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Asma Khan's fish seekh kabab
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My mother would make this with bekti, a local barramundi fish of Bengal, but any kind of firm fish such as sea bream or salmon would work too. It’s best cooked on charcoal, and thin metal skewers are preferable. With experience, you will know the point when the cooked fish is at risk of breaking off. If you lose a couple of pieces to the coals, it’s OK. The smokiness of a barbecued fish is really wonderful. Be brave!
1kg firm fish fillets, skinned, boned and cut into 3-4cm cubes
For the first marinade
1 tsp garlic paste
3 tbsp lime juice, or juice of 2-3 limes
3 tsp salt
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
For the second marinade
4 tsp olive oil (this can be replaced with mustard oil)
200g full fat natural yogurt
4 tsp garlic paste or 6 cloves
2 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves or dill
4 fresh green chillies, finely chopped
3 tbsp melted butter or ghee
1. Mix the fish in a bowl with the ingredients for the first marinade. Ensure that all the pieces and every side is covered. Cover and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
2. Mix all the ingredients for the second marinade in a bowl. Remove the fish pieces from the first marinade and add to the second marinade bowl. Any excess liquid released by the fish in the first marinade should be discarded and not added to the second bowl with the fish. Cover and refrigerate for 4-5 hours.
3. Take the fish out of the fridge 20 minutes before cooking to bring it to room temperature. Light the barbecue or preheat a griddle or grill. Skewer the cubes of fish onto long, thin metal skewers. Leave 2.5cm space between each piece to allow it to cook evenly (discard any remaining marinade).
4. Cook the kababs over a medium/high heat. Sear well on one side before turning, then continue to seal and cook on all sides. Once the colour of the kabab starts to change (which may take between 8-10 minutes in total), baste with the butter or ghee as it cooks. My mother always told me to wait until the fish was sealed on the outside before basting, as the extra fat from the basting would help get a burnt tinge. Depending on the fish used, it should take just under 3 minutes of basting before the kabab is opaque, cooked through and ready to eat.
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