Delicious recipe for Lamb Kebabs, served with fruity couscous and a pomegranate raita

For the kebabs:
500g lamb steak
150g full cream Greek yoghurt
3 green cardamom pods, smashed open
1 tsp powdered coriander
1 tsp powdered cumin
½ tsp ordinary paprika (not smoked)
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp powdered ginger
¼ tsp powdered turmeric
thin wooden skewers, soaked in water for 10 minutes

For the couscous:
¾ cup plain couscous
¾ cup boiling water
small sachet of chicken stock concentrate
¼ cup almond flakes, toasted in a dry pan until brown
½ cup pistachios, toasted in a dry pan until crunchy, then roughly chopped
½ cup pomegranate seeds
large handful of coriander, roughly chopped
3 tbs mint, finely chopped
1 medium-strength red chilli, seeded and finely diced
¼ cup fresh dates, diced (or the equivalent in sultanas, or a mix of sultanas and dried apricots)

For the raita:
¼ cup cucumber, diced
¼ cup pomegranates
small container (150g) full cream Greek yoghurt
pinch of salt
generous pinch of cumin

To serve:
Large lettuce leaves

How to
Cut the lamb steak into long strips, about 2cm wide and 1cm thick. Mix the yoghurt and all the spices. Add the meat to the spicy yoghurt, mix thoroughly, cover and chill for at least an hour, preferably 2, to marinate.

Add the couscous, boiling water and chicken stock to a large bowl, cover with a plate and leave for half an hour. Once the couscous has absorbed all the water, separate it with a fork so it’s nice a fluffy. Measure out two cups of cooked couscous and add the rest of the ingredients to it, mix lightly with a fork and set aside.

Mix the raita ingredients. Leave a few of the pomegranate pips out so you can sprinkle them on top for the pretty.

Remove the meat from the fridge, sprinkle generously with salt and thread onto wooden skewers in a zig-zag pattern. Cook on the braai or in a hot pan with a generous glug of olive oil.

Serve kebabs right away with couscous, raita and lettuce on a large platter and let everybody build their perfect spicy Middle-Eastern lettuce wrap.

Getting pips out of pomegranates:
The white membrane encasing pomegranate pips can be beastly. I find the fastest way to get the pips out, is to cut the pomegranate into halves or quarters, turn them (pip side down of course) over a large bowl and smack the skin hard with a tablespoon. The pips pop out in mere seconds. Take care not to smack your fingers. I’ve done that!

Recipe by Lizet Hartley, courtesy of Melkkos & Merlot, a bilingual blog about food.

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