Authentic Karachi-Street Style Bun Kababs

The last time I had Bun Kabab from ‘thela‘ (mobile cart) was 2 years ago, we were on a brief trip to Karachi, I was 7 months pregnant with Jucy Yusi and despite of clear instructions from midwife to eat only healthy food, I went ahead with consuming it coz how can you not have bun kabab when you are in Karachi? (I had to face the consequence after wards in the form of diarrhea but that’s another story). So, this lockdown, I started craving for bun kababs and the only way I could have them here (whether it’s lockdown or no lockdown) is to make myself. There’s no way out! Once you start craving anything, you’re trapped. You are the only one who can get you out, else it will keep haunting you. The irony. Anyways, with the craving increasing day by day, I gave in and made it so that I can move ahead with life.

My Version of Bun Kababs

Sharing my version of bun kababs down below. I made the very basic kinda bun kababs with toasted buns, lots of green chutney, patty, fried egg and a truck load of julienned onions inside. That’s it! No mayo, no ketchup, nothing coz i wanted it to be authentic. You can however add or subtract any filling you like coz there’s no right or wrong in cooking. Just do whatever you feel like.

Let’s quickly discuss the three basic fragments that constitute a bun kabab before diving into the recipe.

The Patty:

The main ingredient of bun kabab. Also, has so many variants. some of them are:

  • Daal (lentil) only
  • Aalu (potatoes) only
  • Daal and aalu
  • Daal and meat

I made the patty of chana daal (split bengal gram) and beef in the ratio of 2:1 with 2 being the chana daal and 1 part being beef (you can use chicken or lamb too). You can totally pick and choose, whatever works for you.

Green Tamarind Chutney:

Another important ingredient which I’d say is the most crucial one. It can either make it or break it. You can try using any variation of the green chutney at hand as well if you’re not in a mood to prepare it but don’t forget to add the tamarind pulp to it. Sometimes people add yoghurt to it too.

Veggies:

To keep it as close as authentic ones, I only used finely julienned onions in large quantity. People use a variety of veggies such as sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce leaves, julienned cabbage etc etc. Again, you can use any as per your liking. Sky is the limit!


ABOUT BUN KABABS:

The Bun Kababs are very popular street food in the sub-continent, also called Poor Man’s Burger. Usually comprised of shallow Fried patty (as discussed above) slathered with Green tamarind chutney (special sweet and spicy sauce) topped with veggies of your choice (mostly julienned onions).

Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Cuisine: Pakistani

Course:  Main/Side/Snack

Makes:20 pattiesEase level:🍔🍔🍔
Cooking Time:120 minsQuickness:🍔
Assembling Time:7-10 minsSpice Level:🍔🍔🍔
Above Ratings are out of 5 with 5 being the most
Above times are calculated based on normal cooking on stove

GET:

  • A wok/ Pot
  • Cooking spoon
  • Food Processor
  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Frying Pan
  • Tong

SET:

For the Patty:

  • Chana Daal (Split Bengal Gram) 500 gms
  • Beef cubes 250 gms
  • Ginger piece 1 inch
  • Garlic bulbs 7-9
  • Onion sliced 1
  • Salt 1.5 tsp
  • Red Chili Powder 1 tsp
  • Cumin Powder 1.5 tsp
  • Black peppers 1 tsp
  • Cloves 6-7
  • Cinnamon stick 1-2
  • Bay leaf 1-2
  • Button Chilies 10-11
  • Water 500ml

For Green Tamarind Chutney:

  • Mint leaves 1 cup
  • Coriander leaves 1 cup
  • Garlic bulbs 6-7
  • Green chilies 7-9
  • Tamarind chutney / Pulp 1/2 cup
  • Cumin seeds 1 tbsp
  • Salt 1/2 tsp
  • Chili flakes 1 tbsp
  • Chat masala 1 tsp

For Assembling:

  • Buns
  • Eggs 1 for each bun kabab
  • Onions finely julienned
  • Oil for frying and toasting

GO:

Patty:

  • In a pot, add in all the ingredients and cook on low heat (for about 2 hrs) until the lentil and meat is tenderized.
  • Dry out any excess water in the pot by cooking the mixture on high heat and constantly stirring it.
  • Grind the mixture in food processor, if needed
  • Make patties, keep aside

Green Tamarind Chutney:

  • Blend all the ingredients well, keep aside.

Assembling:

  • Beat the egg whites until they’re fluffy, add in the egg yolks and mix.
  • Coat the patties with beaten eggs mixture and shallow fry them.
  • Take out the fried patties and in the same pan (after cleaning it roughly), toast the buns from inside with some butter/oil.
  • Slather generous amount of green tamarind chutney on both inner sides of the toasted bun.
  • Put fried egg
  • Followed by fried patty
  • Finish off with loads of onions and seal the buns together.
  • Toast the outer sides of bun from both sides a bit.
  • Serve with Green Tamarind Chutney (with some added water)

Check out the fun Bun Kabab assembling video I made with HI that’s shared on my Instagram

MY TWO CENTS:

  • Adjust the spices to suit your taste buds.
  • You can make the patties with lentils only (just use the spices accordingly).
  • You can substitute garlic paste in place of garlic bulbs wherever needed in the recipe.
  • You can use ground spices instead of the Whole spices, I prefer using the whole ones coz I think they give better taste. Just take them out while forming the patties.
  • Take extra care while drying out the water on high heat, constant stirring is required or else the mixture might stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • For Green Tamarind Chutney, I used the Tamarind Chutney I had in my refrigerator (the recipe to chutney is here), you can use pulp or chutney, whatever is handy.
  • You can add in beaten yoghurt to the Green Tamarind Chutney to lessen the spice level, good to serve it this way to the kids.
  • Also, you can use whatever ready made Green chutney you have at hand, just don’t forget to add in a little bit of tamarind chutney/pulp to it.
  • Use fresh buns.
  • You can skip the part in which I am beating the egg whites until they’re fluffy. This is just a way to attain the conventional ‘Thela’ (mobile cart) look.
  • The eggs aren’t mandatory, you can skip using them entirely if you have to cater certain dietary requirements.
  • Use mayo and/or any combination of veggies you want. This is just a basic rather authentic recipe, there are lots of different versions of bun kababs available in the market. Feel free to make your version.

Hope you’ll enjoy trying it out.
I’d love to get your feedback. Feel free to drop a comment below about your experience.

Satisfy your craving and

Happy Cooking!

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