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Ground Lamb Kebabs with Ginger and Mint Yogurt Sauce

Serves: Makes 4 servings


  • Ginger and Mint Yogurt Sauce:
  • ½ cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves
  • 2 tablespoons peeled, coarsely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 cup plain whole milk yogurt
  • Lamb Kebabs:
  • 1 tablespoon whole-spice garam masala blend, or 1 teaspoon ground garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon peeled, chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped yellow onion
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Mango chutney, for serving


A kebab can be solid pieces of meat threaded onto a skewer, ground meat formed around a skewer like a big sausage, or ground meat shaped into thin fingers or patties and cooked in a shallow pool of oil. In this recipe, the meat is seasoned with a spice mixture called garam masala and shaped into patties. Make your own spice blend from the recipe at left, or buy a prepackaged mixture of whole spices, toast in a tawa (or small skillet), and grind in an electric spice grinder as needed.

Make the yogurt sauce: Combine the mint, ginger, garlic, and salt in a large mortar and crush to a paste with a pestle. Alternatively, process the mint, ginger, garlic, and salt to a paste in a food processor. Transfer to a serving bowl and fold in the yogurt. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Make the kebabs: If using a store-bought whole garam masala blend, spread it in a tawa or small, heavy skillet. Examine the mixture carefully. If there is more than 1 clove, remove the other cloves. Place the tawa over medium heat and heat, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes, until the spices turn a shade darker and become fragrant. Pour into a small bowl and let cool. Transfer to an electric spice grinder, grind to a fine powder, and set aside. If using homemade garam masala, set it aside.

Combine the ginger, garlic, and salt in the mortar and crush to a paste with the pestle. Or, grate the garlic and ginger with a rasp grater, transfer to a saucer, and use the back of a fork to mash with the salt until blended.

In the tawa or a medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the canola oil over medium-low heat. Add the ginger paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the garam masala and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Transfer the spice mixture to a small bowl. Wash and dry the tawa.

In a blender or food processor, combine the onion and water and process to a smooth puree. Transfer the puree to a large bowl and add the lamb, mint, spice mixture, and egg yolk. Stir with your hand or a wooden spoon until the mixture is thoroughly blended. At first, the mixture may seem too wet, but stir it for another 30 seconds and it will tighten. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Line a platter with a double thickness of paper towels. Heat the tawa or skillet over medium heat. Coat the surface with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and heat the oil. Using a measuring tablespoon as a guide, scoop up a generous 1-inch ball of meat, flatten it slightly to make a patty, and carefully place it in the hot oil. Repeat to make more patties, being carefully not to crowd the pan and rinsing your hands with cold water as needed to prevent the meat mixture from sticking to them. Fry the patties, turning once with a spatula, for 2 minutes per side, or until nicely browned and cooked through. Transfer the patties to the towel-lined platter to drain. Repeat with the remaining meat mixture in one or two batches.

Serve the patties hot with the yogurt sauce and the chutney.

Things Cooks Love: Reprinted with permission of Andrews McMeel Publishing, recipes by Marie Simmons, photography by Ben Fink

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