Khyber-Pahtunkhwa (or KPK for short) in Pakistan is a place renowned for its love of food – specifically meat.
And when you’re talking about meat in KPK, there is nothing, I mean nothing, more beloved than the chapli kebab – the life-changing King of all meat patties.
Possibly one of the best meat dishes I have ever had in my entire life – I can’t wait to share this incredible meal with you.
Flames, iron, and animal fat
Throughout Pakistan, but especially in Khyber-Pahtunkhwa, you’ll find chapli kebabs.
However, probably the most renowned restaurant or area in the country, which has legendary status, is the village of Taru Jabba near Peshawar, and more specifically Rambail Chapli Kebab restaurant, Taru Jabba, Pakistan.
If there was one single place I wasn’t going to miss on my trip to Pakistan, this was it.
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Watch the entire video to see the raging bonfire, sizzling chapli kebabs, and juicy meat!
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When we arrived to Rambail Chapli Kebab, my jaw-dropped.
I gazed into the bonfire, and could hardly believe my eyes – the beauty of the kebabs lapping around the bubbling fat pool fueled by the flames was unreal.
The size of the pan, cauldron, meat bathtub, whatever you could possibly call it, is IMMENSE. The pan itself has handles, but I can only guess how many people it would take to move it at all.
Looking as though the construction was intending to be a stage, the cooking top fits directly into the walls and floor of the restaurant.
With all that heat rising, the two head chefs elevating in front are like a mirage – a meat oasis.
Thumb-sized chunks of bone marrow
The chapli kebab usually includes ground beef or buffalo, and in this case it is buffalo meat.
Recipes vary from restaurant to restaurant, but most versions of chapli kebab include tomatoes, onions, ginger, garlic, and chilies, plus cumin seeds, coriander leaves, garam masala, and chili powder, and finally kernels of a local wheat.
Typically the chef bare-hand mixes piles of raw meat with all the added seasonings and ingredients, before forming them into burger patty shapes and swiftly pressing massive chunks of bone marrow into the tops of each patty (a specialty ingredient at Taru Jabba).
He slaps the chapli directly onto the blazing hot iron, again by hand, launching it into the small sea of melted animal fat in which it fries.
It looks like a tasty meat raft, floating away from shore.
Favorite kebab of Khyber-Pahtunkhwa
As the patties fry in an extremely large amount of oil and the meat’s own fat, hot roti breads come from a nearby tandoor clay oven at incredible rates.
Along with the roti they serve you a sour chutney full of red onions, and finally a side plate of cut veggies, cucumber or red carrot, some extra chilies, and wedges of a local species of orange (this is essential).
When you chapli kebab arrives (on a separate plate, scorching and sizzling hot), you season it yourself by squeezing the orange juice all over it, and then ripping off a chunk of roti bread for your first glorious bite of meat.
Buffalo meat and heavenly spices
Enjoy your chapli, and don’t worry if you faint of delicious unbelief.
The magically delicious, almost other-worldly deliciousness that comes from a chapli kebab, is a result of the minced meat and spices, and most notably the frying process in its own fat.
The outside of the kebab is crunchy while the interior gushes with fatty juices and the bone marrow melts on your tongue.
Only after the richness of the meat hits your mouth, do you then begin to acknowledge the cumin and coriander seed spices that just sort of creep into your taste buds.
It’s one of the richest, and not only one of the greatest tasting meat patty formations, but one of the greatest meat dishes I’ve ever had in the world.
I will tell you straight:
No burger will ever be the same again.
Without a doubt, chapli kebabs are the king of meat patty kebabs, and the small village of Taru Jabba, is likely the best place in the world to eat them.
Rambail Chapli Kebab, Taru Jabba
Address: Located East of Peshawar, on the GT Road, (Google Maps)
Opening Hours: 11 AM – 8 PM, Open Daily
Price Range: Our entire meal was 590 PKR (US$4.50)