Vegan Shami Kabab

Crunchy from the outside and melt-in-the-mouth inside. These kababs are so good that you won’t be able to resist eating just one.

In case you might be wondering after looking at the picture if these are the usual shami kababs (with meat), let me clarify once again for you. These are actually meatless kababs that taste incredibly delicious. I was myself surprised when I first tried them.

Why meatless?

Although I still enjoy my beef shami kababs occasionally, the vegan version could be eaten more often. I have been trying to reduce my meat intake lately, especially red meat. Here are my reasons:

  • Excessive red meat consumption can lead to increased cholesterol levels.
  • Good quality red meat is quite expensive, which makes it very heavy on the budget.
  • Producing meat has a huge environmental impact. I would like to contribute to the planet by reducing my meat intake.

Do these kababs taste the same as beef shami kababs?

These do not have beef, so naturally they won’t taste beefy. Having said that, these are in no way less delicious. They taste quite similar but have a little less bite to them. They have a melt-in-your-mouth texture, which makes them very addictive.

Ways to serve the Vegan Shami Kababs

Other than having these kababs straight out of the pan with some green chutney and lemon marinated onion, here are some of the ways you can use them:

Can I cook these using an Instant pot or a pressure cooker?

Yes, pressure cooking will reduce the cooking time (by almost half). I have included the instructions for cooking in an Instant pot and pressure cooker in the recipe too.

Ingredients at a glance

I kept the ingredients relatively simple so that most of you can find them easily.


  • Chana daal (bengal gram): It could easily be found at any Indian store.
  • Garam masala: I prefer using my own homemade blend of garam masala. But you can use a good quality store bought one as well.
  • Soy chunks/ Soya chunks: I bought mine from Aldi. You can use any other brand as well. These are available by the name Soja in Germany.

Watch the video instructions below to follow the recipe easily.

Vegan Shami Kabab

Crunchy from outside and melt-in-your-mouth from inside. These kababs are seriously addictive.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Soaking time 2 hours
Course Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine Fusion, Indian
Servings 6 pieces


  • 50 grams (¼ cup) chana daal (bengal gram)
  • 1 big white onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 5 cm piece of ginger
  • 50 grams (1 ½ cups) soy chunks (soya chunks)
  • ½ tsp garam masala (1 tsp if using store bought)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 300 ml water
  • a handful of fresh coriander
  • 1-2 green chilies
  • 2 Tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil


  • Wash the chana daal thoroughly and soak it for at least 2 hours (longer if you have time).
  • Dice the onion, ginger and garlic in small pieces.
  • Take a big pot and all the soaked (drained) chana daal into it. Add the chopped onion, ginger and garlic, garam masala, soy chunks, salt and water. Give everything a good mix.
  • Put a lid on at put it on low heat. Let cook for 40-60 minutes until the daal is tender. Check halftime and if you see that the mixture is drying up, add about 200 ml (½ cup) more of water.
  • If using Instant Pot of pressure cooker: Cook on high pressure for 20-25 minutes.
  • Check the daal for doneness by squishing it between a finger and the spatula. It should mash completely without having any solid particles left. If it still looks undone, cook until it's tender. Add more water if required.
  • After the daal is tender, open the lid and turn heat on high. Dry out any excess liquid completely that might have left. Keep this kabab mixture aside to cool down slightly.
  • Chop the fresh coriander and chili roughly.
  • Add the cooled down kabab mixture into a food processor along with the chopped coriander and green chili, and the whole wheat flour. Process until you have a homogenous mixture, scraping the sides several times in between. The mixture should be smooth and bind together nicely. If yours look too wet, add some more flour and mix thoroughly.
  • Apply some oil onto your hands and take about two tablespoon from the kabab mixture onto your palms. Shape the kababs into smooth and flat disks about 6-7 cm in size. The mentioned quantity will make 6-7 kababs.
  • Heat a non stick pan over medium heat and add the oil.
  • Once the oil is hot, add the shaped kababs into the pan and let them fry for a minute. After a minute, move the kababs around so they get evenly browned from all sides.
  • Once you see golden brown crust forming on the inside edges, flip the kababs over. Be very careful at this point as the kababs are very delicate and might break.
  • Fry the kababs on the other side also until golden brown. It will take about 2-3 minutes. Once done take the pan off heat. Rest the kababs for a few minutes before taking them out from the pan.
  • Serve with green chutney and onion.
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