Arabic Language Blog

A Great Dish for Ramadan: Lamb Kebabs Posted by on Jul 27, 2013 in Arabic Language, Culture

Marhaba! Today, I am going to teach you how to cook Lamb Kebabs with a Lebanese twist. Similar to Shish Taouk, this is a tasty dish that is popular in the Middle East and is usually offered at every local restaurant. Even though the origins of the dish are from the Middle East, this dish has been adopted in the Balkans, the Caucasus, and some parts of Europe as well as Central Asia. In some towns in the Levant, like Aleppo (حلب) in Syria, certain spices are added to the mix of ingredients. In such cases the Kebab picks up after the town’s name like Kebab Halabi (كباب حلبي) for example. The word ‘kebab’ refers to grilling (شوى) and cooking (طبخ) meat on a skewer (سيخ). The short supply of cooking fuel in the Middle East compelled people, especially soldiers to fry, cook and grill their meat over open fires.


Given the fact you all know that my wife and I like barbecuing (الشوي) a lot, we thought of sharing the recipe we use to prepare and cook this delicious dish. More importantly, this is a popular dish during the Holy month of Ramadan (شهر رمضان المبارك). After a long day of fasting (صيام), many people would appreciate a tasty dish that satisfies the appetite (شهية) in every possible way.

Image by Josephine Lim on Flickr

Image by Josephine Lim on Flickr

Like some of the other websites that I have used before, today I am borrowing this recipe from another good Mediterranean cooking blog called Homemade Recipes.



1 small onion (بصل), finely chopped
1/2 cup soft bread crumbs (فتات الخبز)
4 cloves garlic (فصوص من الثوم), minced
2 tablespoons snipped fresh parsley (البقدونس)
1 tablespoons snipped fresh cilantro (الكزبرة)
2 teaspoons snipped fresh oregano
2 teaspoons snipped fresh mint (نعناع)
1/2 teaspoon salt (ملح)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (الكمون المطحون)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (القرفة المطحونة)
2 eggs (بيض), beaten
1-1/2 pound ground lamb (خروف)

Optional Ingredients

1/2 of a small peeled and seeded cucumber (خيار) (optional)
3/4 cup plain yogurt (optional)

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (فلفل أحمر) (optional)
Thinly sliced cucumber (optional)
Salt and pepper (optional)


1. Combine onion; bread crumbs; garlic; parsley; cilantro; oregano; mint; 1/2 teaspoon cumin; cinnamon; crushed red pepper, if desired; and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Add lamb; mix well. Divide mixture into 8 portions. Shape each portion around a metal skewer (سيخ), forming a log that is 6 inches long and about 1 inch wide.

2. Place skewers on the rack of the grill directly over medium heat. Grill lamb skewers for 10 to 12 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the meat registers 160 degree F, turning once. (we use an open fire barbecue set rather than a standard grill)


3. In a small bowl, stir together cucumber and yogurt, if desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce, sliced cucumber, and grilled lemon wedges, if desired.

Just like Shish Taouk, we have this sizzling dish with a dish of homemade hummus (حمّص), French fries (بطاطا مقلية), Arabic bread (خبز) and tabbouleh. It is an excellent dish and I invite and encourage you all to give it a try during the month of Ramadan or any day of the year that is suitable for a cookout.




Stay tuned for upcoming posts

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About the Author: jesa

Salam everyone! Born as an American to two originally Arab parents, I have been raised and have spent most of my life in Beirut, Lebanon. I have lived my good times and my bad times in Beirut. I was but a young child when I had to learn to share my toys and food with others as we hid from bombs and fighting during the Lebanese Civil War. I feel my connection to Arabic as both a language and culture is severing and so it is with you, my readers and fellow Arabic lovers, and through you that I wish to reestablish this connection by creating one for you.