Making kebabs involves threading meat and vegetables on a skewer. Here’s a few tips for kebab success:
- Soak flat or round wooden skewers in water at least 30 minutes or more before using. This prevents burning.
- Don't overload the skewers with chunks of meat or vegetables; they will be too heavy and not cook evenly.
- Make sure pieces are cut in uniform pieces and not too large. Large pieces take longer to cook and often can be too heavy for a wooden skewers.
- Pair foods together that will cook in the same amount of time. If you're unsure, thread meat and vegetables on separate skewers and cook them accordingly.
- Avoid skewering delicate foods like tomatoes, which cook too quickly and will fall off the skewer during grilling.
Indian-Spiced Lamb Kebabs with Apricots and Red Peppers
Makes: 6 (generous) servings
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes (plus 1 to 6 hours marinating time)
2 pounds boneless lamb leg or loin
2 teaspoons coriander seed
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
2 cloves garlic, peeled, minced
1 tablespoon grated ginger
2 to 3 tablespoons olive or canola oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup apricot preserves
1/2 cup apricot nectar
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
9 ripe (but firm) apricots
12 mini red, yellow or orange bell peppers
1/2 cup fresh cilantro chopped
Cut the lamb into 1 1/2-inch pieces and place in a sealable plastic bag or bowl. In a small skillet over medium heat, place coriander, cumin and mustard seed. Toast in the skillet a few minutes or until fragrant. Transfer to a clean coffee grinder and pulse to grind the spices. Place in a bowl and add the minced garlic and grated ginger. Use a fork to mash all ingredients together. (You can use a mortar and pestle to grind the spices if you like.) Add enough olive oil so the mixture is like a paste. Mix the paste with the olive oil and pour over the lamb. Press the sides of the bag with your hands to massage the paste into the lamb chunks so it coats all the pieces. Cover and refrigerate for least 1 hour or up to 6 hours.
While the lamb is marinating, in the same skillet you toasted the whole spices, add the ground cumin, ginger and coriander and cook, stirring, until fragrant over medium heat. Stir in the vegetable oil and cook 1 minute. Add the lemon juice, preserves and nectar and stir until smooth. Cook over low heat until the glaze is slightly thickened, season with salt and pepper and set aside. You should have about 1/2 cup.
Preheat the grill to medium. Cut the apricots in half and remove the pits and discard them. Cut the mini peppers in half lengthwise, leaving the stem on for presentation. Thread lamb pieces, apricot halves and peppers onto skewers, beginning and ending with the pepper halves. Season the kebabs with salt and pepper and grill the lamb for 10 to 12 minutes or until cooked as desired. Brush the skewers with the glaze as they cook.
Serve the skewers sprinkled with fresh cilantro and any extra glaze.
From and tested by Susan Selasky at the Great Lakes Culinary Center in Southfield, Mich.
365 calories (37 percent from fat), 15 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 25 g carbohydrates, 33 g protein, 307 mg sodium, 100 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber.