Chicken Reshmi Kebab: Tender Bites Cooked Over Coal
Image Credit: Kebabs

The list of cuisines emerging from the ‘tandoor-style-of-cooking’ is endless, for it is deep-rooted in the history of Indian cuisine. While there is the ever-famous tandoori chicken, cooked over fire until juicy, there is a variation called kebabs. Highly different in preparation, use of spices, and cooking style, kebabs are divine. Kebab platters include ‘Tunde kebab’ and ‘galouti kebab’, but one of the most loved is the melt-in-the-mouth ‘reshmi kebab’. A dish prepared using meat, a kebab can be made with either mutton or chicken. However, the concept of reshmi kebab involved the use of beaten meat that is smooth and creamy in texture and filled with aromatic spices. 

Marinated in the legacy of medieval kitchens   

A lot of Mughal influences are involved in the process of making kebabs, like the spices and meat. The meat used is always boneless, which is then cooked over heat, after marinating the meat in a mix of yoghurt and spices. A few kebabs entail chunks of meat that have been marinated overnight in curd, cream, cashew nut paste and spices, and are grilled in a tandoor. Then there is reshmi kebab, comprising a mix of aromatic spices with the heavily beaten meat, which is silky aka ‘reshmi’ in texture. As per Arab author Ibn Sayyar al-Warraq's 10th-century cookbook Kitab al-Tabikh, kabābs are described as cut-up meat fried in a pan or grilled over a fire. Some historical accounts suggest that kebab is a preparation mainly associated with an assortment of meat dishes being cooked first in the medieval kitchens of Persia and Anatolia. Then there is an account by the famous Moroccan traveler, Ibn Battuta, which narrates that kebabs were served in the royal court during the Delhi Sultanate. The traveler further writes that this spicy meat became the most relished breakfast item served with naan. Another account says that kebab was a dish invented by the fighting soldiers who would roast the meat stuck in their swords over fire. However, in the late 17th century the word kebab traveled to the English-speaking crowd through Hindustani, Persian, and Turkish cuisine. Over centuries, as kebab moved through India with the Mughals, it evolved adopting native spices and cooking styles.  


For marination

1. ½ cup soaked and peeled almonds

2. Coriander leaves

3. ½ cup Onions

4. 1 tsp Ginger

5. 1 tsp Garlic

6. 1 tbsp Green chilli

7. Salt

8. ½ cup Curd

Other ingredients

1. 2 cups Chicken leg boneless

2. Oil

3. Butter

4. 6 Pita pockets

For Salad

1. ¼ cup julienned Cucumber

2. ¼ cup julienned Onions

3. ¼ cup julienned Cabbage

4. ½ tsp Black pepper

5. 2 tbsp Mayonnaise

6. 1 tbsp Mint chutney


1. In a blender, add all the marination ingredients and blend till it attains a smooth paste-like texture.

2. In a big bowl or a plate add chicken, marination paste, oil, and salt as per taste and mix well. Let the chicken sit and marinate for an hour or more.

3. Now stick the chicken pieces on a skewer and place them on the charcoal grill. Keep applying butter and grill until the chicken starts to leave juice and the edges are charred.

4. Once done, grill the pita pockets.

5. In a bowl, add julienned veggies, mayonnaise, mint chutney and salt, and mix.

6. Cut the pita pockets. Open one pocket, fill the salad mixture, and add the cooked chicken.