Lamb Kabob

The sweet side of lamb, shoulder lamb chops caramelized with brown sugar and honey mustard. Photography courtesy of Meat And Livestock Australia.




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April 2008

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Meat & Poultry

Spring Lamb Recipes

Part III: Moroccan-Style Lamb Kabobs (Shish Kabob, Or Kebab, Kebap Or Kibob)



Grilling and kabobs were meant for each other. Kabob is an Arabic word, transliterated variously as kabab, kebab, kebap and kibob. No matter how it is spelled, in modern times it refers to barbecued, grilled or broiled meat dish prepared (and often served) on a skewer. The word is of Arabic or Persian origin—but originally it referred to fried, not grilled, meat. After the 14th century, with the ascendancy of the Ottoman Empire, it took on its current meaning, and the term shish kebab appeared, which means “skewered grilled meat” in Turkish. (The same dish is called souvlaki in Greece.)

According to tradition, kebabs were invented by medieval Turkish soldiers who used their swords to grill meat over open fires. However, some historians believe that the dish has been made in the Near East since ancient times. There are pictures of Byzantine Greeks preparing what looks like shish kebab, and a similar-sounding food is described as far back as Homer’s Odyssey. As you enjoy these lamb kabobs, you’re taking a bite of history.

This is Part III of a four-part article. Use the index below to click to the other recipes.



Moroccan-Style Lamb Kabobs

This recipe uses boneless leg of lamb  and a Moroccan spice rub. Prep time: Marinate the lamb for 30 minutes, cook for 10 minutes. Make the red pepper puree while the lamb is marinating. Serve the kabobs with pita and lettuce.

Hummos and tabbouleh, purchased at the supermarket, are perfect accompaniments, as are Mediterranean olives and cubes of good-quality feta cheese (some brands can be very salty). Couscous or rice mixed with fresh parsley and lemon zest—or a cold rice salad—can round out the meal.

Moroccans are fond of mint tea, which they drink hot, steeped with fresh mint. Try it unsweetened and iced with these kabobs. It’s easy to brew from mint tea bags and is even better brewed from plain black tea and infused with fresh mint. For bottled tea, Inko’s unsweetened Hint ‘O Mint White Iced Tea, is one of our favorites.



  • 1-1/2 lbs lamb leg, boneless, diced
  • 3 shallots
  • 1 lemon, cut in quarters lengthways, then sliced
    (NOTE: While lemon provides Moroccan flavors, the grilled lemon must be
    discarded instead of eaten. You may prefer to substitute a zucchini or
    yellow squash.)
  • Olive oil for cooking
  • Metal skewers
    (If using bamboo, presoak for 20 minutes or cover the exposed ends with foil)

Spice Rub

  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

Red Pepper Purée

  • 2 red peppers, cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Simmer shallots in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, cool, then cut bulbs into quarters or thick slices. Set aside. SPEED TIP: You can cook the shallots the day before.

  2. To prepare the spice rub, dry toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a nonstick pan until aromatic. Transfer to a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder* and crush. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Massage over lamb pieces. Cover and allow the flavors to infuse for 30 minutes. SPEED TIP: If you don’t have 30 minutes to let the spices infuse into the meat, just go ahead and grill. It will still taste great...but next time, leave some time to see the difference when the spices have half an hour to “settle in.”
    *Keep a separate coffee grinder for spices, or your spices will taste like coffee!
  3. To prepare the red pepper purée, place the peppers, skin side up, on a oven tray and roast or broil until skin starts to blister and blacken. Place in a bag until cool enough to handle. Remove and discard the skins and chop the peppers roughly. Place in blender with the vinegar and oil and process to a smooth paste. Season to taste and set aside.
  4. Alternate and thread the lamb, lemon or zucchini and shallot slices onto the skewers. Grill or barbecue until browned and cooked to medium rare, about 3-4 minutes on each side, brushing occasionally with oil. Makes 12-15 kabobs.

Next Recipe: Sliced Leg Of Lamb On Cucumber & Watercress Salad


Recipes © copyright Meat And Livestock Australia. Additional material Lifestyle Direct, Inc. All rights reserved. Photos are copyright of their respective owners.