Indian-Inspired Lamb Kebabs

5 from 2 votes

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

Rich lamb meat is wonderful on skewers and here just perfectly complemented by a yogurt-based marinade with Indian flavors.

Skewer of cubed lamb kebab on plate with rice.

Lamb lovers (which includes all of the guys in my family) are always excited to see one of their favorite meats turn up in a new guise. Lately, lamb kebabs have been a nice way to shake up the summer grilling dinner situation in our house. Everyone has been smitten with the way this Indian marinade, with its combo of pantry ingredients, beautifully flavors this distinctive, rich meat. Pair these kabobs with a quinoa salad or Red Onion Mint Orzo. Some Grilled Pineapple on the side would be insanely good!

Grilled lamb kebabs on wood cutting board.

Indian-Inspired Lamb Kebabs: Rich lamb meat is wonderful on skewers and here just perfectly complemented by a yogurt-based marinade with Indian flavors.

Tweet This

Ingredients

These lamb kebabs get the wonderful flavor from a yogurt-based marinade infused with Indian pantry spices.

  • Lamb – I think leg or shoulder meat is best for cubing and skewering; it’s tender, and quick cooking, so you can get a nicely caramelized exterior to the cubes while the inside stays pink and juicy.
  • Yogurt – Yogurt is a very traditional base for all kinds of Indian marinades and sauces. The tangy, cooling, mild flavor is such a nice foil to the pungent spices of the various cuisines of the country and offsets chile-heat nicely. Here plain yogurt (I always use whole milk yogurt if I have a choice) gets a whole lot of liveliness from lemon, ginger, paprika, cumin, coriander, and cayenne, plus salt and pepper.
  • Lemon – You’ll use both the juice and the zest.
  • Ginger – You have the flexibility of using either 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger or ½ teaspoon ground ginger.
  • Paprika – Adds some beautiful color.
  • Cumin – Adds a smoky earthiness.
  • Ground coriander – Love the warm, floral, lemony flavor.
  • Cayenne pepper – Adds heat; dial the amount up or down as desired.

How to Prepare Lamb for Kebabs

You can cut your meat into 1-inch cubes, or 1 ½-inch-cubes. They will shrink a bit while cooking, so keep that in mind. The 1-inch cubes would be very generous bite-sized chunks, while larger pieces would probably require a knife and fork. I sometimes opt for larger, because you have more control over the cooking process, and you can get nicely browned cubes without worrying about the middle becoming too well done.

If you buy pre-cubed meat, make sure that it’s the right type for grilling, broiling, or searing. Some lamb meat is much tougher, and while great for slow-cooked stews and sauces, not at all what you want in a kebab. Ask the butcher if it’s not clear, and see what she or he recommends.

Skewering lamb pieces on wooden sticks for grilled kebabs.

How to Make Lamb Skewers

  1. Make the marinade: Combine the yogurt, lemon juice and zest, ginger, paprika, cumin, salt, pepper, coriander, and cayenne.
  2. Marinate the lamb: Toss the lamb with the marinade and refrigerate for 6 to 24 hours.
  3. Soak the skewers if using wooden skewers.
  4. Skewer the lamb.
  5. Grill the kebabs: These will take about 8 minutes total for medium-rare and 10 minutes for medium. Turn them every few minutes to get nice grill marks on the meat.
  6. Serve: Offer cilantro, lemon wedges, and chutney, if desired.
Woman adding chutney to grilled lamb kebabs on plate with rice.

Cooking Tips

  • Here I opted to cook the lamb on its own, rather than alternate it with vegetables on the skewers. This was so I could totally focus on the best cooking times and doneness for the meat, without worrying about vegetables becoming overcooked, or vegetables not being tender enough when the lamb is perfect. 
  • Consider making separate vegetable kebabs and letting everyone pull the different elements of the meal together on their own plates.
  • If you want to add vegetables to these kebabs, consider the optimal cooking time for the lamb (depending on how rare or not you like your lamb), and pick vegetables with similar cooking times (see Veggie Kebabs).
  • Cut this recipe in half for 1 pound of lamb meat if you have a smaller group.

Leftovers and Reheating

If you are lucky enough to have leftovers, you can slide the meat from the skewers and store it in the fridge for up to 4 days. The lamb would be amazing wrapped in a pita with some chutney, or heaped on a plate of quinoa or rice and reheated in the microwave just until heated through.

How to Serve Indian-Inspired Lamb Kebabs

Serve up a bowl of chutney for people to spoon over the meat. There are a lot of chutneys out there — this is a great chance to explore them! Major Grey’s Chutney with mango and ginger is a classic choice, and very readily available in supermarkets. Go deeper if you can: tamarind chutney, mint cilantro chutney, tomato chutney; there are a lot to choose from.

While there are a whole host of side dishes that would make wonderful companions to these skewers, there are a couple of garnishes that elevate the presentation of the lamb, and also add freshness and another layer of flavor. These are lovely with a generous sprinkling of fresh cilantro leaves, and some lemon wedges. 

What to Serve With Indian-Inspired Lamb Kebabs

White plate and cutting board with grilled lamb kebabs and side of rice.

More Lamb Recipes

Pin this now to find it later

Pin It
5 from 2 votes

Indian-Inspired Lamb Kebabs

Rich lamb meat is wonderful on skewers and here just perfectly complemented by a yogurt-based marinade with Indian flavors.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Marinate: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 25 minutes
Servings: 4 People
Save this recipe!
We’ll send it to your email, plus you’ll get new recipes every week!

Equipment

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup plain whole yogurt
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger or ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • teaspoon (big pinch) cayenne pepper
  • 2 pounds boneless lamb leg or shoulder (cut into 1-inch cubes)

To Serve:

Instructions 

  • Place the yogurt, lemon juice and zest, ginger, paprika, cumin, salt, pepper, coriander, and cayenne in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine, or place them in a food processor and blend to puree. Add the lamb cubes and toss to coat well. Cover and refrigerate for 6 to 24 hours.
  • Soak about 20 6-inch wooden skewers, or 10 12-inch skewers, in water to cover for 30 minutes. You can also use metal skewers, which do not need soaking.
  • Thread the skewers with the lamb. Discard the remaining marinade.
  • Heat an outdoor grill to high, or heat a grill pan or a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Grill the kebabs 4 inches from the heat source, for about 8 minutes total for medium rare, turning them every few minutes to get nice grill marks on most sides of the meat.
  • Serve hot or at room temperature with the cilantro, lemon wedges and chutney, if desired.

Notes

  • Here I opted to cook the lamb on its own, rather than alternate it with vegetables on the skewers. This was so I could totally focus on the best cooking times and doneness for the meat, without worrying about vegetables becoming overcooked, or vegetables not being tender enough when the lamb is perfect. 
  • Consider making separate vegetable kebabs and letting everyone pull the different elements of the meal together on their own plates.
  • If you want to add vegetables to these kebabs, consider the optimal cooking time for the lamb (depending on how rare or not you like your lamb), and pick vegetables with similar cooking times (see Veggie Kebabs).
  • Cut this recipe in half for 1 pound of lamb meat if you have a smaller group.

Nutrition

Calories: 235kcal, Carbohydrates: 7g, Protein: 32g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 99mg, Sodium: 700mg, Potassium: 587mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 593IU, Vitamin C: 15mg, Calcium: 100mg, Iron: 3mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

About Katie Workman

Katie Workman is a cook, a writer, a mother of two, an activist in hunger issues, and an enthusiastic advocate for family meals, which is the inspiration behind her two beloved cookbooks, Dinner Solved! and The Mom 100 Cookbook.

You May Also Like:

5 from 2 votes (2 ratings without comment)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating