You’ll often see Nargis Kebab described as an Indian Scotch egg, in so far as it consists of a flavoured meat mixture wrapped around a boiled egg and then cooked, either by frying or baking in the oven.
Over the years, we’ve found that the presence of Nargis Kebab in a cookbook or on a restaurant menu has become a kind of a litmus test for authenticity and quality.
That doesn’t mean, of course, that its absence indicates bad times ahead for the reader or the diner, just that whenever we’ve happened across Nargis Kebab we’ve never been disappointed.
Sometimes a recipe will use small hen’s eggs, but in our experience it makes for a better Nargis kebab if you go the extra yard and track down quail’s eggs.
I’m flagging this recipe as being of “Medium” difficulty, mainly because it can be a bit tricky to get the egg dead centred in an even, round, meatball, as the eggs have a shiny, slippery surface, meaning the meat has a tendency to want to slip off the egg.
I’ve found that it works best to just get the egg covered with the meat mixture to begin with, and then work the meat into an even and compact layer around the egg afterwords.
You’ll know if you’ve got it “wrong” – if the egg isn’t dead centred the kebabs just might possibly split open at the point where the meat coating around the egg is at its thinnest. Fret not, mon ami, it will still taste divine.
Nargis kebab works well as a starter if just one kebab is served, or by doubling or even trebling the amount as a main course. I like to keep things simple as regards serving the kebabs, with just a basic curry sauce and a salad on the side. You could always, of course, beef things up somewhat by serving cauliflower rice or Paleo naan breads, too.
Nargis Kebabs - Indian Scotch Eggs
- 1 batch of basic curry sauce – see my recipe here
- Quail’s eggs – see notes
- 850g minced beef
- 1 hen’s egg, beaten
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp ginger powder
- ½ tsp extra hot chilli powder
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- ½ tsp cinnamon powder
- 1 tsp powdered cloves
- Coconut oil
- Fresh coriander (cilantro) and chives, to garnish
- Make the curry sauce (see here). Set aside.
- Hard boil the quail eggs. Place them in a medium sized pan, cover with water, bring to a boil, and simmer for 4 minutes. Drain and refresh. Set aside in a small bowl of cold water.
- Place the minced beef in a large mixing bowl. Add the onion powder, garlic powder, ginger powder, extra hot chilli powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, cinnamon powder, and powdered cloves. Mix well with your hands. Place in the fridge for about an hour or so to let the meat take on the flavours of the spices.
- Pre-heat the oven to 190°C.
- Remove the quail’s eggs from the water. Carefully peel them.
- Take the meat out of the fridge, and allow to come to room temperature. Add the beaten hen’s egg, and mix very well again by hand.
- Form the kebabs. Take a portion of the meat mixture slightly bigger than a golf ball, but not quite as large as a tennis ball. Flatten it out into a disk shape. Place a peeled quail’s egg in the centre, and form the meat around the egg, so that it sits in the middle of a meaty globe. Repeat for the rest of the meat mixture. From 850g of minced beef, I got 9 kebabs.
- Line a baking tray with aluminium foil. Place the kebabs on the tray. Give each kebab a small drizzle of melted coconut oil. Bake the kebabs for approx. 40 mins, or until they turn golden brown. Keep an eye on them after the 20 minute mark, anyroad.
- Remove the kebabs from the oven, and place on kitchen paper to drain. Serve with the re-heated curry sauce, and any simple salad given a subtle dusting of chaat masala. Garnish liberally with chopped chives and coriander.
I bought the quail’s eggs in a packet of 18 from our friendly neighbourhood Chinese supermarket. I hard boiled them all, as I was unsure as to how many kebabs I would be able to make from the amount of meat I had, and there was the added uncertainty of the possibility of any number of the eggs splitting and spoiling during the cooking process.
As I state above, I managed to make 9 kebabs in total. 1 egg self-destructed in the pan, leaving 8 eggs leftover. No problem there, they’ll find their way into an as yet undecided salad tomorrow.