Kebab is the most popular fire-roasted dish in the Middle East, Eastern Mediterranean and South Asia. There are hundreds of ways to prepare kebabs, as well as quite a few names for it, but essentially, they all mean the same – fire roasted meat on a skewer. So here’s the way they make it in Armenia – Lulah Kebab!
The name itself comes from two different words: lulah (turkish) – tube, and kebab (arabic) – roasted meat. Traditionally, it’s made of ground lamb meat, but this time I am making it from beef.
- 1 lb ground beef neck
- 1 lb ground beef ribs (meat in between the ribs)
- 2 medium white onions, pureed
- 1 tbsp sweet paprika (preferably -smoked moroccan)
- 1 tbsp coarse salt
- 1 tbsp finely ground black pepper
- 1 tsp ground cumin
The secret behind a good lulah kebab is the way the meat is processed. First of all, using a blender or a food processor, we have to puree the onions. This is to allow them to mix better with the meat and let the onion juice tenderise it even further.
Second – combine all the ingredients in the bowl and knead the mixture for about 10 minutes. Then cover with plastic wrap and let sit in the refrigerator for about 3-4 hours, to let all the tastes blend together. By the way, when you pull the meat out of the fridge later on, you’ll see the meat changing color a bit, looking somewhat greyish. That’s perfectly fine – that means the proteins in the meat were released and started forming protein connections. Bottom line – it’s good! 🙂 🙂 🙂
Then you’ll need some metal skewers. I would not recommend grilling lulah kebabs on wooden skewers, but if you ain’t got the metal ones, that’s fine… just use the flat ones, as it provides more surface for the meat to stick to. Form “tubes” and push the skewer through, tightening the meat on the skewer with your hand. Do not make the kebabs too thick – 1″ to 1.5″ is just the thickness you want.
Grill the kebabs over direct high heat for about 7-9 minutes, turning 2-3 times through the cooking time. Serve hot with pita bread or even a tortilla, with some hummus or just a chopped vegetable salad and fresh greens (coriander, parsley etc).