Shami-ye Lapeh (Split Pea Meat Patties)
Shami, is very similar to Kotlet with the potato replaced by yellow split peas (lapeh) or garbanzo beans. I have a feeling the two dishes were invented back in the day, out of necessity, to stretch out the meat, and those that had none, fashioned the kuku sibzamini.
Back in Iran, if we ever had to take the 2 day bus trip from Isfahan to Tabriz, my mom would pack shami or kotlet, along with a buttload of sunflower seeds. One simply cannot travel without sunflower seeds in this country. Travelers love to look out the window, while hulling seeds all day long. Does this Tibiti bus look familiar to anyone?
As in most developing countries, there is no official or effective food safety regulatory system in Iran. Road-side kitchens are notorious for unsafe and unsanitary handling of food, and most people carry their own. Recently, I came across a Westerners’s travel review of Iran, who toured riding on a bus. He miserably complained about the unhealthy food that was available to him, and all I could think was”well, duh!” By the way, with all the uncertainty and excitement involved in exploring a third world country, who watches their diet??
Back to the food. It is delicious, easy to make, and I ended up making 4 batches in 4 days for friends that couldn’t get enough.
Originally it is pan fried, but I have baked and barbecued them, and must say, the BBQ method is easier and tastier, and therefore, my favorite. Have fun.
Ingredients (~20 med. patties):
- 1 lb ground meat (beef, bison, lamb, etc.)
- 1 cup cooked yellow split peas, grind in food processor
- 1 large onion, grated or finely chopped in food processor, no need to drain
- 1 potato, cooked, peeled & grated * optional
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tsp turmeric
- salt and pepper to taste
Time~ Prep: 30 min BBQ: 15 min Bake: 40 min
- To cook potato: boil in enough water for 15-20 min or ’till fork goes through easily. Grate or grind in food processor.
- To cook split peas: soak in enough water for a couple hours (or overnight), before boiling in a pot of water for at least 20 minutes. Grind in food processor.
- In a large mixing bowl combine the ground beef, onion, potato and yellow split peas, turmeric, salt and pepper and mix well by hand.
- Mix in the eggs and combine well.
- Take a handful of the paste and form into round patties. If too loose add a Tbs of flour or more potato or ground peas.
- Gently place on a baking sheet or another oven save dish (no need to grease) and bake @ 350 Fahrenheit for ~ 20 minutes.
- Take out of the oven, carefully flip each patty (if they are loose or crumbly put back in the oven and cook longer). After flipping, place back in the oven and cook for about the same time.
- Allow to cool before removing with a spatula.
- In a non-stick pan, braise the patties over med. heat for a crispier finish.
- Gently place each patty on a sheet of aluminum foil and barbecue ’till halfway cooked (~10 min).
- Remove foil and continue on the barbecuer (~5 min).
Serve warm or cold with an assortment of you favorite condiments. I prefer yogurt, pickles and torshi.
Cut a couple of pita breads in half and toast in the oven for a minute. Stuff the inside with Shami and condiments.