The Indoor BBQ – Chicken Kebabs

Tonight I teach a class of 10 people how to recreate the BBQ experience ‘indoors’. An oxymoron ? Yes. A summer necessity? For some of us, most certainly YES! Not everybody has a backyard where they gather for casual fun, and a scrumptiously smoky BBQ. I know I certainly don’t. I wanted to share how I give my summer that ‘BBQ feeling’ by just using the bake and broil setting on my oven.

In Northern India, barbeques are very popular; only, they are made in a clay oven known as a ‘tandoor’. Tandoori dishes get their name from the process in which they are cooked; they also happen to be the dishes that get the most action at an Indian restaurant with sizzlers of tandoori chicken, lamb chops, kebabs, paneer and even bread called ‘naan’.

These dishes are cooked by inserting skewers of meat in to a drum-like furnace as they bubble and crackle away with intense heat and flames that surround them. However, most Indian home-cooks don’t have tandoors yet they still achieve great results by baking on very high heat to seal in meat juices and then flashing it under the broiler for some charring.

Today we will be making ground chicken kebabs. This dish is so versatile and very easy to come to count on because it is like making a spiced-up beef burger. Kebabs are often eaten with lots of salad and either rolled in a naan bread or stuffed into a pita pocket. I like to double or even triple up on the quantity so that I can freeze them and pull them out as I need them. Here are some suggestions for left-overs:

1)Chopped up and added to pasta sauce for that ‘spaghetti-meatball’ effect

2)Thrown in to a burger bun with mustard, ketch-up and pickle

3)Topped on a pizza

4)Sliced and added to a stew in it’s final stages of cooking

5)Sliced and sprinkled over romaine lettuce and topped with caser dressing and croutons

Chicken Kebabs


  • 1 lb of ground chicken (preferably from thigh)
  • ½ a medium sized onion, finely diced
  • 1 heaped tsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tbs. oil
  • Handful of fresh cilantro (incl. Stems)
  • ½ tsp. coriander powder
  • ½ tsp. garam masala or cumin powder (optional)
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • Salt to taste (usually 1 tsp. per pound if using iodized)
Kebab Mixture


1)Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2)Combine all the ingredients but avoid over mixing

3)Make about 12 patties`

4)Place them on a lined and greased sheet pan/ baking tray

5)Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes until the chicken bounces back a little when you press it in thecenter

*For extra charring, set to broil for a couple of minutes

Saira Malhotra, is of British –Indian descent and is a chef, food writer and cooking instructor based in New York City. Raised in Hounslow, U.K, or rather ‘Little India’, where the air is aromatic with roasted spices, little did Saira know these moments would follow her from being a student in France and Italy to residing in NYC with her husband and kids and parlay themselves unexpectedly in to a culinary career. She is a graduate of the International Culinary Center in New York City. Come visit her at her food blog: Passport Pantry where she shares approachable and international recipes.

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