These lamb kabobs, flavored with Moroccan spices, were inspired by an interview I had with Kitty Morse, an author and cooking teacher who grew up in Casablanca.
“Kabobs are one of Morocco’s most popular fast foods,” Morse told me. Whether in small-town souks or in the heart of Marrakesh, she said, the smoky aroma of grilled meat drifts across the squares as kabobs grill on open fires.
Morse makes a fragrant marinade for her kabobs; after they’re cooked, she sprinkles them with a pinch of salt and cumin for added zing. I use a dry rub instead to shorten the preparation time in this recipe, adapted from her book, “Cooking at the Kasbah.”
These kabobs can be grilled or cooked under the broiler. They’re served in the pockets of warm pita bread and topped with a tomato salsa that’s made from fresh mint – a cooling contrast with the spicy kabobs.
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The best cut of lamb for kabobs comes from the leg. It’s not usually displayed in the meat case, so ask the butcher to cut some for you. (To save time, place your order first and do your shopping while it’s being filled.)
The recipe calls for sweet Hungarian paprika. If you can’t find it, substitute another variety. In either case, remember that paprika loses flavor quickly; buy a new jar if yours is more than 3 months old.
• Beef or chicken can be substituted for the lamb.
• If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 30 minutes first.
• Clean mushrooms by wiping them with a damp paper towel; this keeps them from absorbing too much water.
• Leave a little space between each item on the skewer so the meat will cook evenly.
• Preheat grill or broiler.
• Prepare the lamb.
• Chop onion and garlic together in a food processor.
• While lamb marinates, make the salsa.
• Cook the kabobs.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need.
To buy: 3/4 pound lamb cubes, 1 jar sweet Hungarian paprika, 1 jar ground cumin, 8 button mushrooms, 2 medium tomatoes, 1 small bunch scallions, 1 small bunch mint, 1 package whole-wheat pita bread and skewers.
Staples: onion, garlic, hot pepper sauce, sugar, salt and black peppercorns.