Kebab spot on Devon with a Pakistani accent

May 13, 2008 8:46:31 AM PDT
It's hard to resist something that's been cooked on a skewer-- especially if it was marinated and then cooked over hot charcoals. At a casual West Rogers Park spot the kebabs are part of Pakistani tradition.

There are plenty of kebab joints up and down Devon Avenue, but few feature the irresistible seekh and boti kebabs. There is one kebab option at the nexus of Indian and Pakistani culture in West Rogers Park-- You just have to make the quest to see Mr. Khan.

Forget everything you know about what a kebab is, because at Khan Barbeque - which hugs the corner of Devon and Western Avenues in West Rogers Park - the kebabs all have a Pakistani accent.

"We use regular spices, just salt, chili and turmeric and some green pepper, green chili, and some garlic and ginger," said Sultan Ahmed, Khan B.B.Q.

As simple as it sounds, it creates a mouthwatering marinade. The garlic-ginger-water goes into a blender, along with salt, plus half and half, and a fistful or two of fresh jalapenos. Once fully blended, the marinade is poured over boneless chicken thighs, where it sits for at least four or five hours. Out front, the chicken boti is skewered onto a long, metal rod, then placed into a tandoor - a vertical clay oven - set over hot charcoals. After about 10 minutes, the chicken is removed and finished on the grill; it's smokey and charred on the outside, completely tender and juicy within, still somewhat spicy from the jalapeno marinade.

The seekh kebab marinade is a bit different: onions are processed, then squeezed of any excess liquid. Jalapenos, the garlic-ginger-water and dried chili powder are added. Once everything is incorporated, it is mixed up with ground beef or chicken, plus a mound of freshly-chopped cilantro. The ground mixture is hand-formed around the metal skewers, placed into the tandoor for about 10 minutes, and when finished, they're removed with tongs to a nearby grill, just to crisp-up the outside. Again, there's that contrast of smoky and charred outside, completely tender and juicy within.

A chappli kabab looks more like a pancake. It's got the same seasoning as the seekh kabab, but it's cooked on a flat-top grill as opposed to a tandoor oven.

"Chappli kebab we make on grill and seekh kebab and bihari kebab make on tandoori."

Tandoori chicken is another staple.. marinated in yogurt, it's finished in the vertical ovens.. and good sides include fresh, hot, puffy naan - the ubiquitous flatbread cooked along the walls of the tandoor. Plus, some salad and a little cilantro and mint-spiked yogurt, called raita.

"This is much better with raita and salad and naan."

This is not pricey food. You can try a kebab and side and easily get out of khan for less than ten bucks.

Khan BBQ

2401 W. Devon Ave.

773-338-2800


Load Comments