Spicy Cumin Lamb Skewers Recipe

Joshua Bousel

A marriage of Middle Eastern and Chinese influence, these earthy, spicy, and pungent lamb skewers deliver such a unique flavor that they seem persistently exciting.

Recipe Facts

Active: 30 mins
Total: 2 hrs 30 mins
Serves: 4 to 6 servings

Rate & Comment


  • 3 tablespoons cumin
  • 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dry sherry
  • 2 teaspoons freshly minced garlic (about 2 medium cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless lamb shoulder or leg, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, trimmed of excess fat and gristle
  • Wooden skewers, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes prior to use
  • Type of fire: Direct
  • Grill heat: medium-high


  1. Place cumin seeds in a cast iron skillet over medium heat and toast until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer 1 1/2 tablespoons of the toasted cumin seeds to a spice grinder and grind into a fine powder.

  2. Transfer ground cumin to a small bowl and whisk in remaining cumin seeds, oil, soy sauce, sherry, garlic, and crushed red pepper. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  3. Place lamb in a large resealable plastic bag. Pour in marinade, seal, and toss to thoroughly coat lamb. Place in refrigerator and marinate for 2 hours to overnight.

  4. Thread lamb onto skewers.

  5. Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over entire surface of coal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Grill skewers until browned on all sides, 3-4 minutes per side. Remove to a platter, let rest for 5 minutes, then serve immediately.

Special equipment

Spice Grinder, Grill

This Recipe Appears In