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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Middle Eastern Spiced Kabobs

As food lovers, my husband and I were in hog heaven while living in the DC area. There were so many restaurants to choose from! We could eat at a different place every time we wanted to eat out and never double up unless we really wanted to. And the types of food available? Endless. So many different ethnic foods to choose from: Afghan, Indian, Greek, Peruvian, Thai, African... you name it! And that's not including the standard Italian, Mexican, and Chinese. Middle Eastern fare became one of our favorites. We ate a lot of kabobs last year!

Imagine our dismay, then, when moving to the suburbs of Chicago, we found that the vast majority of the restaurants around here fit into three categories: pizza, hot dogs, and Italian. Harrumph. I think I may have seen an Indian place the other day, but I was quite a bit out of our local area. Needless to say, we're craving some kabobs! What can you do but make your own? Fortunately, they're pretty easy. Once I got a seasoning that I liked, it was all cake.

You can use just about any kind of meat you'd like for these kabobs. I've mostly used beef, but lamb would be fabulous, as would chicken. Whatever type of meat you use, make sure you use a good cut. Nobody wants to gnaw on a tough piece of kabob!

The first step is to prepare the fresh ingredients. Mince a bunch of onion, garlic, and fresh parsley. Stir together and put in a medium sized bowl.

Next, you need to put together your spice mixture. This is a decent sized list of all dried spices that you can then store and use as needed. You'll only need four teaspoons of the mixture for this recipe. Save the rest for next time. I just love the smell of this mixture. Makes me salivate thinking about it!

Lastly, cube your meat and mix it all together. I like my meat in roughly one inch cubes. That way they're big enough to get some nice color on the outside without overcooking the inside. Here I've used sirloin beef. It was nice and tender and was cooked to about medium by the time it was all said and done.

The most important part of this recipe is how they are cooked. It's imperative that these are cooked outside on a grill. That's the only way to get that great, smoky flavor that makes these so delicious. Skewer them up and cook over a hot fire to get a good sear on them. Delicious!

Middle Eastern Spiced Kabobs
Yield: seasons up to 2 lbs of meat

1 1/2 - 2 pounds tender beef, lamb, or chicken cut in 1" cubes

1 TBS finely minced garlic
1 TBS minced fresh parsley
1 TBS very finely minced onion

4 tsp of spice mix (see below)
1 TBS olive oil
salt to taste

Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl. Let meat sit, covered and refrigerated, for 2 to 12 hours. Skewer and grill over high heat. Use a tender cut of meat and cook medium-rare to medium.

Spice Mixture:
1 TBS ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground all spice
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground ginger


  1. Your blog is wonderful! I can't wait to try some of your recipes. You remind me of me when I was younger, before I had kids. :)

    So.... a question for you.... can you estimate how much time you spend per day or per week cooking for you and your husband?

    I read an article recently that suggested that "most" American families (who do not cook from scratch) spend about 4.5 hours in the kitchen cooking (this does not include shopping, eating or cleanup time) PER WEEK. And that, in order to prepare most or all meals from scratch, approximately 14-16 hours per week is required.

    Because I have children, work and am a single parent, I do struggle to make all of my family's meals from scratch, due to the time factor alone. So I am wondering how it seems to you?

    My recollection is that I had a lot more time to cook from scratch when I was working, in my 20s, before I got married and had kids. I stayed at home with the kids when they were young and I had more time then, too (but less than before kids). But the combo of working, single parent and kids seems extremely hard to pull off.

    Thanks for your great blog!

    1. Thanks for such a nice note. It's funny you should mention the time and kids thing... since I had my first baby last February, my posting has been pretty sparse!! Imagine that. :-) As for how much time it takes to cook from scratch, well - that really depends on your style. Back when my life wasn't so crazy, I spent a lot more time cooking from scratch, but that was mostly because I wanted to experiment and try more complex recipes. If you simply want to cook healthy, tasty meals from scratch without spending all day in the kitchen, that is completely doable as well. With an infant under a year, I simply choose these days to prepare meals that can be made in less than 30 minutes. I have a number of recipes that fit that bill. It may take me a week or two to get it done, but you've inspired me to add a new category to my blog: quick meal ideas. I'll go through my blog and pick out all the dinner recipes I have (main dish and sides) that can be made in less than 30 minutes. Cooking from scratch doesn't have to be really laborious... unless you want it to!

  2. These looks delicious cant wait to try them!


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