Cinnamon sticks infuse extra flavour in these cumin lamb kebabs - GulfToday

Cinnamon sticks infuse extra flavour in these cummin lamb kebabs

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Cummin lamb kebabs on cinnamon stick skewers. TNS

Cummin is one of the most versatile spices used for cooking. Whether used whole or ground, it adds a lot of flavour to a dish. It was first popularised by the Greeks and the Romans but its reputation quickly spread all over the world, and now it is commonly used in many cuisines including Middle Eastern, North African, Indian and Latin American foods.

It can elevate the taste of dry rubs for roasted or grilled meats, marinades for chicken or lamb, stews, sauces and soups and take their taste up to another level. It is wonderful when sprinkled over vegetables like roasted carrots or cauliflower before baking. It has also become an important Mexican ingredient and it is a requirement for the best chilli, tacos and mojo sauce.


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Ground cummin should be stored in a cool, dark place and needs to be replaced after six months. The seeds can be stored in the pantry for up to one year. For the best possible flavour, lightly toast the whole seeds in a dry pan over medium heat before grinding. This spice is very aromatic, so use it with discretion.


Skip the traditional skewers for cinnamon sticks in the following recipe. Not only does the stick serve as a holder and a fork, it also adds an infusion of flavour to the lamb kebabs.

Note: You can substitute smoked or spicy paprika for the sweet paprika if you’re looking for a slightly different taste.


8 cinnamon sticks

1 tablespoon ground cummin

1 tablespoon sweet paprika

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 pound (450g) ground lamb

4 tablespoons (60ml) extra-virgin olive oil


1. Prepare the cinnamon sticks skewers by putting them in a bowl of cold water. Weigh them down with a plate and soak them for at least 15 minutes. The soaking prevents the sticks from burning later on when you cook the meat. It also helps you to unfurl them, yielding multiple skinnier sticks.

2. Preheat an outdoor grill to medium or heat a large, oiled skillet over medium heat.

3. In a small bowl, mix the ground lamb, cummin, paprika, cinnamon, salt and pepper.

4. With damp hands, divide meat mixture and roll into 16 1-ounce balls. Slide each onto a cinnamon stick and press into a 2-inch-long blimp stationed at one end; stick and meat together will look like a chicken drumstick.

5. Drizzle each with a little oil.

6. Grill the skewers for 2 to 3 minutes on each side for medium, or 3 to 4 minutes for medium-well. You can either serve these kebabs plain or with a mint dip.

Mint dip: Stir together 1 cup whole-milk Greek yoghurt, 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint, 2 tablespoons olive oil, finely grated zest of 1 lemon, 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 tablespoon honey and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

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