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Everything Kebab!Young Bruce cooking Kebabs

Kebabs can be made with any kind of meat, seafood, vegetables or fruit. Typical vegetables for kebabs are eggplant, tomato, bell pepper, onion and mushrooms.


Vegetarian Kebabs

Persian Kebabs

Thai / Indonesian Kebabs "Satay"

Armenian Meat, Fish and Kebabs

Table of ContentsSouvlaki

About Kebabs
Pakistani Seekh Kebabs
Syrian Beef Kebabs
Lemony Cucumber Salad
Vietnamese Pork Kebabs
Nuoc Cham
Adana Kebabs
Cucumber Yogurt Mint Salad
Cilantro Mint Chutney
Thai Pork Kebabs
Thai Pork Sateh
Thai Cucumber Relish
Souvlaki with Tzatziki Sauce
Pork and Mango Kabobs

Himayag's Shish Kebab (Armenian)
Barbecued Lamb (Andrew's Armenian Shish Kebab)
Uighur Kebabs
Grilled Spicy Kefta Brochettes (Moroccan)
Tri-Tip and Zucchini Skewers with Smoked Paprika Aioli from Weber's On the Grill Steak & Sides by Jamie Purviance
Chicken and Zucchini Kebabs from Jamie Oliver

Wikipedia's List of World-wide Kebabs

About Kebabs

Shish kebab (Turkish: sis kebabi) is a dish consisting of small cubes of meat threaded on a skewer (sis in Turkish) that are grilled or roasted. Any kind of meat may be used, and fruit or vegetables are often placed on the skewer as well. Typical vegetables included are eggplant, tomato, bell pepper, onion and mushrooms. The phrase literally means 'skewer of grilled meat' in Turkish. What's shish kebab by any other name? Yakitori, satay, or brochettes are all versions of shish kebab. Shish kebabs can be called satay [Oriental Countries], yakitori [Japan], or brochettes [France].

1.Decide upon what you are planning on serving. Some favorite choices might be beef, lamb, pork, shrimp, onions, peppers, zucchini, cherry tomatoes and the like.

2.Soaking: Start by soaking your round wooden skewers or wide wooden skewers unless you have the stainless steel skewers. Some folks like using flavored skewers so the flavor is imparted directly into the meat or veggies. If you have metal, then there is no need for the soaking process.

3. Marinating: Marinate your meat and veggies for an hour - up to overnight. The more salt you have in your marinade, the less time you will want to have it marinating. Try to use the freshest of herbs and spices. Keep covered and refrigerated. Marinating, then you may discard the marinade.
Wide Stainless Steel Skewers

4. Preparation: Use double skewers where possible. If you don't have actual double skewers, then use two of the round wooden ones. The reason for double skewers is to keep the food from twisting and turning on the skewers. It will reduce time and trouble keeping things straight on the grill. Try it and you'll be a pro!

5. Skewing: Let's depart from the "usual and customary" methods. Place the same types of food on the same skewer(s). All the like-meat on one, all the like-veggies on another, with just a little space between each piece. Food cooks at different rates and temperatures. The heat exposure from the fire affects each differently. You might enjoy higher temps for charring the meat, but the same heat might very well "toast" as in burn your veggies. If you have everything separated as to type of food, then you have the ability to control the cooking process of each item. As for spacing the food, it will allow more smoke flavor to reach the food surfaces. By using this method, all skewed foods are cooked properly and are more flavorful.

6. Cooking: Use a medium-hot grilling temperature with the fire primarily on one side of the grill. Remove any excess marinade as it might cause flaring which will unduly blacken you meat/veggies. Place food directly over the heat and cook until done. If one type of food is cooked before the others, then move it to a cooler portion of the grill.

6. Serving: When everything is ready, serve immediately. Place each type of skewer (meat, veggie, etc.) on a separate plate. Pass the plates or just the skewers around to your guests. They will remark on how perfectly everything is done and want to know why you are using double skewers! Then you can be the expert!

Pakistani Seekh Kebabs

Adapted from Lisa Ades

Time: 30 minutes, plus 1 hour for chilling

2 pounds ground chicken thighs
1 egg yolk
1 onion, minced
1⁄4 cup minced ginger
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon turmeric
1⁄4 cup minced cilantro, leaves and stems
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons salt
Cilantro mint chutney, for serving
Lemon wedges and pita bread, for serving.

Prepare kebabs or patties using procedure in beef kebab recipe. Serve with cilantro mint chutney and lemon wedges and pita warmed on the grill just before serving.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings (8 skewers).

Adana Kebabs

Adapted from Ayla Algar, "Classical Turkish Cooking" (HarperCollins, 1991)

Time: 30 minutes, plus 1 hour for chilling

2 pounds ground lamb
1 onion, minced
1ž2 cup minced parsley
1ž4 cup minced red bell pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper, or 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds, lightly crushed
2 teaspoons salt
Cucumber yogurt mint salad, for serving
Lemon wedges and pita bread, for serving.

Prepare kebabs or patties using procedure in beef kebab recipe. Serve with cucumber salad, lemon wedges and pita that has been warmed on the grill just before serving.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings (8 skewers).

Syrian Beef Kebabs

Adapted from Lisa Ades

Time: 30 minutes, plus 1 hour for chilling

2 pounds fatty ground beef, like chuck
4 tablespoons tomato paste
2/3 cup minced onion
2 teaspoons salt
Juice of 1 lemon
1ž2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 dashes cayenne
1 tablespoon ground allspice
1/3 cup pine nuts
Oil to brush on grill rack
Lemon wedges and pita bread, for serving

1. Combine all ingredients but oil, lemon wedges, pita and salad in a bowl, and knead very well into a paste.

2. Hold a flat metal skewer - not nonstick, and at least 12 inches long - point up in one hand. Dip other hand in a bowl of water, take a handful of meat mixture and form it around base of skewer in a small sausage shape with pointed ends. Repeat, working your way up the skewer. Each skewer should hold three or four kebabs. (You can also just form meat into eight patties.)

3. Lay finished skewers on a sheet pan, and smooth kebabs with fingers, making sure they are fairly smooth and secured on skewers. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.

4. Prepare charcoal grill, or turn gas grill to medium-low. Spray or brush oil on clean grill rack, and set within a few inches of the fire. Fire should not be too hot, and rack should be at least several inches from heat source.

5. When rack is heated through, gently squeeze the kebabs to be sure they are secure on the skewers, and place skewers on grill. Meat should start sizzling gently; it should not spit and turn black. Cook undisturbed until deep brown, at least 7 minutes. When meat lifts easily from grill, slide a spatula under kebabs and turn over. Continue grilling until browned on both sides and juicy, but cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes total. Serve hot with lemon wedges and pita that has been warmed on the grill. Put a few spoonfuls of salad in each pita with meat.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings (8 skewers).

Vietnamese Pork Kebabs

Adapted from Corinne Trang

Time: 30 minutes, plus 1 hour chilling

2 pounds fatty ground pork, like shoulder
3 stalks lemon grass, tender white and pale green parts only, minced
4 shallots, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Whole lettuce leaves, fresh mint and cilantro sprigs, for serving
Nuoc cham, for serving.

Prepare kebabs or patties using procedure in beef kebab recipe. To serve, wrap a kebab in a lettuce leaf with herbs, then dip in nuoc cham.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings (8 skewers).


Nuoc Cham

Time: 15 minutes

1 serrano chili, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons sugar
2/3 cup warm water
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
5 tablespoons fish sauce.

Chop the chili, garlic and sugar together until fine. Transfer to a bowl. Add the remaining ingredients. Set aside for 10 minutes before serving.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

Cilantro Mint Chutney

Adapted from Madhur Jaffrey
Time: 5 minutes

6 tablespoons plain yogurt
2 tablespoons mint leaves
1⁄4 cup cilantro leaves and stems
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 dashes cayenne pepper, or more to taste
1⁄4 teaspoon salt, or more to taste.

Combine ingredients in a blender or a small food processor and process until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl once or twice. Taste for salt and cayenne, adding more as needed. Refrigerate up to 2 days. Taste for salt and cayenne before serving.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

Lemony Cucumber Salad

Time: 5 minutes

6 cups romaine lettuce (about 2 hearts)
1 long seedless cucumber or 3 Kirbys, peeled, halved lengthwise, and sliced crosswise 1ž4-inch thick
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Salt and black pepper to taste.

Toss all ingredients. Serve chilled.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

Cucumber Yogurt Mint Salad

Adapted from Ayla Algar, "Classical Turkish Cooking"

Time: 5 minutes

2 cups whole-milk yogurt
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1ž2 teaspoon salt
1 long seedless cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise 1ž4 inch thick
12 mint leaves, cut in thin ribbons, plus extra whole leaves for garnish.

In a bowl, mix yogurt, garlic, oil and salt together until smooth. Chill until ready to serve. Just before serving, mix in cucumber and sliced mint. Add salt to taste if necessary, garnish with mint leaves and serve.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings.


Burgers without borders

by Julia Moskin of The New York Times

Burgers and sausages -- any ground meat on the grill -- have always been my favorites, for eating and for cooking. However, mixtures that are highly seasoned but still simple are a delicious alternative. They are the far-flung ancestors of burgers, sometimes shaped into balls or around skewers, but bearing unmistakable family traits of tenderness, juice and spice. In the grilling traditions of countries like Pakistan, Turkey and Indonesia, ground meat, spices and aromatics bloom together over hot coals.

Ground meat, though it doesn't have the mighty heft of a steak in American culture, is an art form in others. In the Middle East, from Lebanon to Afghanistan and Iran, generations of cooks have used every scrap of meat and transformed it into elegant, subtly spiced dishes.

For Lisa Ades, a New York filmmaker whose family has deep roots in Aleppo, Syria, a savory combination of ground beef, onion and allspice was a primary childhood food. (Allspice is the signature flavor of Syrian cooking.) "We would have it on top of pizza, as dinner, mixed with eggs and fried -- but never in the summer," she said, "So this summer, I put it on a skewer and called it a kebab. I always hated those other kebabs, anyway -- those chewy chunks of lamb with the hot cherry tomato falling off the skewer."

Ades is currently doing her grilling at a 1950s house in Amherst, Mass., the garden of which has kept its original Asian-Polynesian theme, including a pagoda fitted with a gas grill, tiki masks and a lamp made of a whole blowfish. "When you are only cooking one thing, suddenly dinner is so much easier," said Ades, who serves the crusty meat stuffed into warmed pita bread with a crisp, lemony cucumber salad and black olives. " You can eat them standing up, just like burgers, but they taste amazing." You can eat them standing up, just like burgers, but they taste amazing."

Ms. Ades's recipe, like the others here, can be used to make burgers or kebabs, shaped around metal skewers. Burgers are easier to form, but the kebabs cook faster and more evenly, eliminating the challenge of figuring out when they are done, my least favorite part of grilling. When they are done on the outside, they are done all the way through to the metal. When choosing skewers, look for wide, flat ones -- you want the meat to turn with the skewer, not to stay still on the grill while the skewer spins around uselessly inside it.

The sausage shape I've adopted for these recipes is not traditional in Turkey, where the kebab is king, and where a single, unbroken tube of meat is the ideal.

''There is only one way to make this kebab, there is only one way to cook it, and there is only one way to eat it,'' said Orhan Yegen, a noted purist on the subject of Turkish cuisine. Mr. Yegen is the chef at Sip Sak, a Turkish restaurant in Midtown (928 Second Avenue, near 49th Street). He was born in Istanbul but raised in the eastern city of Adana, famous throughout Turkey for its dark red, succulent ground-lamb kebabs.

The meat is mixed with onions, juicy red bell peppers and kirmizi biber -- dried hot and sweet peppers rubbed together and roasted in olive oil into flakes of deep reddish black. Mr. Yegen lightly slapped the few ingredients together, not compressing the mixture in his hand, which could make the end result tough.

''You need fat to cook anything on the grill,'' Mr. Yegen said as he molded the finished mixture around traditional flat metal skewers that were almost an inch wide and two feet long -- swordlike compared to the spindly ones used by most Americans, and much better for searing kebabs. ''Lean ground meat is a terrible thing,'' he added. When buying meat for these (or any recipes for ground meat on the grill), make sure to use cuts like lamb shoulder, beef chuck and chicken thighs. If ground versions of these cuts aren't available, it's the work of a minute to grind the meat yourself by pulsing it in batches in a food processor.

Jackson Heights, Queens, is the center for New York's huge Desi community. Loosely interpreted, the term includes almost anyone with recent roots in South Asia. It's also the site of dueling Pakistani kebab empires: Kabab King, the incumbent (73-01 37th Road), and Kababish, the upstart (70-64 Broadway and 37-66 74th Street), which recently opened up right across the street. Kababish grills its kebabs over charcoal, giving it an edge on flavor; but Kabab King boasts lacier, crispier nan bread, a delicious necessity for wrapping juicy kebabs. ''Kebabs are part of the daily life, but also every party in Pakistan'' said Tahir Kamil, an owner of Kababish. ''And a large variety of kebabs is a sign of luxury and festivity.''

Urdu has as many modifiers for kebabs as Starbucks has for coffee. In Pakistani tradition, chapli kebabs -- the word refers to the sole of a shoe -- are flat, thin patties of minced meat or chicken; they're a popular snack at the delis that serve New York's taxi drivers.

Seekh or sheekh kebabs are savory mixtures of minced meat or chicken, onion, cilantro and spices, bound together with egg. Gola kebabs solve the binding problem more literally: the ground meat is attached to skewers with a single long thread, wrapped around the meat. The gola kebab slides off the skewer in one piece; when you lift the thread out of the tender meat, it slices the kebab into chunks.

And reshmi kebabs -- the word is sometimes rendered as ''reshami'' or ''shami,'' are considered the finest: the word means silky or smooth, and the meat is ground with rich pistachios and cashew nuts, then marinated in yogurt for at least a day.

Smooth meat is traditionally valued in Middle Eastern cooking -- wealthy households might devote a servant's entire day to pounding meat in a stone mortar -- but that texture is not to modern American taste, and coarsely ground meat works best in these recipes.

Southeast Asia, with its lively tradition of street foods, also has a popular kebab tradition. ''They should spring back at you, with a little chew and spice'' says Corinne Trang, an American chef who specializes in Vietnamese classics like nem nuong, grilled pork meatballs. Nem nuong, she said, are popular as a street snack all over Vietnam, cooked to order on jury-rigged grills that might consist of just a handful of charcoal and four bricks set up on a street corner. The pork is studded with shallots and lemon grass, spiked with fish sauce and sugar, grilled to a golden crustiness, and then wrapped, hot, in cool lettuce leaves and fresh herbs and given a light bath in hot, sour, salty and sweet dipping sauce. The result is flavorful, to say the least. ''We Asians don't understand your burgers,'' said Michael Canh, a customer at a Vietnamese restaurant, Hoi An, in TriBeCa recently (135 West Broadway, near Duane Street), over a plate of nem nuong. ''The beef is good, but they are so plain!''

Source: New York Times, June 29, 2005

Thai-Skewed Pork

This recipe is also delicious with beef and vegetables. See also Satay.


Combine the following ingredients:

2 Tbs quality soy sauce
1 Tbs fresh lime juice
1 Tbs minced refreshed cilantro leaves
2 tsp grated ginger
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Mix thoroughly all the ingredients in a glass, plastic or stainless steel bowl. Place the meat / vegetables in the mixture and let marinate for at least 2 hours. Place on skewers. Grill until done.

Note: You can replace marinade with "Cajun Injector Teriyaki & Honey".

Pork Sateh

Thai skewered pork or beef, grilled over charcoal and served with a peanut sauce and Cucumber Relish. An absolutely wonderful appetizer or main dish. For peanut sauce to serve with this see the one from Jane Brody's cookbook.


1 pound boneless pork or beef
2t ground roasted coriander seeds
1/2t ground roasted cumin seeds
1 t finely chopped galangal (I ground dried galangal in a spice grinder after soaking it a little)
1 heaping tablespoon finely chopped lemon grass
1t turmeric
1/2 t ground pepper
1 t salt
2 t sugar
1/2 cup coconut milk
bamboo skewers


Cut the meat into thin slices about 1 inch wide and 2 inches long Grind everything except the meat, salt, sugar, milk and skewers in a spice grinder or food processor (I usually roast the whole cumin and coriander seeds, and grind them with everything). Pour over the meat along with the sugar, salt and coconut milk. Mix thoroughly and set aside to marinate for 30 minutes.

Skewer the meat strips lengthwise, and broil over a medium charcoal fire, brushing occasionally with the remaining marinade.

Serve with peanut sauce and cucumber relish.

Serves four


I found that it's helpful to double-skewer the pork if you've cut it too thin. That is, put one skewer close to each side -- that way they are easier to turn on the grill, and they're less likely to fall off the skewers.

Thai Cucumber Relish


4 cucumbers
2 shallots
1 chili
1/3 cup vinegar
2t sugar
1 t salt
Fresh coriander (garnish)


Wash and peel the cucumbers, cut in half lengthwise and then cut across into thin slices. Cut the shallots and chillies into thin slices. Place the cucumber, shallot and chili slices in a bowl.
Heat the vinegar, sugar and salt, stirring constantly until sugar has dissolved. When the mixture comes to a boil, remove from the heat. After the mixture has cooled, add it to the bowl and garnish with coriander greens.

The Elegant Taste of Thailand -- Cha Am Cuisine, by Sisamon Kongpan and Pinyo Srisasat, SLG Books, Berkeley, 1989.

Jim Plank - Recipe Home Page
Cucumber Relish. http://www.cs.utk.edu/~plank/plank/recs/thai_cuc_rel.html

Himayag's Shish Kebab (Armenian) Top

by Monug Piligian

1 leg of lamb, boned and cubed (l"-lĀ1ž2" cubes)
6 - 8 whole green peppers, cut in half and deseeded
6 -8 whole red tomatoes
1 med. eggplant, cut in 1Ā1ž2" cubes
2 lge. onions, sliced and coarsely chopped
1/2 bunch fresh parsley, cleaned and chopped
salt, pepper to taste
1 tsp. red pepper (opt.)
juice of 1 lemon

When cubing lamb, cut out all gristle, leaving a little bit of fat (not skin). Mix meat with parsley, onions and pepper. Cover bowl and refrigerate overnight.

Three or four hours prior to barbecuing, add lemon juice and mix well. The salt is added just before skewering meat.

Place meat on skewer (not too tight) . Green peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant are placed on separate skewers. Do not combine vegetables on same skewers because each one cooks at a different rate. Remaining onions and parsley may be used as garnish.

Place all skewers on a hot charcoal grill turning often to cook evenly. Lightly oil all vegetables with a pastry brush while cooking to prevent them from burning. After 15 minutes remove one piece of meat from skewer and cut in half so as to test to see if well done.

After shish kebab and vegetables are cooked, remove from skewers into large roasting pan. Serve immediately to insure the utmost of quality and flavor.

1 pound of bone-in lamb will serve one adult.

Barbecued lamb (ANDREW'S SHISH KEBAB) (Armenian)Top

by Thelma (Boghosian) Crespo

1 leg of lamb, cubed
1 bunch parsley, chopped fine
4 lge. onions, chopped fine
1 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. pepper
Ā1ž4 cup veg. oil
Ā1ž2 tsp. cumin powder
2 med. eggplants
desired amounts, peppers and tomatoes

Day before, mix together and marinate all ingredients except eggplants, peppers and tomatoes. Prior to barbecuing, wash and set aside peppers and tomatoes. Prepare eggplants by cutting in chunks and sprinkle with salt. Sprinkle with oil. The oil makes the eggplant soft and succulent.

While charcoal is turning white, arrange meat and vegetables on shish (skewers) and cook slowly, turning and browning on all sides.

After shish kebab is cooked, cut into a large roasting pan that has sliced French bread on the bottom. This absorbs all the juices.

Serves 4-6