While growing up, feeding me any dish of meat was an impossible task for my mother. I had tons of logic ready for not eating it, “I am not going to eat this meat because the goat smells like it didn’t take a shower in its whole life” and another one was, “If I were an emperor, I wouldn’t let anyone take these live and roaming animals into our stomachs.”

Not only this, but I had to struggle mentally accepting the goat slaughtering ritual (Qurbani) on Eid ul Azha and the distribution of meat and cooking afterward. My reluctance to eat meat was seeing the animals slaughtered in front of us.

But many years later I discovered that I can only eat meat that does not look as if it was a part of an animal ever, does not smell like meat, and does not taste like meat 🙂

Then I tried making these kababs a few times and started to love them. So I eat about 2 square inches of beef or chicken once in a while. But it has to be perfect with lots of flavor of spices and green chilies.

You can fry and keep some frozen and wrapped to use another time. These are the favorites of my dear friend Jaishri Abhichandani. She calls it “Ruby’s Killer kababs” :). These kababs are now a reason to meet and see each other.

This is an overhead view of a horizontally oriented rectangular white dish filled with three rows of roughly cylindrically shaped Kebab Karahi. The serving dish has handles on each side and is illustrated economically using black lost and found contour lines and blue washes for the shadows. The chicken has been rendered in great detail with nuanced watercolor and gouache in oranges, yellow, tan, red, and maroon. The chicken is garnished with pops of green cilantro.
Jave Yoshimoto, Ruby Chishti’s Kabab Karahi, 2021 , ink, watercolor and gouache on paper, 9” x 12″.

Kabab Karahi


    • 1 pound minced beef/chicken or boneless beef or chicken, cut into small pieces and finely chopped in a chopper (or a food processor)
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
    • 1 tablespoon corn flour
    • 1 tablespoon graham flour
    • 1 teaspoon garam masala (optional)
    • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, roasted and crushed
    • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds, roasted and crushed
    • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
    • 1 teaspoon garlic paste
    • 4-6 green chilies, chopped (save a little for garnish)
    • 2 slices of bread, chopped
    • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
    • 2 small onions, chopped
    • 3 tablespoons oil to shallow fry kababs

For Gravy:

    • 1 (small) canned tomato sauce or 2 cups diced tomatoes
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • salt, crushed red chilies to taste
    • 2–3 green chilies, finely chopped
    • 2-inch small piece of ginger, thinly sliced
    • chopped cilantro for garnishing


    1. Mix all the ingredients into the minced beef/chicken. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
    2. Apply some oil on the palms of your hand and roll about  2.5-inch-long kababs (makes 20-24).
    3. Heat oil in a pan on medium-high heat.
    4. Shallow fry kababs on all sides until golden brown …turn the heat low, cover, and let it cook for another 5 minutes. Cooking them on a high first makes them crispy on the outside and lowering the heat cooks the inside so it will be soft.
    5. For gravy, heat 3 tablespoons oil. Fry 1teaspoon whole cumin seeds. Add one chopped onion, fry it until soft and then add tomato puree or canned tomato sauce. Add salt and crushed red chilies and chopped green chilies. Stir and let it cook for a few minutes then add fried kababs, let it simmer.  Serve in a wide platter, garnish with freshly chopped green chilies and sliced lemon, ginger, and cilantro.
    6. Serve warm with salad, naan, chapatti, or rice. And, eat at least once before you go plan to conquer the world :).

Ruby Chishti headshot. In this closeup profile portrait, a Pakistani American woman in her late 50s smiles widely and looks off to the left. She wears red lipstick and has short wavy brown hair that frames her face. She wears a taupe faux leather winter jacket with a fuzzy shearling collar that is buttoned up. She stands against a wall that has been painted expressionistically in light yellows and black brush strokes.

Pakistani American visual artist Ruby Chishti is based in New York City. Primarily a representational sculptor, she was formally educated at the National College of Art in Lahore, Pakistan.

Over the last 22 years, she has produced a series of lyrical- sculptures and installations with re-cycled clothing that touch on the tenacity and fragility of human existence, the persistence of the passage of time, migration, Islamic myths, gender politics, memory, universal theme of love, loss, and being human.

Her fellowships and awards include the recent VSC/Pollock-Krasner Foundation Fellowship and Critic In Residence at Fiber Science and Apparel Design Dept, Cornell, Ithaca. Her work has been exhibited at Asia Society Museum, NY; Queens Museum, Rossi & Rossi, Hong Kong; Grosvenor Gallery, London; Aicon Gallery, NY; Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi, India; India Art Fair; and The Armory Show, NYC to name a few.

Her work is collected by Qatar Museum, Kiran Nadar Museum, India; V & A Museum of Childhood, London; Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester among many others.

Chishti’s work has been published in Art Asia Pacific, Diacritics, Hyperallergic, NYTimes, and in books including A Companion to Textile Culture, edited by Jennifer Harris, The Eye Still Seeks: Pakistani Contemporary Art by Salima Hashmi & Matand Khosla. Ruby Chishti currently lives and works between Bushwick, Brooklyn and Lake Peekskill, New York.

Instagram @rubychishti2019

The artist describes the overall form of this large-scale audio-visual installation as, “a juxtaposition of architectural and human body structures; a witness of lives ripped and rebuilt, where I see links to personal and political narratives.” In this sculptural wall work, a melting architectural form is filled with rows of warped windows and doors. The piece is comprised of layers of grey and tan earth tone stacked and bisected fabric that is reminiscent of sedimentary rock. The central form is a large rounded rectangular torso form. Two forms jut out like wings on both sides of the torso. Turquoise and green patches alluding to foliage appear sporadically. Ruby Chishti goes on to explain that the work explores ...the physical and emotional spaces unwillingly abandoned by individuals in times of conflict and war. Primarily focusing on the cathartic aspect of destruction and reconstruction, I gathered thousands of layers of recycled textiles into sprawling architectural forms. I treat each scrap of fabric with the same care that I would have offered the humans who once wore them. The accompanying audio score "In the absence of sparrows" attempts to help place the listener into a space of persistence of passage of time. The ambient amplifies, envelops, and transports the listener into a theatre of war to the ruins; a space of comfort where one feels protected.
Ruby Chishti, The Present is a Ruin Without the People, 2016, recycled textiles, wire mesh, thread, wood, embellishment, metal scrapes, and archival glue; with sound, 81 7/10” × 127 9/10” × 11 7/10”.