So the Food Network and I have a love hate relationship. I love that they talk about food all the time, but I hate that they allowed Sandra Lee to ever be on the air. I also hate a lot of their programming. If they would just bring back Good Eats and the original Iron Chef*, I would be ALL over that.
Now, lest you think this is going to be me ranting...again, I’m going to tell you right here and now that I lovvvvve Aarti Party. Seriously, I love that show. Aarti is just so cute and bubbly and she started as a blogger and is a professionally trained chef. But did you catch the part about being a blogger? Yeah, that means she is not above making fun of herself on air, or sharing those embarrassing moments that should probably be forgotten about.
I might have a slight girl crush and some serious hair envy.
And if Aarti wants to tell me that I can make a ground lamb skewer with no bread based binders, I’m going to believe her. Because as it turns out, she is not lying. These lamb skewers are bound together through the miracle of baking soda. (Seriously? What can't baking soda do?). These skewers were juicy, tender, and they'd be a great introduction to Indian food. I happen to love lamb and its slight gaminess, but if that's not your thing, I'm sure ground beef or turkey would be great too. Ooh, or shape it into patties instead of skewers and make an Indian lamb burger with naan as a bun. They're great as is. If you make them for a party, you better invite me.
*I’m sorry Iron Chef America, but I can not and will not watch you. You are a pale imitation of the original.
Lamb Skewers (printable)
Adapted from Aarti Sequeira
Quick note about pomegranate molasses: if you can't find it (usually at an Indian or Middle Eastern market) you can make your own. Take 4 cups of pomegranate juice, add 1/2 cup sugar and a squeeze of lemon. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and cook until reduced to 1 1/2 cups. Allow to cool before using.
1 pound ground lamb
3 quarter size slices of ginger
2 large cloves garlic
2 medium shallots
Zest of one lemon, and separately its juice
4 sprigs fresh mint
Handful fresh cilantro
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
4 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon garam masala
Oil for drizzling
8 skewers (bamboo or metal, your choice)
If you’re using bamboo skewers, get them soaking in some water. They need to soak for at least 30 minutes.
Get your food processor. Throw in the ginger, garlic shallot, lemon zest, mint and cilantro. Turn it on and let it run until everything is super finely chopped.
Dump the lamb into a big bowl. Add the mix from the food processor, 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses, baking soda, and garam masala to the meat. Using your hands, knead it all together for 2 to 5 minutes. The meat will lighten in color, and taken on the appearance of knitted fabric (Aarti’s description, not mine, but true nonetheless). Its also going to get super sticky.
Divide the meat into 8 even sized mounds. Drizzle a platter with some oil to keep the meat from sticking. Grab your skewers.
Take one ball of meat and roll it into a short stump. Thread the skewer through it, and then begin shaping the kebab with quick strokes, pulling the meat down. It should be a little over 1/4-inch thick. Roll the kebab between your hands to seal the meat. Repeat.
Preheat your grill to medium heat. Or attempt to. Mine were cooked over ridiculously high heat and were delicious. They just could not be left alone, lest they burn. While its heating, mix the remaining pomegranate molasses with the lemon juice in a small bowl.
Cook the skewers for 8-10 minutes, turning every 2 minutes or so, brushing the meat with the pomegranate molasses glaze with every turn.