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Beef Seekh Kabob

What are Seekh Kabobs?

Seekh means skewers, and kabob refers to meat cooked over a fire. Beef Seekh kebabs are grilled meat skewers traditionally seasoned with aromatic spices like cumin, coriander, and garam masala. Serve them with cucumber raita, mint chutney, and naan or roti.

History of the Beef Seekh Kabob

Seekh kabobs trace their origins back to Turkey, where they are known as shish kebabs. Shish means sword in English – a reference to the skewer the meat cooks on, and kabob refers to anything roasted over open flame. And well, the rest is history.

Though the flavors and ingredients have transformed over time (depending on the region), it remains a popular meal all over South Asia. Form the kabobs using spiced minced meat or ground meat, usually lamb, beef, or chicken, into a cylindrical shape on skewers and cook them on an outdoor grill to perfection.

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Whole Spices: Toast coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and fennel seeds, and grind them into a fine powder to deeply flavor the ground beef Seekh kabobs.
  • Aromatics: Combine white or red onions, garlic, ginger, green chilies (jalapeño or serrano peppers), and fresh cilantro leaves. You can leave them as it is or puree them with the spices before kneading them into the meat mixture.
  • Ground Beef: Higher fat content in the ground beef can cause the meat to pull away from the skewers and fall into the flame. I use 80/20 ground beef. You can also use ground lamb, ground chicken, or a combination of ground beef and lamb, which all taste amazing! If you love beef, try one of these easy ground beef recipes!
  • Ground Spices: Season the kabob mixture with a variety of spices such as garam masala, salt, Kashmiri chili powder (or red chili powder for more heat), and red pepper flakes for the best flavor.
  • GheeGhee has a warm, nutty flavor and prevents the kabobs from sticking to the grill. You can also use olive oil. 

Additions and Substitutions

  • Replace the ground beef with a different type of meat like ground lamb or chicken, turkey, elk, or bison.
  • Use coriander powder, cumin powder, and ground fennel instead of toasting and grinding the whole spices. 
  • Include herbs like fresh mint leaves or parsley in the ground kabob mixture. 
  • Sprinkle a small amount of chat masala over the beef Seekh kabobs before serving them.
  • Some family recipes call for chickpea flour or eggs as a binding agent for the kabobs, but kneading the mixture does the trick without including it. 

Tools Used to Make the Recipe

If you plan to bake the kabobs, you’ll need a wooden skewer or thin metal skewers and a rimmed baking sheet. However, if you prefer to prepare the beef Seekh kabobs using a gas or charcoal grill, you’ll only need thin skewers and something to transport the kabobs back and forth.

I also prefer using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment to knead the ground beef mixture, but I recommend adding a splash of water if you choose to do so. Process until the mixture starts sticking to the bowl. Using a mixer isn’t necessary, but it gives the kebabs a perfect sticky texture to secure the meat to the skewers.

How to Make Beef Seekh Kabob

The full recipe with measurements is in the recipe card below.

Step 1: Warm a skillet over medium heat. Add the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and fennel seeds. Toast for 5 minutes and transfer the dry spices to a spice grinder. Process them into a fine powder and set it aside.

Whole spices toasting in the pan.

Step 2:

Option 1: Finely dice the vegetables and add them to a large mixing bowl.

Option 2: Add the onions, garlic, ginger, green chilies, and cilantro to a food processor or blender and process until smooth.

Onions and peppers in a food processor.

Step 3: Place the ground beef in a mesh strainer and use your hands to press out any excess moisture. Then, transfer the meat to the mixing bowl.

Step 4: Add the toasted spices, onions, garlic, green chilies, cilantro, garam masala, kosher salt, Kashmiri chili powder, red pepper flakes, and ghee to the ground beef. Combine with your hands and knead for 5 minutes until the meat is tender and stringy.

Ground spices, onions, and chiles with ground beef in a bowl.

Step 5: Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Covering the marinated meat.

Step 6: Remove the ground beef mixture from the refrigerator. Hold a metal skewer with one hand and form a palm-size amount of beef onto the skewer using your other hand; be sure the meat wraps around the entire skewer with no spaces or cracks.

Beef Seekh kabob onto skewers.

Tip: Dip your hand in ice water to smooth the meat onto the skewer. Repeat with the remaining ingredients until all the skewers are loaded.

For the Oven:

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 450℉ (232℃). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set the skewers on it. Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating the kabobs every 10 minutes to ensure even cooking.

Beef Seekh kabob baking in the oven.

Step 2: Slide the kabobs off the skewers and onto a serving plate. Let them rest for 10 minutes before serving with raita and fresh bread.

Beef kabobs cooling on a rimmed baking sheet.

For the Grill:

Step 1: Remove the grates from your gas grill and set them aside. Adjust the burners to high heat for 10 minutes to preheat the grill before adding the kabobs.

Beef seekh kabobs on the grill.

Step 2: Set the skewers on the grill over high heat. Cover and cook for 6 minutes. Then, flip the kabobs and cook on high heat for another 6 minutes.

Beef seekh kabobs on the grill.
Beef Seekh kabobs on a serving plate.

Expert Tips

  • Knead the meat mixture in a food processor or a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. You can also knead the mixture by hand.
  • Use skinny kabob skewers for the meat to adhere to and cook from the inside out. 
  • Leave a large bowl of cold water next to the kabob meat. Dip your hand into the water before forming the kabobs to keep the mixture cool and prevent the meat from sticking to your hand. 
  • After forming the beef onto the skewers, line them onto a baking sheet for easy transportation to the grill or pop them straight into the oven. 
  • Preheat the grill and clean the grates or remove them before grilling. You don’t want the kabobs to stick! 

If you enjoy this meal, try one of these Pakistani recipes!  

Beef seekh kabob in a serving dish.

Serving Suggestions

What to do with the Leftovers

  • Refrigerate: Store the leftover kabobs in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
  • Freeze: Let the kabobs cool, and transfer them to a freezer-safe container or bag. Beef Seekh kabobs freeze for 2-3 months.
  • Thaw: Defrost the meat in the refrigerator overnight.
  • How to Reheat Beef Seekh Kababs: Warm the leftovers in the microwave or on a skillet over medium heat.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I knead the mixture?

In his book The Food Lab, J. Kenji Lopez Alt explains that kneading ground meat for kabobs helps bind the protein. I find the process helpful because I can easily spot larger pieces of onions and peppers (if chopping instead of pureeing).

More Indian Recipes:

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Beef Seekh kabob in a serving dish.

Beef Seekh Kabob

Tressa Jamil
Make easy beef Seekh kabobs a part of your weekly dinner rotation. The Pakistani grilled beef skewers are flavorful and perfect for meal prep.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Marinating Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Course Appetizer, Dinner
Cuisine Indian, Pakistani
Servings 10 Kabobs
Calories 156 kcal
Ingredients
  
  • tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • ½ tablespoon fennel seeds
  • ½ medium yellow onion, finely diced
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 – inch fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 green peppers, stems and seeds removed, and finely diced
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef, 80/20
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoon ghee
Instructions
 
  • Warm a skillet over medium heat. Add the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and fennel seeds. Toast for 5 minutes and transfer the dry spices to a spice grinder. Process them into a fine powder and set it aside.
  • Option 1: Finely dice the vegetables and add them to a mixing bowl.
    Option 2: Add the onions, garlic, ginger, green chilies, and cilantro to a food processor or blender and process until smooth.
  • Place the ground beef in a mesh strainer and use your hands to press out any excess moisture. Then, transfer the meat to the mixing bowl.
  • Add the toasted spices, onions, garlic, green chilies, cilantro, garam masala, kosher salt, Kashmiri chili powder, red pepper flakes, and ghee to the ground beef. Combine with your hands and knead for 5 minutes until the meat is tender and stringy.
  • Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Remove the ground beef mixture from the refrigerator. Hold a metal skewer with one hand and form a palm-size amount of beef onto the skewer using your other hand; be sure the meat wraps around the entire skewer with no spaces or cracks.
    Tip: Dip your hand in ice water to smooth the meat onto the skewer. Repeat with the remaining ingredients until all the skewers are loaded.

For the Oven:

  • Preheat the oven to 450℉ (232℃). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set the skewers on it. Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating the kabobs every 10 minutes to ensure even cooking.
  • Slide the kabobs off the skewers and onto a serving plate. Let them rest for 10 minutes before serving with raita and fresh bread.

For the Grill:

  • Remove the grates from your gas grill and set them aside. Adjust the burners to high heat for 10 minutes to preheat the grill before adding the kabobs.
  • Set the skewers on the grill over high heat. Cover and cook for 6 minutes. Then, flip the kabobs and cook on high heat for another 6 minutes.
Notes
Expert Tips:
  • Knead the meat mixture in a food processor or a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. You can also knead the mixture by hand.
  • Use skinny kabob skewers for the meat to adhere to and cook from the inside out. 
  • Leave a large bowl of cold water next to the kabob meat. Dip your hand into the water before forming the kabobs to keep the mixture cool and prevent the meat from sticking to your hand. 
  • After forming the beef onto the skewers, line them onto a baking sheet for easy transportation to the grill or pop them straight into the oven. 
  • Preheat the grill and clean the grates or remove them before grilling. You don’t want the kabobs to stick! 
Nutrition Disclosure:
  • The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for professional advice.
Nutrition
Serving: 1 Kabob | Calories: 156 kcal | Carbohydrates: 3 g | Protein: 8 g | Fat: 12 g | Saturated Fat: 5 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5 g | Trans Fat: 1 g | Cholesterol: 40 mg | Sodium: 387 mg | Potassium: 178 mg | Fiber: 1 g | Vitamin A: 136 IU | Vitamin C: 2 mg | Calcium: 30 mg | Iron: 2 mg
Did you make this recipe? Let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and follow @thejamilghar or tag #thejamilghar on Instagram!
5 from 2 votes (2 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating