Lamb Kebabs

This recipe comes from the April chapter of the Reader’s Digest Cookery Year (1976). To be frank, because of their appalling reputation, I was afraid of kebabs until I moved to London and could find them cooked by actual Turkish people. Let’s see how Katie Webber’s recipe measures up! I love that she defines the kebab for those who are innocent of the pleasure of grilled meat on sticks.

Lamb Kebabs

Skewered chunks of meat, or kebabs, are popular in the Middle East. They are usually grilled over a charcoal fire, which imparts a smoky flavour to the meat.

Preparation time: 20 min
Cooking Time: 10 min

Ingredients (for 4):

1 ½ lbs boned shoulder of lamb
¼ level teaspoon of green chilli
1 inch piece root ginger
5 fluid oz yoghourt
¼ level teaspoon ground coriander
¼ level teaspoon ground cumin
1 clove garlic
Juice of half a lemon
1 level teaspoon salt

Lemon wedges

Trim any excess fat from the lamb, wipe clean with a damp cloth and cut into 1 inch cubes. Chop the chilli finely; peel the ginger until the green part just shows and chop it roughly. Put the yoghourt in a large bowl and stir in the coriander, cumin, chilli and ginger. Peel the garlic and crush it into the yoghourt, before adding the lemon juice and the salt. Mix the lamb into the yoghourt and leave to marinate [this word is asterisked to indicate that the novice cook can look up it in the glossary – how sweet!]  for at least 30 minutes.

Remove the lamb chunks from the marinade and thread them on to 4 steel skewers, 8 – 10 inches long, packing the pieces close together. Put the skewers under a hot grill and cook, turning from time to time, for 8 – 10 minutes or until brown on the outside and pink in the centre.

Arrange the lamb kebabs, on their skewers, on a bed of spiced rice garnished with lemon wedges and sprigs of mint.


  • I made enough for me only, as per, using a lamb steak which led to uneven chunks which led to uneven cooking. (I don’t care.)
  • I left out the ginger – I’m not usually keen on it in savoury dishes.
  • I let it marinate for about 45 minutes.
  • As you can see, I ignored the serving suggestion of spiced rice (couldn’t be bothered) and mint  (see ginger).

Lamb Kebabs


Excellent proportions of each flavour  however the meat needs much longer to marinate, I would estimate at least an hour. The marinade also needs to be thoroughly mixed and the meat should be mixed and recoated half way through the marinading process as some pieces were hotter than others, some more garlicky etc.

Skewered by Elly

5 responses to “Lamb Kebabs

  1. “Skewered chunks of meat, or kebabs”

    Of course she means shish kebabs; who could ignore the doner, not to mention the kofte, the adana, iskender, beyti… holy crap there’s thousands of them

  2. I can ignore doners quite happily. They look disgusting and aren’t they the kebab equivalent of chicken tikka masala, invented for the German market? Someone German told me that anyway.

    This recipe (and in fact, much of the book) is designed to encourage novices and I think it succeeds – it tastes great and doesn’t involve anything complex. I would consider it a gateway drug to Beyti, Adana, et al.

  3. Elly, you’re such an enabler! If the Reader’s Digest Cookery Year is a gateway drug, you are the gatekeeper. I need to get through that gate – I’m looking for easy and fairly healthy recipes and this looks delicious…

  4. Ha! Come this way little girl….

    I also think this recipe would work perfectly with chicken.

  5. Lamb is my favorite red meat and I hardly ever eat it. Maybe my girl and I will kebab later this week. Thanks for the idea. Then again, I’m partial to lamb chops.