Cumin and Garlic Scented Lamb Skewers


Inspired by the street vendors of Western China, this grilled spiced lamb kabob can be made with beef or chicken, too. Canola oil helps prevent the meat from sticking to the grill.

Makes 9 servings
Cooking time: N/A


2 tbsp (30 mL) cumin seeds, or 1 tbsp (15 mL) ground cumin

1 tbsp (15 mL) dried red pepper flakes

6 garlic cloves, finely minced

1 tbsp (15 mL) finely minced ginger

1 tsp (5 mL) ground Szechwan peppercorns

1 tsp (5 mL) chili powder

1 tbsp (15 mL) freshly ground black pepper

2 tsp (10 mL) sea salt

1½ lb. (750 g) lamb shoulder or leg, cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) cubes

¼ cup (60 mL) canola oil

Bamboo skewers soaked in water overnight

Canola oil, for brushing


  1. In small, dry frying pan, heat cumin seeds over medium heat until fragrant or until they start to turn golden, about 2 minutes. Remove to cool then place into electric grinder, or mortar and pestle, and grind until fine. Place into mixing bowl and mix together well with rest of spices, garlic, pepper and salt.
  2. In another mixing bowl, mix lamb and canola oil until well coated. Add spice mixture and mix well to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight. Alternatively, marinate in large, heavy, resealable plastic bag and refrigerate.
  3. Skewer four to five pieces of lamb on each skewer. Heat prepared grill or barbecue until medium high to high heat.
  4. Brush small amount of canola oil over each skewer and grill, turning frequently, about 6 to 8 minutes, or until desired doneness.


Serving Size 
1 kabob

Recipe courtesy of, featured in the Canadian Diabetes Association’s 2015 Healthy Living Calendar. To download the latest recipes, visit

Nutritional Information

Per Serving
Total Fat9 g
Saturated Fat1.5 g
Cholesterol50 mg
Sodium60 mg
Carbohydrates2 g
Fibre0 g
Sugars0 g
Protein16 g
Potassium37 mg
Make a heart-healthy choice by selecting leaner cuts of lamb, such as the leg, loin, shoulder and shank cuts. Trim visible fat from the meat. – Catherine Freeze, registered dietitian, Charlottetown