Chapli Bun Kabab Recipe; From Nursery, With Love

Karachi's mashoor chapli bun kabab recipe

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If you live in Karachi, it is next to impossible for you to not have tried the chapli kabab bun kabab from Nursery. And once you have, it’s really difficult to not get cravings for this delicious, spicy, crispy, juicy, and beyond flavorful burger.

*insert 5 minute pause to place an order for 22 chapli bun kababs from nursery for the HTV team*.

But just in case you’re home, and can’t make it to Nursery, here’s an excellent recipe that comes pretty damn close to the original.

Also read: Pakistani Chicken Chow Mein Recipe

What are some of the things we need to consider?

  • The bun
  • The chutney
  • The chapli kabab
  • The condiments
  • The technique
THE BUN

Please don’t use the commercially packaged buns that you’ll find at your local store. Your best bet would be to head to a local bakery and do a little poke and feel. Before you start thinking of me as an utter weirdo, hear me out. I think the best way to gauge the freshness of a bun is by feeling it (yes, you can tell through the plastic packaging). If you feel your finger sink in, then you know it’s the right degree of softness. It also needs to be the correct thickness since it can’t get too soggy and break apart with the weight of the fillings, and it needs to be sturdy enough to be toasted, pressed and further toasted.

THE CHUTNEY

I feel that chutney should be customized according to what one prefers. The traditional nursery bun kabab has a spicy imli chutney that you can visibly see the red chili flakes stand out in. However, I personally prefer a mix of one chutney (be it imli or green) and one raita. The decision to stay authentic or try a slight variation, is entirely yours.

THE CHAPLI KABAB

Ah, the star of the show. The chapli kabab is not a difficult kabab to make- but, it can sometimes be tricky to fry without it breaking. There are a couple of tips to consider here: One, is the addition of binding agents; in this recipe we’re using chickpea flour (besan) and egg. The second tip is to make sure that your chopped onions, tomatoes, chilies and herbs are added to the mixture at the very last minute. If they go in beforehand, then they will release water and therefore cause the kababs to crumble. It would also be wise to ensure that your mince has been drained of as much water as possible.

THE CONDIMENTS

These are pretty straight-forward; you have one lettuce leaf, one tomato slice, sliced onions (soaked in vinegar) and a sprinkling of chaat masala.

THE TECHNIQUE

It is absolutely essential to get the toast-iness of the bun just right. The cut side of the bun has to be toasted in a little oil- make sure the pan and the oil are hot before toasting the bun; if the oil is tepid then the bun will absorb too much oil. The cut side will be toasted more than the outer bun, press slightly as you toast.

The bun will first get a good slop of chutney followed by onions, a lettuce leaf, the chapli, tomato and if desired, some green raita to top it off. After the bun kabab is fully assembled, then it will be toasted again while pressing the top of the bun kabab so the condiments are fully assimilated.

Well now you know everything that you could possibly know about this bun kabad- let’s get down to the actual recipe.

Related: Aloo Ki Tarakari and Some Nostalgia

Ingredients

4 bun kabab buns

Tomato slices

Lettuce leaves

Sliced onions soaked in vinegar

Oil, for frying

For chapli kababs:

½ kg beef mince (you can use chicken if preferred)

1 tsp. ginger garlic paste

Turmeric, a pinch

1 tsp. roasted and crushed coriander seeds

¼ tsp. black pepper, crushed

1 tsp. roasted and crushed cumin

Salt, to taste

1 tsp. red chili flakes

1 heaped tbsp. dried pomegranate seeds (roughly crushed)

3 tbsp. roasted gram flour (besan)

1 egg

2 tbsp. butter, melted

1 tomato, remove pulp and dice

1 small onion, diced

3 green chilies, finely chopped

½ bunch coriander leaves, chopped

2 tbsp. mint leaves, chopped

For chutney:

½ cup tamarind pulp

¾ cup water

Salt, to taste

2 tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. red chili flakes

1 tsp. roasted and ground cumin (zeera)

A pinch of ginger powder

Raita (optional):

1 bunch coriander leaves

½ bunch mint leaves

3-4 green chilies

2 tbsp. yogurt

Salt and pepper, to taste

Method:

For raita: Blend all the ingredients together.

Imli ki chutney: mix all the ingredients in a saucepan and cook until you reach the desired consistency. It should be slightly watery.

For chapli kababs: drain the mince of any excess water and marinate with all the ingredients EXCEPT the tomatoes and onions. Marinate for at least 2 hours.

Add the tomatoes and onions right before shaping and frying the kababs since we want to avoid too much moisture.

Shape the kababs and flatten them with the heel of your palm, make them as thin as you can without them breaking.

Shallow fry in hot oil until cooked through.

For buns: heat one tablespoon oil and place the buns (halved) cut side down on the pan, toast them well. The crunch on these bun kababs is quite distinct.

Assembling: one side of the bun, imli ki chutney, lettuce leaf, chapli kabab, tomato, raita, other side of the bun. Once assembled, toast the whole bun kabab while pressing down on the bun.

Voila, your Chapli Bun Kabab is tayyaar!

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