by Asif Ali
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A Pakistani BBQ delicacy, Bihari Kabab are thin strips of beef marinated in a spicy homemade masala and finished off with coal smoke. Traditionally they are grilled over charcoal but to make it easy for everyone in this recipe they are cooked in a pan.


  • 500 g beef tenderloin strips flattened
  • ⅓ cup mustard oil plus extra for frying
  • 1 medium onion sliced
  • 2 green cardamom
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon white cumin
  • 1 teaspoon black cumin NOT nigella seeds
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • 4-5 red button chilies
  • ¼ teaspoon mace powder
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon meat tenderizer or 1 tablespoon papaya paste
  • ¼ cup yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste


  • Heat mustard oil and fry the onions till they are golden brown. Strain the oil and keep aside to use in marination later. Grind the onions finely.
  • Heat another clean pan. Add green cardamom, bay leaves, poppy seeds, coriander seeds, white cumin, black cumin and red button chilies. Roast these for 1-2 mins on medium-high heat until they are fragrant.
  • Cool slightly and add to your grinder. Grind till they turn into a powder.
  • In this powder, further add mace powder, nutmeg powder, salt, red chili powder, paprika powder and garam masala. Mix. This is your Bihari Kabab seasoning.
  • To the beef strips, add the prepared seasoning, yogurt, ginger garlic paste, meat tenderizer and the leftover mustard oil. Mix well and leave to marinate for 2-4 hours. If you plan to marinate overnight then add the meat tenderizer just 2 hours before cooking.
  • Take a metal or wooden skewers. If wooden, pre-soak them in water for 30 mins to avoid burning. Take a strip of beef and start threading it into your skewer. Thread 4-5 beef strips onto each skewer (it may vary depending on the length of your skewer). See the process in the video above.
  • At this point, you can barbecue these kababs on a charcoal grill or bake them in oven.
  • For pan-frying, heat 1-2 tablespoon of mustard oil in a pan. Then place your skewers and cook till they are no longer pink and cooked through.
  • Put all the Bihari Kabab in a deep pan with a lid. Place a piece of foil in the middle and put a hot coal on it. Drizzle some oil and immediately cover the pan with lid or foil tightly. Give smoke for 8-10 mins.
  • Garnish with fresh coriander, lemon wedges and red onion slices.


  • Use 4-6 unsalted cashews if poppy seeds are not available. 
  • In Pakistan, you can ask your butcher to give you ‘pasanday’ meat or undercut meat for Bihari Kabab.

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