The first signs of spring might have you longing for the great outdoors, but al fresco season is a little while off yet. So get as close to the barbecue as you can in February with this traditional Syrian dish. These lamb skewers are full of Middle Eastern flavours and work best served with fresh tabbouleh and hummus. A ridged griddle pan will give you a smoky, chargrilled taste, and you can keep the leftover spice mix in an airtight container for a year.
Kcal: 272 per serving
Fat: 18.7g per serving
Sat fat: 6.3g per serving
Ingredients (serves 6):
For the seven-spice mix:
- 2 tbps freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp sweet paprika
- 1 tbsp ground coriander
- 1 tbsp ground cloves
- 1 tbsp ground allspice
- 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
For the lamb skewers:
- 1 kg minced lamb
- 1 white onion, grated
- Large handful of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, flesh grated and drained in a sieve
- 3 tsps salt flakes
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp seven-spice mix
- 2 tbsps olive oil, plus extra for cooking
- 20-25 bamboo skewers (approx 20cm long), soaked in water for at least 30 minutes
Step 1: For the seven-spice mix, combine ingredients in a bowl.
Step 2: Place the mince in a medium bowl with onion, parsley, bell pepper, salt, black pepper and seven-spice mix. Knead together until well combined.
Step 3: Pour the olive oil into a shallow bowl and lightly coat your hands with it.
Step 4: Pick up a portion of the lamb mixture slightly larger than a golf ball. Pierce it through the centre with the sharp end of the skewer until the ball is about 3cm from the point.
Step 5: Shape the mixture into a sausage, ensuring it remains evenly wrapped around the skewer. Leave a 3cm gap at bottom of skewer. Repeat to make 20-25 skewers.
Step 6: Lightly oil and pre-heat your griddle pan until hot.
Step 7: Cook lamb skewers on three sides by turning twice, for 3-4 minutes each side or until browned. Avoid cooking on all four sides as this may dry out the mixture.
Step 8: Serve immediately.
From Almond Bar: 100 Delicious Syrian Recipes by Sharon Salloum (£25 hardback, Jacqui Small), published 20 February