food talk

Double delight

The Greek kebab combines the pleasures of a seekh with a tikka, says Pushpesh Pant

KEBAB — be it shami, seekh or tikka — is imprinted so strongly in our memory that we refuse to even consider a possibility that it may have been an import. Did the Turko-Afghans bring it with them after borrowing it from someone else maybe or the Indian skewer is purely swadeshi — a direct descendent of the Rajasthani shule?

Let scholars break their eggheads over this one we are quite content to devour and relish what is offered to us temptingly on a platter. This time the delicacy came to us in the shape of a miniature shashlik. The first mouthful removed all confusion. This was unmistakable Greek fare- conjuring up visions of olive groves, worthy offspring of a ‘fruity’ marriage of meats and colourful vegetables. The spicing in this recipe seems to bridge the distance between the oriental and the occidental.

Personally, we have discovered that a sprinkling of dried ginger powder enhances the flavour of this refreshingly different kebab. Another endearing feature of this Greek offering is that it combines the pleasures of a seekh with a tikka.



Mutton/kid (boneless cut into small cubes) 500 gm
Dahi 2tbsp
Honey 1tsp
Zeera powder 1 tsp
Dhaniya powder 1 tsp
Kashmiri lal mirch 1 tsp
Olive oil 1 tbsp
Peppercorns (coarsely ground, fresh) 1 tsp
Lemon juice 1 tsp
Sweet bell pepper/capsicum one
Fresh mint or coriander (chopped) ¼ cup
Spring onions (or one medium-sized red onion quartered then the pieces halved again) 4-6
Dried apricots (without pits, optional) 4-8
Salt to taste
Wedges of lemon or sweet lime for garnish


Clean, wash and pat dry the mutton pieces. Prepare a marinade by mixing dahi, olive oil, honey, powdered spices and the lemon juice along with the chopped mint/coriander. Put the mutton cubes in this, sprinkle the salt and mix well to ensure that these are well coated. Keep aside preferably in a refrigerator for about two hours.

Wipe the pepper clean with a wet cloth. Halve the pepper length-wise, remove the pith and cut into eight even-sized pieces. Cut again into two each.

Clean the spring onions if using. Peal the onions and but into bite size pieces.

Thread marinated mutton cubes on a wet wooden or metal skewer separating the cubes with a piece of sweet pepper and onion alternating. Grill over charcoal grill or open flame on gas for about 12 minutes, basting regularly with the leftover marinade, ensuring that these are done to taste and the vegetables and the fruit are pleasantly scalded.

Remember, these seekh kebabs are not the melt in the mouth variety- the meat retains a healthy bite without losing succulence. Part of its allure we feel comes from the honey-glazed sweet and sour taste. Serve on a bed of tomato and cucumber slices with wedges of lemon.