RECIPE: Charred lamb kebabs with pickled onions and saffron yoghurt

PA reporter

There’s no excuse for not having a barbecue when these lamb kebabs are on the menu.

“Growing up in Ireland, a summer barbecue usually entailed burnt sausages and burgers snaffled under an umbrella. But something has happened in Ireland more recently, where we are embracing our unpredictable weather with year-round sea swimming, outdoor hiking and barbecue aficionados perfecting their grill game, rain or shine,” explains food writer and presenter, Donal Skehan.

“Whatever the weather, these lamb kebabs are at their best cooked over an open flame, giving a smoky flavour and a lightly charred texture.

Donal Skehan’s charred lamb kebabs with pickled onions and saffron yoghurt


(Serves 4)

800g (1lb 12oz) lamb leg, diced into chunks

5 garlic cloves, grated

1tbsp (heaped) ras el hanout

2tbsp olive oil

4 large pitta breads

200g (7oz) hummus

Handful of flat-leaf parsley or coriander (cilantro) leaves

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the lemon and saffron yoghurt:

Small pinch of saffron strands

2tbsp boiling water

200g (7oz) Greek yoghurt

2 garlic cloves, finely grated

Zest of ½ lemon

For the pickled onions:

2 red onions, thinly sliced

1tbsp coriander seeds

Juice of ½ lemon

Pinch of sugar

1tbsp extra virgin olive oil


1. Put the lamb into a large bowl with the garlic, ras el hanout and the olive oil. Season with sea salt and toss to combine completely. Leave the lamb to sit, covered with cling film, in the fridge for at least one hour. Alternatively make this ahead of time and leave to marinate overnight.

2. While the lamb marinates, prepare the yoghurt sauce: infuse the saffron strands in the hot water in a small bowl and leave to stand for five minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well to combine. Season to taste and set aside.

3. To make the pickled onions toss the red onions and coriander seeds with the lemon juice and sugar and season generously with sea salt. Set aside to let the onions soften and pickle.

4. Once the spices have permeated the meat, thread the lamb pieces onto eight metal skewers and arrange on a large baking sheet. Place the lamb skewers to cook over a hot barbecue or a scorching hot griddle pan for three minutes on each side, or until medium rare. Turn as needed until you have a lightly charred exterior and a blushing pink interior. While the lamb cooks, toast the pitta breads on the barbecue or just in a toaster.

5. Spread each pitta with hummus, slide the lamb off the skewers and place on top of the pitta with the pickled onion and herbs. Drizzle with the yoghurt sauce before tucking in.

Recipe from Everyday Cook by Donal Skehan, published by Hodder & Stoughton, priced £25. Available now.

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