This is my favorite recipe from the New York Times magazine's Eat, Memory article series: Saratbhai's Shammi Kebabs. I've adapted them somewhat, and even though the recipe is a bit labor intensive, I have made them several times. This time I paired them with some naan and roasted eggplant. Next time, pickled eggplant on the side. I buy lamb from a stand at the Grand Army Plaza Farmer's Market--pricey, but definitely worth it.
Lamb Patties with Seasoned Yogurt
For the lamb
1 lb ground lamb
2 tbsp olive oil, or a blend of canola/olive
6 green cardamom seeds
1 1-inch cinnamon stick
6 whole cloves
1 tsp grated ginger (or more, according to your taste)
2 medium onions, chopped
2 tbsp red/orange lentils
pinches of salt
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 jalapeno chile pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 beaten egg
1 tbsp roasted chickpea flour or felafel
For the yogurt
1 cup of plain yogurt (non fat or not, your preference)
1 tbsp cilantro, chopped
cumin, coriander, paprika, salt and pepper
Combine the all ingredients up to and including nutmeg in a saucepan with 2 cups of water. Boil over medium heat until all of the water is evaporated (about 45 minutes). Be careful to not let the contents burn at the bottom, so stir frequently at the end. Just before all water is evaporated, add the chiles, coriander, cumin, and some salt. Let cool a bit, and remove cloves and cinnamon stick.
Grind the cooked meat mixture in a food processor or mini chopper until it is finely ground, but not completely smooth.
Return the meat to the saucepan and cook over medium heat until the mixture is drier and more pliable, about 10-15 minutes. Let the mixture cool. When cool, stir in cilantro, egg, and flour. Roll the meat into balls and press into patties.
Cook the patties in a cast-iron pan in olive oil. Flip gently, they will be delicate.
Season plain yogurt with cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, and paprika. You can add some chopped scallions and more cilantro if you like, but not necessary.
Serve with a vegetable side and/or naan.