Grilling meat on a skewer over coals is one of the most basic forms of cooking. So kebabs, in their many forms, are popular throughout a huge area covering the Eastern Mediterranean, North Africa, the Caucasus and on to the Indian sub-continent (from whence they spread to South East Asia as satays). There’s shaved doner kebabs (also called gyros, yeeros or shwarma), minced kefta or kofte and, my favourite: shish kebab. While ‘shish’ simply means skewer and ‘kebab’, roasted meat, shish kebabs as we know them are generally made from cubed lamb. They’re tasty, juicy and super simple to prepare ahead of time, making them perfect for a casual barbecue with friends. Pour the Yeni raki or, for a truly Australian spin, Oozo Aussie ouzo distilled in the Barossa Valley, and dig in!
Makes 8 kebabs (serves 4)
- 500g lamb backstrap
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, coarsley crushed
- 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
- 2 teaspoons salt flakes, crushed
- 1 red onion, peeled
- Hummus, for serving
- Tabbouleh, for serving
- Lebanese bread, for serving
- Cut lamb into 24 cubes.
- Combine oil, garlic, cumin, chilli and salt.
- Add lamb, toss well to combine, cover and refrigerate overnight or set aside at room temperature for an hour or 2. If refrigerating, bring back to room temperature before cooking.
- Slice onion into eight wedges, then cut each piece in half to give 16 small layered wedges.
- Preheat a barbecue or char-grill pan.
- Meanwhile, thread 3 pieces of lamb onto each of 8 small skewers with a wedge of onion between each piece (metal is traditional, but bamboo works just as well).
- Cook skewers for 2-3 minutes, until well coloured, then turn and cook for a further 2-3 minutes until cooked to your liking.
- Serve with hummus, tabbouli and Lebanese bread for everyone to make their own wraps.