Grilled Lamb Skewers

These lamb skewers are quick to put together and very fast to cook on the grill. The lamb can be prepared and marinated the day before or much earlier in the day. The sauces can also be made the day before.

Whenever possible, purchase whole seed spices, then toast and grind them yourself. I own a small spice grinder that does a great job with the small quantities I need.

  • 3 pounds boneless leg of lamb, cubed (1 – 1.5 inches)
  • 2 each cloves garlic, crushed
  • to taste salt and pepper
  • 4 each medium onions, finely chopped
  • 2Tablespoons canola (or peanut) oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2c  lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons apricot jam
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 each bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

Serves 6


Rub the lamb with the crushed garlic, then season and toss with salt and pepper. Let sit for 1 hour. While the lamb is marinating, place a small sauté pan over a medium fire, add the oil, onions and spices. Saute until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the brown sugar, jam, lemon zest and water. Boil for 1 minute, remove from heat and let cool. When the mixture is completely cool, pour over the lamb pieces and toss. Let marinate overnight. The next day, skewer with onion leaves and grill. Serve with Garlic Yogurt Sauce and Sour Plum Sauce (see recipes below).

Two quick and easy sauces to serve with grilled lamb (serve these two sauces in rustic earth-colored bowls:

Garlic Yogurt Sauce

  • 2 each   garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 cup  yogurt, the best, creamiest plain you can find
  • 12 each mint leaves


Chop the garlic as fine as you possibly can. This may take a few extra moments, but it is worth it. Place garlic in a small mixing bowl, and fold in the yogurt until the two are well mixed. Just before using, line up 12 good fresh mint leaves one on top of the other and very finely sliver them. Add to the yogurt-garlic sauce and fold in gently. Serve with grilled lamb skewers.

Tip: If you place the garlic and yogurt in the food processor, it will start to break down the wonderful consistency. By hand folding (not vigorously mixing), you will retain the texture of the yogurt. Once the sauce is made, let it rest in the refrigerator for at least a few hours to allow the flavors to blend.

Sour Plum Sauce:

This is my variation of a recipe by Darra Goldstein (The Georgian Feast) a wonderful book full of great recipes.

  • 1.5 pounds plums, dark red (not too ripe)
  • 1/4 cup  water
  • 3/4 teaspoon whole coriander seed
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 2 each  garlic cloves, large, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup  cilantro


Cut plums in half and remove the pits. Place in small non-reactive sauce pan over medium-low heat with the water and cover. Simmer for 5-10 minutes to soften the plums slightly. Meanwhile, toast the coriander and fennel seed. Grind with a mortar and pestle with the garlic, salt and cayenne until you have a smooth paste. Run the plums (with skins) through a food processor, then return to the sauce pan with the spice paste. Simmer over low heat for 5 minutes, then strain, pushing as much of the plum pulp through the strainer as possible. Place in a bowl and allow to cool to room temperature. You can make this sauce a day ahead to this point. When ready to serve, finely chop the cilantro and fold it into the plum sauce.

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