Middle Eastern Spiced Kebabs with Raita

Indian Spiced Kebabs

If you enjoy the exotic flavours of Middle Eastern foods, you will love these kebabs. They are as easy as mixing up a batch of burgers, but the flavour is so awesome — you might forget about standard burgers altogether.

You can adjust the heat in these depending on how spicy you enjoy your food– add more cayenne as necessary. The cucumber raita cools things down and compliments the flavour of these kebabs perfectly. I make them in a log shape–kebabs without the sticks– about 5 inches long by 2 inches wide.   They are also great in a burger shape, served on a bun with raita, lettuce and tomato. Once you make them, you will be asked to make them again. Use a good quality ground beef. I buy pasture-raised, grass-fed beef and it does taste alot better. { Investigate your local farmer’s market to find organic beef and many other wholesome products.}

*once you have mixed up your mixture and shaped them into logs- they freeze perfectly too.

Middle Eastern Spiced Kebabs

makes 8 (4 oz) kebabs, or 4 (8 oz) burgers

2 lb ground beef

1 medium onion, grated

2 tbsp grated fresh ginger

4 cloves garlic, finely diced

2 tsp  ground cumin

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

2 tsp garam masala (spice mixture available at asian / indian markets)

2 egg yolks

1 tsp salt

a handful of fresh coriander, chopped finely (if you have it)

Mix up ingredients. Shape into logs or patties. Cover and refrigerate, let the flavours meld for at least 1/2 an hour.  Heat bbq up to medium (about 325-350F). Cook directly on the grill, turning frequently, until cooked through and kebabs have reached an inner temp of 170F. Serve with raita. (see recipe below)

meat mixture with all ingredients

kebabs shaped into 5 inch logs

grill kebabs

Cucumber Raita

1 cup plain yogurt

1/3 cup grated (and squeezed out on a paper towel) cucumber

1/2 tsp cumin

Mix ingredients. Serve with kebabs.

raita mixture

kebab with raita and salad – a healthy lunch or dinner

Tandoori Chicken

tandoori chicken

This is a great recipe for this time of year–bbq season– but also very good in the oven – and you will want to make this all year long. It’s got great concentrated flavour, and all you have to do is put together a super-easy,  yogurt-based marinade, score your chicken, let it marinate and then bbq or bake it.  The yogurt base tenderizes your chicken and the Middle Eastern spices make it aromatic and exotic tasting.  Make sure your spices are fresh –  it makes all the difference. You will be making this again and again, so you might as well get some fresh spices.  I like to serve some cucumber raita alongside. (recipe below). You can use any type of chicken pieces you like. I usually use bone-in chicken breast, skinned and cut in two.  You can marinate a big batch of chicken and put half in the freezer — it’s perfect for that. This recipe makes enough marinade for about 5-6 pounds (3 kg) of chicken. It will be a family favourite. Great the next day for lunch on a salad or with rice. TRY!

Tandoori  Chicken Marinade

1 medium onion, grated (or minced in processer)

2 cloves garlic

1 tbsp minced  fresh ginger

1 tbsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander seed

1/2 tsp tumeric (for colour, if you don’t have any, don’t worry about it)

¼ tsp cayenne (more if you like it hot)

1 tsp salt

1 cup plain yogurt

Juice of ½ lemon

[1-3 kgs of chicken pieces]

[½ cup melted butter for basting at the end.]

Mix up ingredients except chicken and  melted butter–feel free to throw it all in the processor or grate and chop and mix by hand.  Remove skin from chicken, and score deeply. Massage marinade into chicken. Best if meat is marinated for 24 hours. (minimum 6 hours)

*divide remaining marinade into freezer containers (1/2 cup each approx) and freeze. You can marinate the chicken and freeze it too -it works out perfectly.  Defrost and use when needed.

Cooking Instructions

If using BBQ

Turn one side of bbq on med-high. Put chicken in a  foil pan. Place it on upper level on side of bbq that is unlit, to create a ‘convect’ affect. Cook until internal temp of 165 F., approx. 30-40 minutes. Remove chicken from pan with tongs and place on direct heat of grill. Baste with butter , turning until nicely charred. Serve with Cucumber Raita.

If using Conventional Oven

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place chicken in roasting pan. Cook until internal temp of 165F. Melt butter. Baste chicken with butter. Turn on broiler, and place chicken under broiler until browned and glistening. Baste again before serving. Serve with Cucumber raita.

mixing up the marinade ingredients

use a cleaver to chop breast in half, then score the meat about 1/2 inch deep

massage marinade into the crevices, and let sit in the fridge to marinate

after baking on top shelf, place on grill, baste with butter until charred nicely

delicious with a salad ( healthy and low fat, low carb)

Cucumber Raita

1/2 cup plain yogurt

1/4 cup grated cucumber

1/2 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp salt

2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander (optional)

Grate cucumber and squeeze out liquid with paper towel. Mix into yogurt with cumin and salt.  If you have some  fresh coriander (cilantro) around, add that in too.  Serve with chicken.