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Grilled Lamb Kebabs with Yogurt

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Grilled Lamb Kebabs with Yogurt

Grilled Lamb Kebabs with Yogurt
Nate Tate and Mary Kate Tate
Provided by:
total prep
Recipe courtesy of Feeding the Dragon: A Culinary Travelogue Through China with Recipes by Mary Kate Tate and Nate Tate/Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2011.

The secret to good kebabs is to first toss the meat cubes in egg and cornstarch. This makes the mix of freshly ground spices stick to the lamb and forms a crusty layer when grilled. The meat’s center stays tender and juicy. Xinjiang cooks roast spices whole to intensify their flavor and give them a fuller character. To roast spices at home, toast them in a dry pan over medium heat until you just start to smell their fragrance. Make sure to keep an eye on them -- spices are unforgiving once they burn, with no way to rescue them. When the spices cool, grind them into a powder in a mortar and pestle or a spice or coffee grinder. If you are using bamboo skewers, soak them in water for 1 hour before using.


  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 pounds boneless lamb or beef, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 3 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon Asian chili powder
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups plain Greek yogurt


  • Beat the egg with the cornstarch in a large bowl. Toss in the lamb so that all the cubes are coated, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • Prepare a medium fire in a charcoal or gas grill and oil the grill grates. Dry-roast the cumin and coriander seeds in a skillet over medium heat just until you smell the spices’ aroma; be careful not to let them burn. Then immediately remove the skillet from the heat and let cool. In a mortar and pestle or a coffee grinder, grind the seeds into a coarse powder. Mix the powder with the salt and chili powder until well combined.
  • Thread 5 cubes of lamb onto each skewer and rub the spice mixture all over the meat. Brush the tops of the skewers with the oil. Grill the skewers until they are crusty and brown on the outside and medium-rare on the inside. Serve the kebabs with a side of yogurt for dipping.