Street food style lamb skewers made with oven and also instructions about how to grill it.
When I was young, I always hate winter because it is so cold and the in most cases, we need to hidden in the house. There was no heating in the room and we got lots of chilblains. But in my 30’s, I find new reasons which turn cold winter more acceptable for example, we get 100% cashmere clothes and modernized heating tools. Another group of reason is food. I love winter days because there are lots of special food for this particular season for example a large pot of braised beef, a hot pot party and a chance to get high quality fresh lamb meat.
In my city, people believe that lamb with its hot attribute, can warm our body. But we don’t like it in the other three seasons because it may bring hotness too. We call it “上火”in Chinese. Generally， there is no lamb for sale too. But after Winter Solstice Festival, fresh and high quality lamb is almost everywhere. We love to make a light stew with lamb and white radish, make a quick stir fry or eating roasted or grilled lamb. It is really so good to enjoy lamb for me in winter.
Lamb skewer is one of the most popular street food in China. Previously it is usually provided by the small vendors on the street. Now we get restaurants selling lamb or beef skewers too. It is quite easy to make lamb skewers at home even you don’t get a grill. Oven is a good substantial tool. But there are some differences between the two method.
Oven can’t provide high enough temperature as grill. So the fat will not release at the very beginning. For oven version, we need to add some fat (vegetable oil) at the very beginning. But oven version is healthier. Lamb leg meat usually is well marbled with at least 30% fat. You can take the lean meat inside for a stir fry and use the outer part to make lamb skewers. I use this method whenever I get a large leg.
Cut the lamb into 2 cm pieces cubes. Separate the fat if you get large fat pieces. If you get large piece of fat attached, separate the fat and cut into small pieces. I don't use extra fat because my lamb leg contains a lot already. I love to cut the lamb into large pieces and then fold over and let the fat wrap the lean meat when assembling.
Marinate with black pepper, barbecue spice mix (can be replaced by Sichuan pepper flakes), whole Sichuan peppercorn and cumin powder. Then slice ½ onion and smash one thumb pieces of ginger. Cover and set aside overnight.
Next day, add 2 tablespoons of cooking oil, mix well.
Assemble on skewers on soaked wooden skewers. Try to load lean meat and fat alternately. Fat will release oil which help to prevent the meat for drying out.
Pre-heat oven until 230 degree C. Place the lamb skewers in. Roast for 10 minutes. Take out and sprinkle the spice on both side. Continue roast for 5 minutes. You can slightly brush a thin layer of oil if the lamb fat is deficient. Serve directly after taking out.
Easy Lamb Skewers
- 600 g lamb leg , with 30% fat or you need to get extra lamb fat
- 1 tbsp. barbecue spice mix , instruction here or use store bought pepper flakes
- 1 tbsp. cumin powder
- ½ tsp. black pepper
- 1.5 teaspoon salt , higher salty level is quite crucial for yummy lamb skewers
- 1 tsp. whole Sichuan peppercorn
- ½ onion , sliced
- 1 thumb ginger , rough smashed
- 2 tbsp. vegetable cooking oil
- 1 tbsp. barbecue spice mix
- 1 tsp. roughly crushed cumin seeds
- ½ tsp. salt
- How to prepare the lamb leg | cut the lamb leg into cubes around 2cm. Remember to separate the fat if there are large pieces of lamb fat. But just let the fat stay if there is only a thin layer of fat.
- Transfer the lamb meat in a large bowl, add all the marinating ingredients except oil and message to ensure each piece is coated well. Cover the set aside overnight.
- If you use wooden skewers, soak them in warm water around 15 minutes to avoid burning during the roasting process.
- Pre-heat oven to 230 degree C (440 Degree F).
- Mix in vegetable cooking oil and then assemble the lamb skewers. Make sure lean meat and fat are loaded alternately.
- Pre-heat oven to 230 degree C and then place the lamb skewers in. Roast for 10 minutes. Take out, if the surface of the lamb skewers are too dry, brush a thin layer of cooking oil. and then sprinkle the serving mix. Then continue roasting for 5 minutes.
- Serve hot!
I love all your recipes. As a Southern Chinese, I have always long for other regional Chinese food. I love your BBQ mix. One question I have is the serving mix instruction. It calls for crushed cumin seeds, but it does not specify the quantity. Perhaps, it's a tablespoon? Or a teaspoon?
1 tbsp. barbecue spice mix
1 roughly crushed cumin seeds
1/2 tsp. salt
Sorry, Kevin. It should be 1 tsp. I missed the amount.
Thank you Elaine for this fabulous recipe. I've been working on my bbq game for a little while and this recipe (as with all of your recipes I've tried) nailed it. Perfect. And that spice mix is wonderful.
Thank you, Elizabeth!!! This is such a lovely feedback.