It rained the whole Saturday, and then the sun came out brightly on Sunday. It felt so sudden, but we are used to (or rather, fed up with) this typical Melbourne weather. I was thinking of my trip to Preston market the previous day, how I got soaked in the rain. And driving in and out of the chaotic car park was not a pleasant experience.
But then, I got a beautiful box of cherries, mangoes, asparagus and other seasonal produces. Stone fruits have also made their appearance. Just lovely. My trusted butcher also managed to “up sell” a leg of lamb to me. I initially thought of doing a lamb roast on Sunday, but the sunny weather changed my plan.Instead, we had BBQ lamb skewer.
At our house, we only do BBQ over a char coal kettle. No gas BBQ for us, since we love the char flavours a lot. I make satay and Vietnamese meat skewers this way. No compromise!
I have adapted a lovely marinate recipe from Gref Malouf for my meat. The spices go particularly well with lamb. I even consider that cumin is the perfect partner to lamb, even more so than rosemary. The end result is spicy, juicy spring lamb skewers.
We enjoyed our BBQ lamb pieces with a simple burghul salad, wrapped in fresh lettuce and radish slices. The salad itself is something I should make more often this summer. It is wonderfully tangy, spicy and refreshing with the use of pomegranate molasses, Turkish pepper paste, cumin and a lot of fresh herbs. It was a lovely dinner. Although I ended up smelling like charred meat!
BBQ lamb skewer
We are blessed with good quality lamb in Australia. Use high quality spring lamb leg for this recipe. Use different color bell peppers (capsicums) for a vivid presentation.
Ingredients (serves 6 or more)
1.8kilos lamb leg, bone removed (ask your butcher to do this for you)
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 tablespoons Turkish pepper paste (mild or hot)
2 tsp cumin powder
1 tablespoon amchoor powder (Indian dried sour mango powder)*
½ tsp or more cayenne pepper
2.5 tblp salt
Generous amount of freshly cracked pepper
2-3 tbp olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, smashed
To assemble the skewers:
2 brown onions, slice to “half moon” shape
2 bell peppers, deseeded and cut to large pieces
Condiments: mayonnaise, chili sauce, slices of red radishes, lettuce leaves
Trim off the fat and sinew from the lamb leg, cut into cubes of 0.5cmx0.5cm.
Combine all the marinate ingredients with the oil, stir to combine and “massage” into the meat. Cover, and let marinate for 3-4 hours. Meanwhile, soak the skewers in cold water.
Around 40 minutes before the BBQ time, thread the meat, onion and capsicum pieces onto the skewers. Set aside. You would want to start the BBQ about 30 mins before starting time as well. Do not BBQ the meat when the coal is hot and red. This will burn the meat. It is best to wait a while, until the coal is greyish . This way, the meat will cook evenly with beautiful smoky flavours.
BBQ the meat skewers until cooked to your liking. Serve with burghul salad, or other salads of your liking.
(*) If you don’t have amchoor powder, substitute with a few spoons of yoghurt.Don’t marinate the meat overnight though.
A tangy burghul salad
My interpretation of Kisir, a traditional Turkish salad. I have made them a bit less sour, and add more herbs to my liking. I imagine couscous will be a good substitute.
Ingredients (serves 4 or more)
2 cups of fine burghul
2.5 cups boiling water
2 tsp salt
1 tablespoon Turkish pepper paste
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
A small bunch each of mint and parsley, finely chopped
Lemon juice – to taste
Pour the boiling water over the burghul. Cover and let it sit for 20 minutes.
Use a fork, separate the grain. Add in the pepper paste, tomato paste, pomegranate molasses and mix well to combine. Adjust the seasoning with salt and lemon juice. When you are happy with the taste, mix in chopped herbs. Serve with plenty of lettuce.