Seekh kebab are delicious, spicy lamb skewers loaded with big Indian flavours and grilled over open flame. Serve them up with a bit of mint coriander yogurt dipping sauce and you have an appetizer that can eat like a meal.
If that sounds good to you, you need to make these. Soon.
Who doesn’t like meat on a stick? It’s everywhere. Japan has yakitori. The Turks have shish kebab. South east Asia has satay. And India has seekh kebab.
I don’t know the origin of seekh kebab. But I would guess it’s that Persian influence you see in so much Northern Indian cooking. From Turkey to the rest of the Middle East. Through Pakistan and then India. Makes sense. To me anyway.
I do know I like it though. A lot. But I am a big fan of meat on a stick. On a small scale like this. And on a big scale. Like spit roasted chickens. Something about meat basting itself over fire just does it for me.
Seekh kebab are like a twist on middle eastern kofta
I think seekh kebab are an Indian variant on kofta. At least how I was taught to make kofta. Lots of chopped parsley, onion, garlic and lamb. Some salt and pepper.
Rolled around a skewer and grilled. Served with a bit of lemon and a yoghurt based dipping sauce. A simpler version maybe. But very similar. I love how cooking evolves across borders. And through time.
Don’t skimp on the seasonings
There are a lot of flavours going on in these seekh kebab. The backbones are garlic, ginger and shallot. Garlic ginger paste and finely chopped shallots to be specific. Really finely chopped shallot. You want it to disappear into the meat when it’s cooked.
Spices make up the next layer of flavour. There’s a full tablespoon of spice in a pound of lamb. And you could probably push that up a bit if you really wanted to.
Simple spices here. No trip to the Indian grocer required. Cumin, coriander and chili powder. Not so hard to find. Except maybe the Kashmiri chili powder. But you need to own some of that anyway. It’s big flavour without tons of heat. So you can add lots.
Bright flavours next. Green chili and cilantro. A burst of fresh and a little bit hot. It’s a nice touch. And it’s in balance. So don’t leave it out.
It may seem like a lot of ingredients. But in Indian cooking layering flavours is everything. And it’s not that much work really. Toss some stuff in a bowl. Mush it up with your hands. Good to go.
Grilling technique really matters with seekh kebab
I say grilling technique is important a lot. And I truly believe it. With seekh kebab it is really important. These are little bits of ground lamb wrapped around a stick. Disaster waiting to happen. Pretty much guaranteed.
Slap these on the grill and hope. That will not work. Don’t even try. These things are delicate. So they need to be babied a bit.
Medium fire. That’s important. If they do stick a bit you don’t want them burning before they release. They cook fast anyway. No need to sear them.
A fine grate helps. Look at the picture. See the grate I’m using? That helps a lot. You can get them for next to nothing at Asian groceries and kitchen supply stores. And they are super handy to have. For all kinds of delicate grilling.
Oil your grate. No matter what grate you use do yourself a favour and coat it with a bit of oil before you start. That will make a big difference.
Use tongs and a spatula. You don’t have time to go running back to the kitchen to get tools. It goes fast. So have them both on hand. Tongs work if the meat releases. Spatulas help if it doesn’t.
Once the seekh kebab are semi-cooked the skewers work. Until then best to have as much helpful gear on hand as possible.
Have an instant read thermometer handy as well. You don’t want to serve undercooked ground lamb. But you don’t want to over cook it either. A thermometer makes nailing it easy. No guessing. Better cooking through science.
Mint coriander chutney dip
If there was ever a dish that goes well with a blend of mint coriander chutney and yoghurt seekh kebab is it. It just works. As a dip. Or as a sauce if you want to make seekh kebab wraps.
You can buy mint coriander chutney and just mix it with yoghurt. That works. Just mix it up roughly two parts chutney to one part plain yoghurt.
Or you can go the distance and make it yourself. Maybe not every time. But you should really try to make mint coriander chutney at least once in your life. It is so much better than the stuff you can buy. Unbelievable really.
Lamb seekh kebab Indian style. Really tasty stuff. Try it sometime when you are hosting an Indian dinner party. Makes the kind of appetizer that just gets devoured.
Or mix it up a bit and make a wrap. I love seekh kebab wraps. A fresh chapati. Some lettuce. Maybe a bit of green onion. Lamb kebab. And a good drizzle of mint coriander dipping sauce. Just good living.
Seekh kebab mixture
- 1 lb ground lamb
- 2 green chilies - I use finger hot green chilies
- 1/2 cup shallot - as finely chopped as you can get it
- 1/2 cup cilantro stems and leaves, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp yoghurt plain (unflavoured)
- 2 tsp garlic ginger paste
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1/2-1 tsp kashmiri chili powder
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 12 wooden skewers soaked in water
- the seekh kebab mixture
- 4 tbsp mint coriander chutney store bought or home made
- 2 tbsp plain yoghurt
- lemon to garnish
Prepare the seekh kebab mixture
- Combine all the ingredients listed in the seekh kebab mixture ingredient list. Work the mixture with your hands to thoroughly combine. You don't need to be gentle here. Really work it all together.
- Refrigerate for 20 minutes or so while you get your grill ready. Start soaking your skewers now.
Make the seekh kebabs
- Light your grill. You want to grill over medium high direct heat. But you also want to leave yourself a cooler zone. For charcoal bank your fire on one side. For gas simply leave an element on low with the rest on medium high.
- Prep your dipping sauce. Combine the mint coriander chutney with the yoghurt and stir to combine. Set aside.
- Wet your hands. Grab a large golf ball worth of seekh kebab mixture. Roll it into a ball. Pass the skewer through the center of the ball. Now spread it out along the skewer. You are making little lamb tubes here. If the first couple don't quite work out just pull the lamb off and start again. You will get the hang of it.
- Once you have skewered all the meat, transfer the kebabs to the grill. It's never a bad idea to give yourself a little insulation over the exposed wood portion of the skewers. A little strip of tin foil can make the difference between burned skewer stumps and useful skewers.
- Grill, turning every couple minutes until the lamb is cooked through. You want an internal temperature of 160F. I know that is high but in the case of ground meat you need to be careful. Sucks. I know. Safety first.
- Drizzle with a bit of fresh lemon juice. Serve with mint coriander chutney mixed with a bit of yoghurt.
26 thoughts on “seekh kebab – spicy lamb skewers”
finally another comment from us. Yesterday night good friends were over for dinner. I often take Seekh Kebab as a starter in Indian restaurants, now I chose to cook this recipe as a main dish myself. Papadums with chutney’s first, of course! This Seekh Kebab recipe is absolutely delicious and was a direct hit. I added some fresh mint as well, which was a good idea. The kebabs went on the kettle grill, and the temperature of 160F is absolutely fine, the meat was tender and juicy. The guests were uttering frequently “Lekker, hoor!” which is Dutch for something like “Delicious, really!”. (Our son just had two leftover kebabs for lunch, now the whole living room smells fantastic again.) To finish the evening, I opened a bottle of Gewürztraminer Sekt from the Pfalz, which was fitting absolutely well and felt like a kind of summary of the whole dinner. Once again you made our evening! Thanks a lot, and as always we can only praise you and the glebekitchen recipes! Kind regards from The Hague, Netherlands.
So happy to hear from you Daniel. I hope you and the family are well. I’m going to repeat your menu I think. A skewers party perhaps. Seekh kebab and maybe chicken tikka. I’m already looking forward to it.
Fantastic results again, down to the precise detailing of your recipe. Thanks Romain!
I’ve now made seekh kebabs that are better than any I’ve ever been served in a restaurant. My partner thinks so too – he said it first.
As an earlier comment said – WOW – another one for the bookmarks page.
PS – I used the grill in the oven, with the skewers sitting across a roasting rack – we don’t have any sort of BBQ. That worked fine.
My pleasure and awesome to hear! Great that your partner enjoyed them as well:-)
I’ve not actually made your recipe as I have my own that I’ve been fine tuning for decades. One thing I do note though, is that you (and most other recipes) use fresh corriander. I really suggest that you try your recipe with fresh mint instead of corriander. Personally I think it’s a game changer.
I do like mint. I’ll give that a try (or maybe a blend) when the mint starts popping up in a few weeks.
Wow. Another recipe added to the bookmarks, 11/10
You made me smile!!!
Hi Romain. Your site and the work you have put into it has been nothing short of a revelation for me. As a relative novice cook I never expected to be cooking Indian food of this calibre. Thanks so much. My inaugural batch of restaurant style gravy is bubbling away as I type.
Could other ground meats be easily subbed into this recipe? Would the spice/herb combo work with pork for example? Its just what i have in the fridge…
I have not ever tried this. I’m generally not a fan of using pork with Indian spicing (vindaloo being the notable exception) but it’s worth a try. I do love pork everything else so I’d love to hear what you think.
Hi – I don’t have a gas at hone. Only electric. Can you do these on the oven?
This recipe is meant to be done on a BBQ. Any BBQ will do. I just like charcoal better. You could try them in the oven as well although I’ve never done that…
Hi Romain I need your help, my girls love the kebabs but they want the Yoghurt (yellow) mint sauce that’s served with these and poppadoms and try as I might I cant get this to taste like the restaurants…any Ideas please ( I think it’s probably more english restaurants) thank you in advance Veronica
Good to hear from you! I believe (although I can’t hit a UK restaurant to test my theory) that it’s mint sauce (like Coleman’s), yoghurt and a bit of sugar or salt or both depending where you want the flavour profile to be. The yellow is just turmeric for colour.
One trick I have learned from one of the best Indian restaurants around here is a little mayonnaise mixed in as well adds a wonderful richness for to yoghurt-based dipping sauce.
Hope that helps…
Brilliant going to try this today…will let you know cheers Romain
I think for the UK mint sauce it’s the recipe Romain suggested but with a spoonful of tamarind paste. That’s the secret ingredient that makes the unique flavour
Thanks Guys, Your Recipe Was Too Fantastic. Me and My Family Loved it. I Will Share your Rrecipe with my friends. Hope they will love it too.
Just made these and I swear the kids think I’ve popped to the indian takeaway and bought them!! Absolutely lovely, thank you Romain for yet another delicious recipe
Love it! Delighted to hear this.
I’ve made this recipe tonight and the only change was that I swapped mint for cilantro and shaped it into a burger (I made 4)and topped with crumbled feta and tomato. They were so good and moist. I will make this over and over!
Mmmm… I am going to follow your lead and make seekh kebabs burgers on brioche. Great idea. Thanks! That’s dinner this weekend I think! Love that you did this on International burger day!
What is the “lamb mixture”? I couldn’t find any other reference to it besides in the recipe ingredients?
It is the seekh kebab mixture. I’ve clarified that in the recipe.
Love this recipe! Looking forward to trying it out!
Absolutely loooove you’re recipes. I’m a massive fan of Indian food. Do you have a recipe for the red onion chutney? And riata sauce for dipping my naan bread and poppodoms in? Hope you do. Cheers
Thank you so much for saying so. I will put the chutney and raita recipes on the list.