Lebanese Lamb Kebabs and Middle Eastern Cuisine

Lebanese Lamb kebabs

Lebanese Lamb kebabs are cubes of lamb mixed in a yoghurt infused marinade with a variety of herbs and spices.  The same marinade can also be used beautifully with chicken.

Lebanese Lamb Kebab recipe.

Lebanese Lamb Kebab

Lebanese Lamb Kebab

This recipe was provided to me when I was cooking at a friend’s BBQ on one of our XL3 rotisserie BBQ’s. In fact the food was already prepared and given to me to cook on the rotisserie kebab. It only took about 12/15 minutes to cook and the flavours were superb.  Just click Lebanese Lamb to get the recipe.

As a result of eating these Lebanese lamb kebabs, I decided to look into the origins of Middle Eastern cuisine. Middle Eastern flavours are wide and varied, being influenced by many ethnic groups that have settled and travelled in the region. The Middle East includes the region formerly known as the “Fertile Crescent” (land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers), where wheat was first cultivated, followed by barley, pistachios, figs, pomegranates, dates and other regional staples.

As a crossroads between Europe, Asia and Africa, this area has long been a hub of food and recipe exchange. During the Persian Empire (ca. 550–330 BC), the foundation was laid for modern Middle-Eastern food when rice, poultry and various fruits were incorporated into the local diets. Figs, dates and nuts were brought by Arabian warriors to conquered lands, and spices were brought back from the Far East.

The area was also influenced by dumplings from Mongol invaders; turmeric, cumin, garlic and other spices from India; cloves, peppercorns and allspice from the Spice Islands; okra from Africa; and tomatoes, via the Moors of Spain. Religion has also had an impact on the cuisine as neither Jews nor Muslims eat pork, making lamb (and goat) the primary meat. Under the Ottoman Empire, sweet pastries of paper thin filo dough and dense coffee were brought to the area.
Fermentation was also discovered in the “Fertile Crescent” to leaven bread and make beer. As the Quran forbids the consumption of alcohol, beer production ceased long ago. Alcohol is still produced however in Lebanon (with its Christian community), which produces wines and arak, plus Israel, which produces wines.

Isn’t it wonderful that we can enjoy the culinary opportunities that now exist from the fusion of all these cultures.