Taking the mystery and fear out of cooking
Kebabs. What are they? I’ll tell you what they’re not: they are not difficult to make. Like most of the well-known international dishes, they are dead easy.
The world is not full of culinary geniuses. It’s full of people with a little knowledge, a little common sense and a willingness to have a go.
Shish kebabs are something you cook on thin wooden sticks or metal skewers. You can use pieces of meat, fish or vegetable.
They can also be something you can do with mince, just like meatballs or meatloaf, but in this case we’re using chicken mince.
You can work this sort of thing out for yourself. To cook something you need a source of extreme heat.
The most popular way to cook kebabs is on a barbecue, but you could also put them in the oven or even in a good, heavy frying pan or griddle pan.
If you’re using meat or something else that’s quite solid, you just cut it to size (two-cm cubes). You can marinate the meat in oil and some sort of spicy mixture – the choice is yours.
If you’re using mince, you have to consider how to make it stay on the skewers, which means adding something to bind it. Eggs and breadcrumbs are the favourites, but porridge oats will do the trick instead of the bread.
Coriander seeds (1 tbsp, crushed)
Fresh chilli pepper (deseeded and finely chopped)
Fresh ginger root (half an inch, grated)
Cumin powder or seeds (1 tbsp, crushed)
Breadcrumbs or oats (half a cup)
The coriander and cumin add almost floral spice, while chillies and ginger give it a kick.
Put the mince in a mixing bowl.
Add the rest of the ingredients.
Mix well (with your hands is best). If you don’t like the feel of the mixture on your hands, you can put the ingredients in a large freezer bag and squeeze it.
Let the mixture rest for an hour if you can, to allow the binders to do their stuff.
Then take half-handfuls, roll them into balls and then into breakfast sausage-size shapes.
Slide the skewers in so there is enough sticking out at either end to pick up easily.
Place on your heat source and give them 10 minutes or so, turning occasionally and making sure they don’t burn. A little bit of a singe is unavoidable and actually quite welcome, but burnt is never good.
When they look right, try one. It must be cooked in the middle.
Serve with rice studded with capers and raisins, plus a bowl of sliced radishes in plain yoghurt, and a salad of tomatoes and cucumber or leaves of some sort, with a vinaigrette dressing (olive oil and balsamic vinegar).