Sunday, June 18, 2006

Lamb Shish Kebabs, or Caucasian Shashlik Demystified

I noticed that one of the much-mocked Weight Watchers cards from the '70s features "Caucasian Shashlik". This dish isn't as mysterious or gory-looking as Weight Watchers would have you believe. Shashlik means shish kebab in Russian (this word is of Turkish origin). Caucasian means it's from the Caucasus region, which includes Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and some parts of Russia.

I wouldn't consider Caucasian shashlik diet food by any means, but it is pretty excellent cookout fare. Here's an essay in pictures on Uzbek lamb kebabs.
Firing up the grill.
Skewering the meat, alternating lean pieces with fatty pieces.

On the grill.

Sprinkling the kebabs with a mixture of water and vinegar as they cook.

All done! Uzbek lamb kebabs are tradionally served with vinegar and thinly sliced onions.

All gone.

For further details, check out the lamb kekab recipe and its variations in Anya Von Bremzen's Please to the Table.

Big bowl of boneless lamb, cut into cubes. The lamb was marinated overnight in a mixture of thinly sliced onions and cumin and coriander seeds.


Helen said...

Oh yum! Thanks for the water/vinegar spray tip!

Yulinka said...

Hi, Helen. Thanks for stopping by. Just to clarify: my boyfriend says he sprinkles on water/vineger to put out the flames a little so they don't scorch the meat.

But in Please to the Table, Anya von Bremzen has you sprinkle the lamb with salted water every few minutes to "assure juiciness."

Sofya said...

Where did they get that mangal (the grill) and skewers (shompli, or something like that...)????? Jake, my husband, keeps talking about welding one for us. This is something I miss the most from home.

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