Lamb Sheekh Kebab

Lamb sheekh kebab are basically ground lamb skewers with warming spices and flavors. Short on effort and long on flavor.

Three lamb sheekh kebab skewers on a plate with sliced red onion, lime wedges, and chopped mint leaves.

A sheekh kabab is formed from spiced lamb mince, wrapped around a skewer, then grilled.–Shamil Thakrar

How to make your own ground lamb

To create our mince [Editor’s Note: or ground meat] for this recipe we blend a mixture of 80% lean lamb leg and 20% fresh lamb suet to give the best balance of fat for optimum succulence. If you can manage this at home, we strongly recommend it.

If you’re unable to buy lamb suet and your lamb mince is quite lean, processed cheese slices are a secret trick that will add a welcome richness. For the most succulent kababs, finely chop the cheese, mix with your lamb mince and then pass through the fine setting of a hand mincer.

Lamb Sheekh Kebab

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 35 M
  • 1 H, 10 M
  • Serves 4
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Special Equipment: Metal or pre-soaked wooden skewers

Ingredients

  • To serve

Directions

Warm a dry skillet over medium heat. Add the coriander and cumin seeds and toast until fragrant, shaking the pan regularly, about 2 minutes. Tip them out onto a plate and let them cool, then use a pestle and mortar or spice grinder to crush them to a fine powder.

Using a blender or mini food processor, briefly blitz the cilantro stalks, green chiles, and red onion to a coarse paste (don’t make it too finely mashed).

If you have a grinder, pass the lamb (with the cheese, if using) through it for especially juicy kebabs.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the lamb and salt and mix well to ensure they are thoroughly combined. Add the coriander, chile and onion mix, along with the crushed toasted seeds, garlic and ginger pastes, black pepper, and garam masala.

Mix vigorously on medium-low speed until you see tiny white strands forming in the meat, 2 to 3 minutes. Alternatively, if you’d like an arm workout, you can mix using a wooden spoon.

Cover and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes. (If you’re using wooden skewers, soak them now.)

Tester tip: To check your meat for seasoning, before shaping the meatballs, fry a small spoonful of the mixture in a skillet until cooked through and then taste. Adjust the seasoning in the mixture accordingly.

Portion the kebab mixture into 10 balls, each weighing 2 ounces (57 g). Push a skewer through the center of each, then, with wet hands, press the mixture into a thin sausage shape around the skewer. The prepared kababs can be covered and stored in the fridge for 3 to 4 hours.

Preheat a grill to medium-high.

Grill the kebabs, turning regularly, until nicely browned and cooked through but still soft and tender inside, 5 to 7 minutes.

Let the kebabs rest for 2 minutes, then arrange on plates and garnish with chopped mint and red onion. Serve at once, with lime wedges.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

I CANNOT emphasize enough how delicious these lamb sheekh kebabs are...I can't imagine if any more flavor could be packed into these little skewers. These produced the best kebabs I've ever made at home, and better than many I've had at restaurants. I was concerned that all that mixing would produce incredibly tough results, but they instead produced soft and tender kebabs that slid right off the skewer. Will absolutely be making these next summer. I served mine with a pomegranate and mint raita from Meera Sodha's "Made in India."

This is not the time to be a martyr and mix it by hand: GET OUT THE STAND MIXER! I keep pre-soaked skewers in the freezer now (thanks to the great advice of fellow tester, Linda Pacchiano) and had no difficulties with them on the grill.

This evoked memories of great kebabs in good Indian restaurants and I am so glad I have found this recipe for lamb sheekh kebabs. I'd been trying to recreate the flavors as I don't have many great Punjabi/Pakistani restaurants where I live, and I was having trouble finding the correct mixture of spices to ratio of lamb.

It can be done indoors on a griddle (as I did as it was raining) as well as outdoors. It was very easy to have delicious dinner ready in less than an hour. Served with rice, green salad, red onion slices and minted yogurt and a quick-pickled red cabbage it was a real treat. I definitely will be making it again and I can’t wait for summer so I can do it on the grill! Quick note: make sure your garam marsala is fresh.

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