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Uzbek Marinated Lamb Kebabs Recipe

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The finished result, alongside cilantro, roasted tomatoes, rice, mushrooms, and sour cream (all of which are optional additions).

The finished result, alongside cilantro, roasted tomatoes, rice, mushrooms, and sour cream (all of which are optional additions).

Most often when I cook, I prefer recipes that are cooked on the stove. Sometimes (rarely) I prefer things in the oven; for this recipe however, I make an exception. Hailing from Uzbekistan, this recipe for skewered lamb kebabs involves a superb marinade that produces a savory and mildly tart lamb that brings out all of the strong, positive flavors of that meat. It is perfectly easy to see why such a vibrant and powerful recipe comes from Central Asia, and it is a perfect match for all of the virtues of lamb. Exciting, flavorful, and energetic—this is a thoroughly splendid dish.

Although this dish has a lengthy marinade process (12-24 hours), the actual food is quite simple to make and prepare. It could easily be prepared if one is lacking in time on one day but had laid out the preparation the day before. All that is required is a broiler or a grill, and voilà! Combined with some sort of base like rice or bread, and preferably a vegetable, it makes a filling and tasteful meal.

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I have adapted this recipe from that of Anna von Bremzen/John Welchman's Please to the Table: The Russian Cookbook.


  • 1 onion
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot Hungarian paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1/3 cup red wine
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 pounds lean lamb, cut into 1 inch/2.5 cm cubes
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • Onion and cilantro/parsley, thinly sliced, optional


  1. The marinade is the most important part of this recipe, and the lamb must marinate in it at length. Combine together 1 grated onion, 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds, 1 teaspoon coriander seeds (crushed), 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, 1 teaspoon Hungarian sweet paprika, 1/2 teaspoon spicy Hungarian paprika, 3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro, 2 tablespoons minced garlic, 1/3 cup red wine, and 1 teaspoons salt, mixing thoroughly. The amount of onion should not overwhelm the rest, so if need be, do not use the whole onion. Add the lamb and toss, again thoroughly. Refrigerate, covered, for at least 12 and up to 24 hours. Occasionally toss the lamb again.
  2. Prepare coals to grill, or preheat boiler.
  3. Remove lamb from the marinade, and threat onto metal skewers. This is also an excellent time to grill some vegetables if desired, such as cherry tomatoes or onions.
  4. Grill or broil lamb, with up to 10 minutes for pink lamb, and 15 minutes for well done. Serve soon afterwards, perhaps with some cilantro/parsley and onions and over rice, bread, or another choice of a base.


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