Selim Kebab and the magic of its secret spices

Why have abs when you can have kebabs?

Khalid Hassan

March 11, 2022, 11:30 a.m.

Last modification: March 11, 2022, 11:30 a.m.

Selim Kebab Ghar on Salimullah Road in Mohammadpur is one of the few kebab shops in Bangladesh that has been operating proudly for decades.Photos: TBS

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Selim Kebab Ghar on Salimullah Road in Mohammadpur is one of the few kebab shops in Bangladesh that has been operating proudly for decades.Photos: TBS

Skewers have always been a favorite of foodie Bengalis. Although this appetizing item is not native to the Indian subcontinent, it is a popular food throughout Central Asia.

With the spread of Ottoman rule around the world in the Middle Ages, this dish also reached many parts of the world. It was the Mughals who introduced kebabs to the Indian subcontinent and then gradually reached the region of Bengal.

Selim Kebab Ghar on Salimullah Road in Mohammadpur is one of the few kebab shops in Bangladesh that has been operating proudly for decades. It is located just north of Salimullah Road. Finding the store is quite easy, just look for the crowds of hungry people lining up outside a restaurant.

Selim Kebab Ghar on Salimullah Road in Mohammadpur is one of the few kebab shops in Bangladesh that has been operating proudly for decades.Photos: TBS

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    Selim Kebab Ghar on Salimullah Road in Mohammadpur is one of the few kebab shops in Bangladesh that has been operating proudly for decades.Photos: TBS

Selim Kebab Ghar on Salimullah Road in Mohammadpur is one of the few kebab shops in Bangladesh that has been operating proudly for decades.Photos: TBS

It was a fairly average restaurant made out of sheet metal sheds. Inside, on the side of the road, a man rushes to fry kebabs, and on the other side of the shop, employees prepare luchi, puri and chicken chaap. Pushing through the crowd, we enter the restaurant. When we reached the counter to ask the manager about the food, he let us know that their Sikh beef kebab is the most popular dish here.

After waiting a while we were lucky enough to be seated as the seats gradually became vacant and finally ordered their famous beef kebab.

Taste profile

In addition to Beef Sikh Kebab, you will find Chicken Sikh Kebab, Chicken Chaap, Beef Chaap, Beef Boti Kebab and Brain Fry among many others. Photos: TBS

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In addition to Beef Sikh Kebab, you will find Chicken Sikh Kebab, Chicken Chaap, Beef Chaap, Beef Boti Kebab and Brain Fry among many others.  Photos: TBS

In addition to Beef Sikh Kebab, you will find Chicken Sikh Kebab, Chicken Chaap, Beef Chaap, Beef Boti Kebab and Brain Fry among many others. Photos: TBS

A plate of beef kebab will cost you 120 Tk per plate here. The amount of skewers on the plate was sufficient compared to the price. With it you can take Luchi as you wish.

However, you have to pay a separate price for this, each at Tk5. At the same time, a salad mixed with Borhani was also served.

My first bite of kebab tasted very mild; right after taking a bite of it, a faint aroma of spice permeated my nose and mouth.

Overall it was a bit different from other kebab places. The taste of luchi and salad complemented the kebab very well.

Magic in spices

Liaquat Khan, the restaurant owner now, said his father differentiated his kebab from other kebabs. Mohammad Selim Khan had learned this when they lived in Bihar. He inherited the recipe from his late father and kept it to this day.

About the spices, Liaquat Khan said, “I still cling to the spice formula which I learned from my father. And the technique of making this spice is not revealed to anyone. It is a family heritage and a secret.”

However, he said no chemicals, soda, food coloring or MSG are used in the spices made for the kebab. It is entirely composed of natural ingredients.

Many people have always wanted to know more about this Liaquat spice. He was offered large sums of money so he could reveal the secret. But the recipe still keeps its secret.

Current scenario

In addition to Beef Sikh Kebab, you will find Chicken Sikh Kebab, Chicken Chaap, Beef Chaap, Beef Boti Kebab and Brain Fry among many others. Photos: TBS

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In addition to Beef Sikh Kebab, you will find Chicken Sikh Kebab, Chicken Chaap, Beef Chaap, Beef Boti Kebab and Brain Fry among many others.  Photos: TBS

In addition to Beef Sikh Kebab, you will find Chicken Sikh Kebab, Chicken Chaap, Beef Chaap, Beef Boti Kebab and Brain Fry among many others. Photos: TBS

Founded by Selim in 1980, Selim Kebab Ghar has been in business for almost 42 years. Its decoration at the time of its establishment remained almost the same as it is today.

At first, the food was prepared mainly for the people of Mohammadpur area, but now due to its popularity, people from different parts of Dhaka come here everyday to eat.

Ratul Islam, a resident of Mohammadpur and a government employee. He was eating at the table next to us. When I wanted to know the taste of kebab from him, he replied, “We have been eating this kebab since we were little. Nowadays, due to the promotion of various food blogs, more and more people d other areas of Dhaka come to eat.

We are locals but sometimes we can’t find a place to sit and have to stay outside. We readily acknowledge this. Because people from different parts of Dhaka come to our Salimullah road for Selim kebabs. It’s a source of pride for us.”

Private university student Selina Yasmin came from Mirpur to queue and order food. Asking about the food, she said, “I discovered Selim Kebab online for the first time. I’ve been here several times. It’s really good food at a great price.”

Selim Kabar is open from 4 p.m. to midnight. There are currently 11 employees working here.

At one time, food was prepared for 300-350 people a day. However, like all other businesses, Covid-19 has affected Liaquat’s food business. Currently, 170 to 180 meals are prepared daily.

In addition to Beef Sikh Kebab, you will find Chicken Sikh Kebab, Chicken Chaap, Beef Chaap, Beef Boti Kebab and Brain Fry among many others. You can get each of them for just 100 Tk. They also offer their own catering service. For events of more than 120 people, they can also be hired as a wedding caterer.

About Timothy Cheatham

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