m not calling it the best in vain. The recipe below will be a hit, I can almost promise you that. I’ve had 3 beta testers confirm, Chapli Kabab Recipe with one saying it’s probably one of the best recipes on Tea for Turmeric. But while I’ve taken care of the formula for you, you’ll have to make them. And you can do it like a pro with these tips.


Here are my top tips to make next-level Chapli Kabab with the perfect texture:

  1. Overcooking (overfrying?) = crumbly, tough, dry kabab.
    What makes restaurant Chapli kabab so soft and bendy (besides the excess amounts of fat😅)? A shorter frying time! So, once the exterior is nice and crusty and interior is just cooked, remove from heat. As soon as it’s overcooked, there goes the softness.
  2. More hot oil = more browning. This is why street vendors straight deep fry them.
  3. Think flat & thin. Chapli Kabab aren’t thick, stubby hamburger patties. Try get them thin (~1/3 inch), and if they start to shrink or puff up while cooking, flatten them with the back of a spoon or spatula. Don’t worry about making them perfectly round. Rough edges add character!
Chapli Kabab Recipe


Chapli kabab are thin ground beef patties made with aromatics and Chapli Kabab Recipe spices. Unlike your usual grilled kebabs, Chapli Kabab are fried so they’re browned on the outside and tender on the inside.

Chapli Kabab have a unique flavor, with ingredients like dried pomegranate seeds (anardana) to lend them a slight tang and coarsely ground coriander to enhance their already crispy exterior.

Originally a delicacy around the Afghanistan and Pakistan frontier, they are now a popular street food and restaurant favorite.

Chapli Kabab Recipe


Chapli Kabab originate from Peshawar, a city in Khyber Chapli Kabab Recipe Pakhtunkhwa (the same area that’s produced some of my favorites foods like Karahi).

While there’s no prevalent story about their origin, the ingredients reflect the culinary taste of the North Pakistan/East Afghanistan region – simple, not overtly spicy, yet so flavorful.


Here are two theories:

  1. One theory (endorsed by the blog Afghan Cooks) is that Chapli is a derivation of the Pashto word “chaprikh”, meaning flat.
  2. The other theory is that it gets its name from its oval-shaped resemblance to a “chapal“, or slipper, in Urdu & Dari. (This explains why many people call them Chapal Kabab.)
Chapli Kabab Recipe


Only two of the required ingredients warrant a trip to the Desi Grocery Store:

  • Dried Pomegranate seeds (Anardana): These are a key ingredient that help make Chapli Kabab..well..Chapli Kabab. They add a slight tang and crunch. I love adding the full 2 tablespoons (more than most recipes!) but you can decrease to one tablespoon to make them more subtle.
    • If you positively don’t like the crunch, a great substitute is 2-3 teaspoons of pomegranate powder or even pomegranate molasses.
  • Corn Flour (Makki ka atta) or Gram flour (Besan): Helps bind the kababs while enhancing the taste. Though some authentic recipes insist corn flour (which is like cornmeal but finer) is the only way to go, I know gram flour/besan (different from chickpea flour) is much more likely to already be in your pantry. Plus, I tested it & they both work perfectly well.
Chapli Kabab Recipe

The rest of the ingredients are more commonly available. Here are notes on most of them:

  • Ground Beef: Restaurants and street vendors use much more fat than we’re accustomed to. I suggest using regular ground beef (20% fat), but you can get away with as low as 12% fat.
  • Whole Spices:
    • Coriander seeds – Add texture and subtle flavor. 3 tablespoons may seem like an aggressive amount, but trust me – my favorite Afghan restaurants do this. I’ve just followed suit.
    • Cumin seeds – Another essential.
    • Carom Seeds – Optional – Use if you already have them!
  • Red chili flakes: These add textured spice rather than making the kababs very spicy. Add more if you’d like more spicy!
  • Green chili peppers: Used for color and heat. I use Thai/birds eye or Serrano, but you can use jalapeño or any other type of green chili.
  • Red onion: Adds moisture, texture, and taste. You can sub yellow or other onion, but I like the taste and how they don’t release too much excess moisture. If your onions happen to be too watery, squeeze out the moisture before adding to the kababs.
  • Spring onions (scallions): One of my favorite Afghan restaurants in Houston uses only spring onions. I adore the complex flavor they add along with the red onion.
  • Tomato: For texture, freshness, and subtle tart-sweet flavor. Because they release moisture, it’s important to finely dice them instead of blitzing in a food processor. Some kabab houses take a slice of tomato and slap it on one side of the kabab while frying. Tried it. Prefer tomatoes intermingling.
  • Raw egg: Binds and moistens kababs. In some recipes, you’ll also find coarsely crushed pieces of soft-boiled or scrambled eggs in the kababs, which is meant to make them more tender. I tried adding & didn’t find them worth the effort.
  • Oil: Many recipes use ghee (or even tallow fat) to fry them. I find it gets heavy & overpowering with ghee, so I stick to oil.
  • Garlic + Ginger: Very finely chop/mince these using a food processor. You can also crush using a mortar & pestle.


  • Toast & grind the spices. Toasting deepens the flavor while removing the raw taste of the spices. Add them to a spice grinder (or even a food processor) along with the pomegranate seeds. Roughly crush.
Toasted coriander and cumin seeds in a skillet. Chapli Kabab Recipe
image 4
  • Toast the corn flour or gram flour. Again, enhances the nutty flavor of the corn flour. You can probably get away with not toasting, but I toast. It takes 5 minutes. You can do it. Or not. Follow your heart on this one.
Chapli Kabab Recipe
image 6
  • Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, including the prepped ones above.
  • Mix/knead the dough vigorously until you can see the stringy texture of the meat. You can also use the paddle attachment of a stand mixer to do this.
Chapli Kabab Recipe
image 8
  • Fry! There are 2 ways to do this. The first one is obvious. Shape into patties. But, if you can, smash them directly on the pan.

Option 2 for Frying – Smash Burger Method: There’s a reason the street vendors place a ball of the mixture onto the large pan and then slap it flat. It’s the same technique used by hamburger restaurants – the smash burger method.

If you form them into patties before frying, it doesn’t give the same amount of crust that you get from smashing the burgers directly on the pan. (That said, I certainly don’t have the dexterity of Kenji nor Chapli Kabab street vendors and therefore think it’s perfectly acceptable to shape them beforehand.)

Quick Tip: If using the smash burger method, the bottom of the spatula can stick to the burger. To prevent that, dip the spatula in oil so it doesn’t stick to the patty while you press down on it.

  • Serve immediately with a sprinkle of ground coriander and cilantro.


  • Don’t skimp on fat. 20% is ideal, but you can get away with 12% and still have them hold shape.
  • Like I mentioned earlier, try not to cook for too long as that can dry out the beef. As soon as the exterior is crusty, remove from heat.
  • Egg adds softness, so if the mixture seems dry, try adding a bit more.


Here are 3 key tips to prevent Chapli Kabab from falling apart: Chapli Kabab Recipe

  1. Knead the mixture so it’s homogenous instead of crumbly. Same technique as Seekh Kabab – kneading the meat helps bind the meat proteins (similar to how gluten binds flour!).
  2. Squeeze out any moisture from the tomatoes and onions and drain out any moisture from the ground beef (pat dry with a paper towel if needed). If you think moisture is what’s breaking them, add an extra tablespoon of corn flour or besan.
  3. Flip carefully. Slide your spatula all the way underneath the kababs and use another small spatula to hold the kababs in place. (See video for visual instruction.) If needed, make them smaller so they’re easier to turn.


You can store the mixture or formed kababs in the fridge, airtight, up to a day. You can also refrigerate for 1-2 days after frying them. When ready to serve, either reheat in the microwave, lightly fry, or air-fry the kababs to help get the crisp back.


Like Seekh & Shami Kababs, Chapli Kabab are freezer-friendly.

  • Omit tomatoes: You want as little water as possible in the kababs to prevent them from getting icy. Omitting tomatoes is a surefire way to prevent the possibility of breaking after thawing.
  • To freeze, shape the patties, then store them between layers of parchment paper so the kababs don’t stick together. Store in an airtight container in the freezer.

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