I discovered this dish in Mardin, in south eastern Turkey, after the cameras had been switched off, so we didn’t get to film it, but it was so good and simple I just had to include it. You can assemble the kebabs ahead of time; just make sure you remove from the refrigerator an hour before cooking.
The secret to Syrian-style hummus is that it’s made with roasted chickpeas and that’s what gives it such a unique flavour. The kebabs are just as simple – no marinating or heavy seasoning. It’s all about the quality of the lamb and the fat you buy.
- 8 baby pickling onions, peeled
- 4 flat metal skewers
- 600 g trimmed lamb leg, cut into 2cm pieces
- 300 g lamb tail fat, (see Note) cut into small pieces
Roasted chickpea hummus
- 250 g roasted chickpeas
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) lemon juice
- olive oil, for drizzling
- sea salt, to taste
- 200 ml warm water
Red onion salad
- 1 small red onion, finely shaved using a mandolin
- ¼ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, torn
- ¼ cup mint leaves, torn
- 1 pinch each of sumac and red pul biber (Aleppo pepper)
- flatbread and garlic yoghurt
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Standing time 1 hour
To assemble the skewers, thread 1 onion right down to the end of each skewer. Add 2 pieces of lamb leg, and then a piece of fat and repeat with the lamb and fat 3 more times. Finish with an onion, then stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, to make the hummus, using a thermomix or high-powered blender, combine all the ingredients until smooth. Refrigerate until required. This hummus absorbs a lot of moisture because of the dried chickpeas, so if you find it is too thick after standing, then just thin it down with a little extra warm water.
To make the red onion salad, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and set aside until ready to serve.
Cook the kebabs over a preheated char-grill with grey coals (this indicates the grill is hot enough) for 3-4 minutes on each side.
This dish is served meze style. Start with smearing the hummus on the flat bread and drizzle over some garlic yoghurt. Wrap the kebab in the flatbread, pull the meat off the skewer, then top with the salad and serve immediately.
• Lamb tail fat must be ordered ahead from Turkish or Middle Eastern butchers.