Syrian shish kabab

I made these kabaabs by chance when abati said “what’s for lunch?”, and I said “we have left over rice, and I’m making salad”…. You know, rice and salad for lunch doesn’t make sense all that much for a Syrian. So he said, why not make some kabaab?! As he fired up the coals, I got working. The whole family had such a wonderful picnic under the sky in our huge backyard..

Yields: 15 skewers


500 g minced lamb

1/2 bunch fresh parsley, chopped

a large pinch of salt, baharat and a small pinch of ground pepper

2 medium onions for grilling (optional)


Prepare a coal grill, stove broiler or electrical grill.

Soak wooden skewers in water and set aside.

If frozen, defrost the meat in the fridge, the meat needs to be cold but defrosted for it to stick onto the skewers.

Add the salt, pepper and baharat to the meat and knead for a minute.

Knead in the chopped parsley.

Use a dampened hand to carefully spread the mince onto a skewer. If your hand is too wet, you’ll end up with a very gluggy and sad looking skewer.

Grill the skewers, turning them frequently to your preferred level of doneness, generally the skewers are left to cook for 8 to 10 minutes.

To grill the onion, quarter the onions, leaving their skin on.

Skewer the quarters and cook on the grill for 10 to 15 minutes.

Serve with pita bread, hummus dip, and this salad.

Wrap up your delectable sandwich wrap and devour!

13 thoughts on “Syrian shish kabab

  1. Chica Andaluza says:

    Yay Fati – don´t think anyone is going to call you nasty names for saying what you think! The comment about food not being mediterranean if the portion size is smaller than your hand made me smile. I often feel the same when I go to London and they have restaurants serving tapas portions the size of plates (these are one thing that are meant to be small) but charge a small mortage for them! Thanks for the mention and for another amazingly good recipe. I once did an Indian cookery course and the teacher taught us the same technique for putting the meat onto the skewers, I have always done it like this ever since.

  2. Stefanie says:

    Glad you were able to vent 🙂 These kabaabs look so good and so simple! I’ve never tried putting ground meat on a kabaab before, but you definitely make it sound easy!

  3. Charles says:

    I gave up trying to categorise my middle-eastern-inspired dishes a long time ago. It got far too complex even when I wanted to put a country to hummus – apparently its origins are “levantine”, and since my historical, and geographical, knowledge simply isn’t extensive enough, and to avoid offending anyone I’ll just try to say “hey, here’s a, erm, middle-eastern-inspired dish, enjoy :D”

    To be fair – I don’t entirely agree with your view on pronunciation. Languages aren’t static entities. They live and evolve for many reasons – one of which is travel. I’ve no doubt that the correct way of the word in Arabic is as you stated, but the English don’t think the French wrong for calling it “Londres” instead of “London”; nor is it inherently wrong to call it an aubergine or an eggplant, or cilantro/coriander. These words are regional variations which have evolved over time – I guess the best comparison I can think of is regional dialects. In England, people from the north mainly pronounce words like “bath”, “grass” etc with a very short “a”, so “bath” rhymes with the first part of the name “Kath-y”, “grass” sounds like “ass” with a “gr” on the front. In the south we say “barth”, and “gr-arse”. Of course, each area thinks the other is wrong and is just bastardising the language, but it’s just a result of the evolution of the language, given the environments it is spoken in. 🙂

  4. fati's recipes says:

    🙂 Thanks for your insight Charles… It’s good to know that there are people out there who agree though, about the country-pinpointing issue. 🙂
    Stef, there couldn’t be an easier way to put meat on a stick, seriously!

  5. Al Mechanic says:

    Wow, that Kebabs and Moslems mess really touched your boiling point.
    Moving on, did sheesh kabaab originated from Syria?

    This reminded me of Shaami Kabaabs (Indian Dish). That’s mouthwatering, hunger triggering, forever craving dish, which pushes me to eat much more food than usual. You should try making it once.

    Wait a min, I just realised something. Isn’t Shaam another name of Syria?? Now where did that come from in my head? Am scratching my head here, its creepy.

    • fati's recipes says:

      Well, I see it everywhere. That’s all. So it bothers me..
      I didn’t want to turn it into a grammar lesson, but take for example the word hummus. We all love that dip… Essentially it’s 3 letters, the two “u”s in the word hummus are diacritics. Without them, the word would become hms. And Hms is the name of a city in Syria… So just by mispronouncing a diacritic (which isn’t even a letter, may I repeat!), saying “I love hummus (the dip)” might turn into “I love Hms (usually spelt Homs).. (the city)”…. So I had my huge rant about it. Sorry everyone.
      I was thinking about it, the only people to blame, I reckon, are bad English speakers who came from Arabian countries and had no clue how to spell these words in English…
      I almost fell over laughing about the Shaami Kabaabs… because YES Shaam means Syria, so there’s an Indian dish called “Syrian Kabaab” …. but there’s a Syrian dish called “Kabaab Hindi” (Indian Kabaab)!! I’ve made it many times before, but I still haven’t put up the recipe. When I do, you can compare and tell me if they’re similar or not 🙂
      P.S. don’t know where sheesh kabaab originated from. Remember, we’re not going to pin-point countries any more… see Charles’ comment above. 🙂

  6. kathryningrid says:

    Hello, dear lady,

    Tanya sent me over here from Chica Andaluza, and I am so glad she did. 🙂

    This is a great post! It amazes me that in an era of such easy (other than ridiculous security measures) travel worldwide and such instantaneous forms of communication we still fail to recognize that the nuances of individual languages and cultures are genuinely distinct and worthy of our respect!!! I like to imagine the world as more of a soup-pot where each distinct character joins in creating a harmonious whole but remains recognizable as an entity, than as a “melting-pot”, that old American term for assimilation of many unique characters into one new one. Maybe that’s just old-fashioned of me. But is it childish to want us to treasure and respect our differences while cherishing what we have in common? Your comments about relations between Syria and Lebanon make me think it’s well worth doing!

    Your conversation with Al Mechanic above also made me laugh. My version of the “international name-exchange” was with my college roommate who loved but laughed at the cookies my family made that were taught to us as “Oriental Crunch” and she (a Thai national) told us that at home they had a favorite dish called Crunchy American!

    And I don’t want to ignore that this post, like so many others I’ve seen so far on your blog, has a gorgeous and delicious sounding recipe!

    For all of this, I thank you!

    • fati's recipes says:

      Hi Kathryn,

      I’m so glad to have you on board. Your vocab and style of speech reminds me a lot of my English, S.O.R. and History high school teachers. I love it very much (I’m a bit like that myself, actually). I agree with everything you said (I hope I don’t sound like some sort of mindless copycat, but really it’s jewels what you say!)

      I can’t say it’s childish to cherish our similarities, I sort of feel you can’t really respect and treasure differences (loyally) without embracing the similarities. I was almost starting to regret my big rant after I had some behind-the-scenes comments about how I’m so wrong, and that everything IS Lebanese and just because I’ve got Syrian heritage, it doesn’t mean I’m correct… and it doesn’t mean I have the right to say Syria is changing Lebanese dishes (which I didn’t say..)

      Anyway, was great to see you around. I really do hope I can catch you here more often!
      I’m heading over to your blog to see what other amazing things you have to say 🙂


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