Azerbaijanis love to make kebabs at picnics and at their summer houses and, as is the case the world over, it is the men who take charge of the barbecue. The traditional name for kebabs, shishlik, after the metal skewer or shish on which a kebab is cooked, entered the Russian language as shashlik, which is now the name for any kind of barbecued meat in Russia. Lamb kebabs are a staple of the Azerbaijani barbecue.
500 g lamb
Salt and pepper
Take meat from the loin or hind leg and cut into 35-40 g pieces. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place in a bowl with rings of raw onion to marinade for minimum 4 hours. I leave the bowl whole night in the refrigerator.
Thread the marinaded lamb pieces onto long thin metal skewers and cook over hot coals.
As soon as they are cooked, serve the lamb pieces with rings of raw onion, chopped herbs and sumac or narsharab and lavash – thin bread. Sumac, an alkaline red powder from barberry bark, has a zesty flavour and is thought to aid digestion of acidic meat, while narsharab is a sauce made from pomegranates.
Barbecued tomatoes, aubergines and peppers or barbecue salad are an excellent accompaniment to lamb kebabs.
Nush olsun! Bon appetite!