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Christine Manfield's Spiced Lamb Kebabs

Kebabs (chunks or slices of meat) and kofta (minced meat), marinated with spices and threaded onto skewers then cooked over glowing charcoal embers or in the tandoor oven, are synonymous with Indian cooking. They have a distinct identity and the many variations hold particular allure to so many people.

Originating in Persian cuisine, kebabs were elevated to an art form in India by the Mughals many centuries ago and have played a central role to Muslim culinary lore ever since.

Serve with flatbread, red onion slices and chutney for a simple feast. Christine has used lamb meat here, but there’s nothing stopping you from using venison, chicken or beef with this spiced yoghurt marinade. If using wooden skewers, soak them in water overnight so they don’t burn on the fire.

Recipe from Christine Manfield's Indian Cooking Class
Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon ground fennel
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon Kashmiri chilli powder
1 teaspoon nigella seeds
½ teaspoon saffron threads
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
2 teaspoons white sesame seeds
1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste (see below)
2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves
2 teaspoons lime juice
¼ cup (2 fluid ounces) vegetable oil, plus extra, for brushing
⅓ cup (2.7 fluid ounces) thick plain yoghurt
2.2 pounds lamb leg meat (off the bone), cut into 1.2 inch cubes

Method:

Start your fire a couple of hours before you’d like to cook, this way you can create the desired heat and a bed of hot coals. Too much flame will scorch the meat and give uneven cooking, so the flames need to die down. Hot coals are sufficient to maintain the heat during cooking. If you don't have access to a fire, a BBQ would suffice.

Place all ingredients, except the lamb, in a bowl and mix to combine. Add the lamb and mix to coat in the marinade. Cover and marinate in the fridge for 1 hour.

Take lamb out of the fridge and allow to return to room temperature. Thread 2–3 cubes of lamb onto each skewer, depending on the length of the skewers. You need to leave enough room at each end as a handle for turning the kebabs as they cook.

Brush a cast-iron grill plate with vegetable oil and place over the coals, making sure it is elevated above the coals to allow enough air flow and oxygen between the coals and the grill. Arrange the skewers side-by-side on the grill plate and cook for 4–5 minutes or until browned. Carefully turn the skewers and cook on the other side for a further 3–4 minutes or until meat is tender but still rosy in the centre.

Set aside to rest for a few minutes to allow juices to settle. Remove the skewers when serving.

Ginger garlic paste

An essential component in many of the recipes in Christine Manfield's Indian Cooking Class cookbook, ginger garlic paste adds essential fragrance and flavour.

Roughly chop equal quantities of garlic cloves and peeled fresh ginger and blend in a food processor with a spoonful of water to form a smooth paste.

Keep refrigerated in an airtight container and use within two days.