Practically every culture has their own version of grilled meat on a skewer. It’s one of those foods that’s enjoyed around the globe, that just about everyone can relate to.
Whether you like to sit down to a plate of satay chicken, murgh malai, espetinho de peixe, or these lamb kebabs, meat on a stick is the perfect centerpiece to any meal, or it also makes a succulent and delicious snack.
For me, anything served on a skewer is an automatic win, especially when it’s hot off the grill.
Do you use your grill year round? I certainly try to. Even when there is snow on the ground, I can almost always find a reason to fire it up.
The only days when I can’t grill are when it’s so cold that I can’t get it up to temperature in the depths of a chilly Colorado winter.
Thankfully, we don’t experience these sub-zero temperatures often. Grilling is almost always an option for those who are thick-skinned and don’t mind a little chill in the air.
Of course, it’s even better in the summertime.
I am a huge fan of kebabs, whether they be chicken, beef, pork, or lamb. I’ve seen this style of kebab made with beef, but personally, I prefer juicy lamb.
This is a popular street food year-round, and a favorite when grilling at home. These are featured on my menu at home throughout the year, because they are so easy to prepare.
The key to this recipe is the marinade, which imparts so much flavor into the meat. You will want to be sure to cut the meat into small cubes so the marinade can make maximum surface contact and really seep in.
The total time to marinate the meat actually isn’t too long, only two to four hours in total. It’s much better than having to marinate overnight, am I right?
The basic ingredients that this mix may include are allspice, cardamom, chili peppers, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, ginger, mace, nutmeg, paprika, peppercorns, sumac, and turmeric. Ras el hanout is extensively used in Moroccan cuisine and in neighboring North African countries.
It can be used as a dry rub for different proteins as well, but in this preparation it’s added to the yogurt sauce that serves as the marinade, and this doubles as the sauce that’s drizzled on top when you serve the kebabs.
This diverse combination of spices is no surprise, given the history of Morocco’s spice trade. With tons of culinary and cultural influences crossing paths in this region, just about every classic Moroccan dish includes a myriad of flavors.
When you make these kebabs, be sure to enjoy them with your family and friends if you have the opportunity to do so. In Morocco, food is often served communally, with people gathering together and eating from the same platter or out of the same cooking pot. These make for a tasty appetizer as well as a dinner entree option.
For serving, I like to pair these with a light side salad. However, if you are making these for a party, there are lots of other snacks that can go along with them.Print
These juicy marinated Moroccan lamb kebabs are proof that grilled meat on skewers always makes for a wonderful snack or centerpiece of a meal.
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Zest of 1/2 lemon (about 1 1/2 teaspoon)
- Juice of 1/2 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
- 4 1/2 teaspoons ras el hanout
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3 pounds lamb, cubed (lamb shank or neck are best)
- Bamboo skewers
- Add yogurt, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, mint, ras el hanout, salt, and black pepper to a small bowl. Stir until combined.
- Transfer half of the yogurt mixture to a large resealable bag. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
- Add cubed lamb to the bag and seal. Move the lamb around in the bag with your hands to coat it evenly in the marinade mixture. Refrigerate for 2-4 hours.
- Soak skewers in cold water for 30-60 minutes before you plan to cook.
- Preheat grill to medium heat (about 325-350˚F). Remove meat from marinade and thread onto skewers. Discard the bag and any marinade that remains.
- Grill for 3-5 minutes per side, until browned and cooked through.
- Drizzle meat with the refrigerated yogurt mixture that you reserved before serving.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Lamb
- Method: Grilling
- Cuisine: Kebabs
Keywords: lamb, kebab, Moroccan, ras el hanout
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prep and Measure Ingredients
Peel and mince two cloves of garlic. If you like, you can use your garlic press for this.
Chop enough fresh mint leaves until you have 1/2 cup total.
Cube the lamb into small pieces, about 1 1/2 to 2 inches square. Try to cut them relatively uniformly so they cook evenly.
Step 2 – Make Marinade
Stir together the yogurt, minced garlic, lemon zest and juice, mint, ras el hanout, salt, and pepper in a small bowl until combined.
Add half of the yogurt mixture to a large resealable bag. Cover the remaining sauce with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator until ready to serve. This will be used as the sauce that you drizzle on the meat after it’s cooked.
Step 3 – Marinate
Add lamb cubes to the bag and seal. Use your hands to move the meat around, and make sure all the meat is evenly coated in the marinade.
Refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours.
Step 4 – Assemble and Grill
Before you are ready to cook, soak the bamboo skewers in cold water for 30 to 60 minutes, to prevent scorching.
Preheat your grill to medium heat, about 325 to 350˚F. Remove meat from the marinade and thread onto the skewers. Discard any leftover marinade. You don’t want to use the sauce that had uncooked meat in it to garnish your finished skewers.
Grill the skewers for about 3 to 5 minutes per side, until the meat is browned and cooked through.
Serve with a drizzle of the remaining chilled yogurt sauce.
Where Can I Find Ras El Hanout?
You should be able to find ras el hanout at any specialty spice store. I have also seen this flavorful mix at bigger grocery stores, but I have found availability varies from region to region. But I think the best option is to make your own at home.
This way, you have full control over the ingredients and proportions used to make your custom mix. Though the mixture includes a lot of different herbs and spices, they are generally common to what you might find in a typical household spice rack.
Hopefully you won’t have to go out and buy a bunch of fancy spices that you won’t use for anything other than this recipe!
Want to explore even more delicious skewer recipes? Try these favorites from Foodal next:
What will you serve with these flavorful Moroccan lamb kebabs? Tell us in the comments below, and be sure to come back to rate the recipe after you try it!
Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on August 15, 2015 by Lorna Kring. Last updated September 8. 2020.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Meghan Yager
Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.