Of all the kebabs this one is probably one of my favourites! It is the way the marination makes the meat almost melt in your mouth!
It works with both beef or chicken. But traditionally this is served as a beef kebab. I like to grill them on the BBQ to get that extra smokey flavour going. But it works just as well on an indoor electric grill. You could even cook it in a pan and add a bit more water for a curry version. The flavour is all in the marinade!
Secret to Melt in Your Mouth Bihari Kebabs
The secret to get the meat extra tender is to ensure your meat is cut into thin pieces. No thicker than your finger. And you have to use a meat tenderizer in the marinade to help break down the tough meat fibres.
Papaya paste is the traditional way to tenderize meat in a bihari kebab. I found papaya paste at my local asian grocer. Fresh papaya ground up will also work. And if you can’t find papaya, you can substitute for meat tenderizing powder, or try pineapple juice! It has the same enzymes as the papaya, so will work the same way, but you might get a slightly sweeter kebab in the end (Note: I have not tried this yet, but I will edit this once I do and let you know how well the pineapple works in this!). The enzymes in papaya or pineapple work to breakdown the tough muscle over time resulting in a very soft melt-in-your-mouth kebab.
This one does take a bit of patience though! You need to marinate at least 2 days before you want to cook and serve these kebabs so the enzymes have time to do their thing! But oh my gosh is it worth it! It is very easy though. Just dump all the ingredients together, give it a mix and then refrigerate for a couple of days. I found the sweet spot was at the 48-hour mark. But it can be cooked at the 24-hour mark too, your final product may not be as soft, but it will still be delicious!
Basically, the longer you let this sit and marinate the better.
Meal Prep Tips for Bihari Kebab
If you plan on making this and freezing it for a meal prep, make sure to marinate in the fridge for the full 48 hours, before freezing. The first batch I tried, I didn’t let it sit in the fridge to marinate and just put it in the freezer directly after mixing it. This did not work as well, and I found the meat didn’t absorb enough of the papaya to really breakdown the muscle even during the defrosting time it really doesn’t tenderize as well. It ended up being pretty chewy when we defrosted it to cook. So let the enzymes do their thing before you freeze the marinated meat. Then you can defrost and cook straight away and it will be melt in your mouth delicious!
Bihari Kebab (Keto, Paleo, Whole30)
- 4 tbsp avocado oil
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced (or use 1/4 cup readymade brown onions to save time)
- 3 lbs boneless beef, cut into 1 inch cubes (I like to use sirloin or flank steak)
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp red chilli powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp ground pomegranate seed (anar dana) (optional)
- 1 tbsp avocado oil
- 1 cup yogurt (sub for 1 cup coconut cream & 1 tbsp lemon juice if making Whole30)
- 2 tbsp ground papaya (or meat tenderizer powder)
- 1 tsp ginger, minced
- 1 tsp garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp arrowroot powder (or chickpea flour/besan)
- In a saucepan heat 4 tbsp oil, and add the sliced onions and cook, stirring often until browned. About 15 minutes. Drain and remove from pan.*
- In a large bowl, mix together the brown onions with the remaining ingredients, and mix well to coat all the pieces of meat.
- Cover and refrigerate. Let it marinate for at least 24-48 hours. After this you can freeze for a future meal prep. Or go straight to cook to serve.
- To cook, I recommend BBQ or using an electric grill. Cook to an internal temperature of about 145F. Serve immediately with some raita or on a big green salad.