Friday, January 23, 2009

Seekh kebabs

One thing that often slips under the radar of cookery writers is how the same name can describe different things depending which country you're in. I once had a Taiwanese flatmate who taught me how to make dim sum, and when he listed the ingredients he said you needed one spring onion, and promptly produced a giant leek. You might think that 'mince' (or what people in the US call 'ground meat') would be fairly standard, but mince in Spain is much more finely chopped than the equivalent in the UK. I generally prefer UK-style coarse mince, although I do like the fact that Spanish butchers will mince it for you so you see a whole piece of meat going in and the mince coming out, and also the fact that they'll do you a mix of beef and pork, and even add some parsley and onion for you.

Unfortunately, my favourite butcher in the Cadiz market doesn't have a functioning mincing machine, so he only offers readymade hamburger mix, and I really don't like the texture that the ultra-fine mix produces. He quite often gifts me a couple of hamburgers, and the other day he chucked in four of them to round up the price of what I was buying. I was seriously considering throwing them away, and then I realised that they would be perfect for seekh kebabs. If you want to make these with British mince, you should briefly whizz it in the food processor to achieve the desired texture.

500g of mince (beef, pork or a mixture of the two)
2 teaspoons of ground cumin
2 teaspoons of ground coriander
1 teaspoon of turmeric
1/2 teaspoon of salt
chilli sauce (to taste)

Mix all the ingredients thoroughly, shape into sausages around skewers (I find small wooden ones are best - if they are too long just snap them in half), and grill until cooked through.

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