Lamb Kabobs

Lamb Kabobs

Lamb kabobsLamb is a type of red meat from young sheep (under a year old).  Depending on the cut lamb can have more calories than beef or pork, but this can be offset if you trim off the fat.  Lamb has less marbling so once the fat is trimmed it is much leaner form of protein.  Not only is it a rich source of high-quality protein, it is also a freat source of many vitamins and minerals, including iron, zinc, and vitamin B12.This.  This makes lamb a very healthy choice.

Lamb is a popular choice in many Middle Eastern and European countries.  One of the most popular way to prepare is are these grilled Lamb Kabobs.

I’ve heard many people say that lamb has a strong gamey taste.  I agree!  But first of all you need to make sure you’re actually cooking lamb, not mutton.  Lamb is the meat of sheep that are less than a year old.  Adult sheep meat is called mutton.  Mutton has a much stronger taste and smell.

But even lamb can have a mild gamey taste and smell.  Whenever I prepare it at home I always marinate it first in lemon juice, it cuts the gamey taste and smell.  Then I marinate the lamb in seasonings before grilling.  This makes the Lamb Kabobs tasty and tender.  My family loves them!  Served with rice pilaf or roasted potatoes they make a delicious meal for our Sunday barbecues.

Here’s my recipe!

Ingredients:

Makes 8 Kabobs

2 – 3 Lbs.  Boneless Leg of Lamb

1 Lemon

1 Cup Olive Oil

1 Tbs. Minced Garlic

1 Tsp. Rosemary

Pinch of Salt & Pepper

1 Green Pepper

1 Onion

1 Pkg. Mushrooms

Directions:

Wash lamb, trim fat, cut into 1″ cubes

Lamb KabobsPlace cubes in large ziplock bag and squeeze lemon juice over all.

Shake bag to cover the meat.

Refrigerate about 1 hour.

After 1 hour remove lamb cubes from lemon juice and rinse.

Place in a clean ziplock bag and add olive oil and spices.

Shake to cover meat.

Marinate in refrigerator  for at least 3 hours.

Cut green pepper and onion into 1″ pieces.

Lamb KabobsSkewer meat, peppers, mushrooms, and onion on metal or bamboo skewers.  Alternate meat and veggies.

Grill to desired doneness or about 5 -7 minutes.  Do not over cook.  Meat should be pinkish in the middle.

Serve hot.

Lamb Kabobs
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Servings
8 Kabobs
Servings
8 Kabobs
Lamb Kabobs
Print Recipe
Servings
8 Kabobs
Servings
8 Kabobs
Ingredients
Servings: Kabobs
Instructions
Lemon Marinade
  1. Wash lamb, trim fat, cut into 1" cubes
  2. Place cubes in large ziplock bag and squeeze lemon juice over all.
  3. Shake bag to cover the meat.
  4. Refrigerate about 1 hour.
Seasoned Marinade
  1. After 1 hour remove lamb cubes from lemon juice and rinse.
  2. Place in a clean ziplock bag and add olive oil and spices.
  3. Shake to cover meat.
  4. Marinate in refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
  5. Cut green pepper and onion into 1" pieces.
Grilling
  1. Skewer meat, peppers, mushrooms, and onion on metal or bamboo skewers. Alternate meat and veggies.
  2. Grill to desired doneness or about 5 -7 minutes. Do not over cook. Meat should be pinkish in the middle.
  3. Serve hot.
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Arabic Salad With “Kishk”

Arabic Salad With “Kishk”

Arabic SaladMany of us are familiar with Tabbouleh Salad, the Middle Eastern salad usually made with tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley, and cracked bulgar wheat.  It’s become a staple offered at many Vegetarian, Health Food, and Middle Eastern restaurants.  At home we make it too, but really my husband much prefers the Arabic Salad with Kishk.

Kishk or Kashk is basically dried yogurt or curdled milk that can be formed into balls or chunks and later ground into a powder.  It is used in local cuisine from Iran to Mongolia and is known by different names and prepared in slightly different ways.

Arabic SaladIn our house we use the Lebanese, Syrian, or Palestinian Kishk which is made by mixing powdery bulgar cereal with yogurt.  The mixture is usually formed into balls and dried.

We use it to make mensaf (a lamb stew simmered in a liquid form of Kishk), Arabic Salad, and Kafta (ground meat balls) among other things.

I usually get the balls from my sister-in-law who makes them at home, but I’ve also bought jars of powdered Kishk in Middle Eastern markets.

Arabic Salad is quite tasty and very simple to make.  It’s a great starter, side dish or even a light meal.  My kids love to mix it in with a dish of Macluba (and upside down dish of meat and rice) and my husband likes to eat it drizzled with olive oil and pita bread for scooping.

If you don’t have Kishk, no worries, substitute finely grated fresh parmesan cheese!


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Ingredients:

1 Large Tomato

1 Medium Cucumber

1 Small Onion

1 Tbls. Finely Minced Garlic

1/4 Cup Finely Chopped Parsley

3 Large Radishes, peeled and finely diced

1 Large Jalapeno, seeds removed and finely dices

1/4 – 1/2 Cup Kishk or Parmesan Cheese, finely grated

Ground Sea Salt to taste

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Pita Bread

Directions:

Finely dice all the veggies.

Place in a bowl and mix well.

Add desired amount of Kishk or Parmesan Cheese to taste.

Add Sea Salt to taste.

Place on salad plates or shallow bowls for serving.

Drizzle with olive oil and serve.

You can scoop it up with fresh pita bread, pita chips, or crackers as a starter or side dish.

Store leftovers in the fridge in a tightly sealed container.  Salad does not keep more than 2 days, and that’s pushing it!


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Arabic Salad
Arabic Salad
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Refreshing salad made with fresh tomatoes and cucumbers with a Middle Eastern taste!
Servings Prep Time
4 Servings 20 Minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 Servings 20 Minutes
Arabic Salad
Arabic Salad
Print Recipe
Refreshing salad made with fresh tomatoes and cucumbers with a Middle Eastern taste!
Servings Prep Time
4 Servings 20 Minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 Servings 20 Minutes
Ingredients
Servings: Servings
Instructions
  1. Finely dice all the veggies.
  2. Place in a bowl and mix well.
  3. Add desired amount of Kishk or Parmesan Cheese to taste.
  4. Add Sea Salt to taste.
  5. Place on salad plates or shallow bowls for serving.
  6. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.
  7. You can scoop it up with fresh pita bread, pita chips, or crackers as a starter or side dish.
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Yummy Garlic Sauce

Yummy Garlic Sauce

Yummy Garlic Sauce

For years I raved about this garlic paste from Zankou Chicken, a Lebanese fast food chain in LA, a must have whenever we’re in Southern California.   This sauce which is served with their rotisserie chicken is amazing, we love it so much we’ve even brought some home with us!

It never occurred to me to try making it at home.  I’d read some article about this secret sauce and assumed it was impossible to recreate, not to mention for years I’d mistakenly thought it was an Armenian restaurant and therefore a secret recipe from Armenia.

Imagine my surprise when this summer I was served the exact same creamy paste in restaurants in Jordan and Dubai and told this sauce that I love is Lebanese and is called “Toum”.  When we got home my daughter and I decided to try our hand at making this yummy sauce.

Traditionally I believe the sauce is made by mashing fresh garlic with a mortar and pestle until it turns in to a creamy paste.  I’m pretty sure the restaurants aren’t mashing garlic the traditional way in their kitchens, so I searched the web to see how it”s done.  There are 3 modern methods using either a food processor, blender, and immersion or stick blender.  It seems that the method of preparation is more important than the ingredients, after all there are just 3 ingredients.  Most methods require slowly pouring in the oil to thicken the sauce, I have no patience or time to do that.  There had to be a better way!  Some also required a food processor or an immersion blender.  I didn’t want to haul out the food processor and I don’t own an immersion blender, so I had to use my handy dandy Ninja.

So I found this recipe from Food.com.  It uses a blender and doesn’t require slowly pouring the oil in. Instead it uses egg whites to thicken the sauce.

I have to admit I didn’t get the creamy paste consistency, but I came up with a sauce that is great drizzled or poured over a chicken shawarma sandwich.  I will try making the paste again, maybe after I buy an immersion blender or decide to dig out the food processor.  In the mean time this garlic sauce is pretty darn good!  It makes even the rotisserie chicken from Costco or Sam’s Club great.

Here’s the recipe from Food.com, it’s a wonder that something so delicious is made with just 4 ingredients!  Be sure to use fresh garlic not the bottled minced garlic.  I was lazy and tried that, it did not turn out well.

Ingredients:

3 cups Mazola corn oil

1 cup lemon juice

1 lg. bulb garlic – peeled (I actually used 2 bulbs, I really like garlic)

2 egg whites

1 tsp. salt

Directions:

Put all ingredients in blender

Blend til smooth

Chill before serving

Yummy Garlic Sauce
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
2 Pints 20 Minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 Pints 20 Minutes
Yummy Garlic Sauce
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
2 Pints 20 Minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 Pints 20 Minutes
Ingredients
Servings: Pints
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients in blender
  2. Blend til smooth
  3. Chill before serving
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Shish Taouk – Lebanese Chicken Kabobs

Shish Taouk – Lebanese Chicken Kabobs

Shish Taouk - Lebanese Chicken Kabobs

Another one of my favorites when I’m visiting Jordan or Dubai is Shish Taouk, Lebanese Chicken Kebobs.  I eat this for dinner almost everyday when I’m in that part of the world, basically because I don’t eat lamb (which I’m told is very good there) and really because I just love it.

It’s very similar to the Greek Souvlaki; just marinated in different spices and served with the yummy garlic sauce instead of Tzatziki, the cucumber yogurt sauce so popular in Greece.
For my Chicken Souvlaki & Tzatziki recipe click here.

Shish Taouk, like Souvlaki is marinated in yogurt, placed on skewers, and grilled; the biggest difference is the spices used in the marinade.  I mix my marinade in a large mason jar that way I can shake it until all the ingredients are combined, then I pour the mixture into a large ziplock bag and place the chicken pieces inside.  I marinate the chicken overnight in the refrigerator and place them on skewers just before we grill them.

Another “secret” I’ve discovered in the Middle East is to let the cooked chicken skewers “set” in a large covered WARM pan for about 5-7 minutes before serving.  This lets the chicken soak up it’s juices and the meat comes out very tender and juicy.

In Lebanese restaurants in both Amman and Dubai Shish Taouk is usually served with french fries and hummus with pita bread.  I prefer to have it with steamed white rice.  You can even place the chicken (sans skewers) on a pita add sandwich fixings and have a Shish Taouk Sandwich.

Ingredients:

3 pounds chicken tenderloins – cut into cubes (each tenderloin will make 3-4 cubes)

1 cup lemon juice

3 Tbls.  minced garlic

1/2 cup FULL FAT Greek yogurt

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

2 tsp.  white pepper

1/2 tsp.  ginger powder

1/2 tsp.  nutmeg

1/2 tsp. cinnamon powder

1/2 tsp. oregano

1/2 tsp. paprika

1/2 tsp. chili powder

2 tbls.  tomato paste

salt to taste

Shish Taouk - Lebanese Chicken Kabobs

Directions:

Place all ingredients except the chicken pieces in a large jar.

Shake jar until well combined.

Pour mixture into ziplock bag.

Add chicken cubes to bag.

Refrigerate overnight.

When ready to grill place 3-4 chicken cubes on to a skewer.

Grill until just done -do not over cook – chicken should be firm but not hard

Place skewers in warm covered pot for 5-7 minutes to set before serving.

Serve with your choice of starch and garlic sauce.  For garlic sauce recipe click here!  Enjoy!

Shish Taouk - Lebanese Chicken Kabobs
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6 Servings 15 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
10 Minutes 12 Hours
Servings Prep Time
6 Servings 15 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
10 Minutes 12 Hours
Shish Taouk - Lebanese Chicken Kabobs
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6 Servings 15 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
10 Minutes 12 Hours
Servings Prep Time
6 Servings 15 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
10 Minutes 12 Hours
Ingredients
Servings: Servings
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients except the chicken pieces in a large jar.
  2. Shake jar until well combined.
  3. Pour mixture into ziplock bag.
  4. Add chicken cubes to bag.
  5. Refrigerate overnight.
  6. When ready to grill place 3-4 chicken cubes on to a skewer.
  7. Grill until just done -do not over cook - chicken should be firm but not hard
  8. Place skewers in warm covered pot for 5-7 minutes to set before serving.
  9. Serve with your choice of starch and garlic sauce.
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Easy Chicken Shawarma Sandwich

Easy Chicken Shawarma Sandwich

Chicken Shawarma Sandwich

Since returning from our summer vacation in Jordan and Dubai we’ve had a yen for the popular sandwich served everywhere in the Middle East, the ever popular Chicken Shawarma.

Shawarma is really meat, beef, chicken, veal, turkey, lamb, or a mixture of meats, grilled on a vertical spit; pretty much like how the Greeks prepare Gyros.  You see these spits almost on every corner around Amman.  This sandwich or plates are available from the corner snack shop to the food courts in the malls to even the high end restaurants around town.  They range in price from about $1 to $5 depending on where you buy it; but regardless of where you buy and how much you pay you’re almost sure to walk away with something delicious.

At home in Hawaii finding shawarma is nearly impossible, we have very few Greek restaurants and even fewer Middle Eastern ones.  I’m sure we’ve tried them all; some are adequate, but most we’ve found lacking.  The only way to get good Middle Eastern food is to make it at home.

So how was I supposed to make my favorite chicken shawarma?  I don’t own a vertical spit and wasn’t about to buy one; frankly I doubt I’d ever figure out how to use it.  Surely there was an easier way to make this yummy dish using equipment I already own, namely my stove.  I looked online and found several recipes that called for either oven roasting the chicken or frying it on the stove.   I didn’t care how it was cooked as long as it tasted good.  After experimenting with different spices I finally came up with a recipe that my husband says is almost exactly like the chicken shawarma we enjoyed in Amman.

Really the secret is in the marinade, that’s what makes the chicken tender and gives it that tangy spicy flavor.  I marinate the chicken over night, roast it in the oven, then make the sandwich on fresh pita with veggies and that oh so yummy garlic sauce.  The sauce is really a must for this sandwich, to learn how to make it click here.

Shawarma sandwiches are great for lunch, dinner, or snacks.  Really I can eat them all day long!  My grandsons love them too!

My recipe uses FULL FAT Greek Yogurt – I’ve tried it with the non-fat or low-fat yogurts, it doesn’t come out as tender.

Marinade Ingredients:

2 pounds chicken tenderloins – cut in half lengthwise
2 tbls. minced garlic
1 tsp. turmeric powder
1 tsp. cumin powder
1/2 tsp.  paprika
1 tsp. curry powder
1/4 cup FULL FAT Greek yogurt

Sandwich Ingredients:

Fresh Pita or French bread
Garlic Sauce
Tomato slices
Cucumber slices
Sour Pickles

Directions:

Mix all the ingredients together and pour into a ziplock bag.
Put chicken pieces in bag and marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

Place marinated chicken on parchment covered baking sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes – turning chicken half-way thru the cooking time.

When the chicken is cooked put your sandwich together.  You can either cut the pita in half to form pockets you stuff with the chicken and other sandwich fixings or you can place all the fixings on top of the whole pita then roll it up tortilla style.  When I roll it up I like to wrap the bottom half in parchment or wax paper to keep the sandwich together.  Of course if you’re packing them to take along then it’s easier to roll them and wrap them in paper.

Which ever way you put the sandwich together first spread some of the garlic sauce on the bread – then put in the chicken and veggies then drizzle the whole thing with more garlic sauce.

It’s really yummy!  Enjoy!

For my Beef Shawarma Recipe click here!

Easy Chicken Shawarma Sandwich
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6 Sandwiches 15 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
20 Minutes 12 Hours
Servings Prep Time
6 Sandwiches 15 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
20 Minutes 12 Hours
Easy Chicken Shawarma Sandwich
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6 Sandwiches 15 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
20 Minutes 12 Hours
Servings Prep Time
6 Sandwiches 15 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
20 Minutes 12 Hours
Ingredients
Marinade
Sandwich Fixings
Servings: Sandwiches
Instructions
  1. Mix all the ingredients together and pour into a ziplock bag.
  2. Put chicken pieces in bag and marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
  3. Place marinated chicken on parchment covered baking sheet.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes - turning chicken half-way thru the cooking time.
Recipe Notes

When the chicken is cooked put your sandwich together. You can either cut the pita in half to form pockets you stuff with the chicken and other sandwich fixings or you can place all the fixings on top of the whole pita then roll it up tortilla style. When I roll it up I like to wrap the bottom half in parchment or wax paper to keep the sandwich together. Of course if you're packing them to take along then it's easier to roll them and wrap them in paper.

Which ever way you put the sandwich together first spread some of the garlic sauce on the bread - then put in the chicken and veggies then drizzle the whole thing with more garlic sauce.

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