Xinjiang Lamb Skewers

Makes about 20 skewers


  • 1 lb lamb shoulder, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp whole cumin seeds
  • 2 -3 dried Chinese red chiles, chopped (or red pepper flakes)
  • 3 small garlic cloves, minced
  • nonstick cooking spray (for broiler) or oil (for grill)

Special Equipment

  • 20 (8") bamboo skewers
  • mortar & pestle (optional)


  1. Toast cumin seeds in dry skillet over low heat, shaking pan occasionally, until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. When cooled, roughly grind or chop half of toasted cumin seeds, keeping the other half whole
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cumin, red chiles, garlic and soy sauce. Add lamb and mix until well combined. Refrigerate and marinate at least 15 minutes or preferably overnight
  3. Soak bamboo skewers in water for about 1 hour before use to prevent burning
  4. Preheat broiler or grill
  5. Thread marinated lamb on skewers, about 2-3 slices per skewer. Arrange skewers on foil-lined baking sheets coated with cooking spray (if broiling). If grilling, be sure that grill is clean. Brush with oil before placing down skewers
  6. Broil or grill skewers until just cooked through, about 2 - 2½ minutes per side. Serve immediately