How to Make Spicy Lamb Skewers with Cumin

I first got a taste of spicy cumin lamb skewers during what was meant to have been a satay feast at my parents’ house in Sydney’s southwest. In amongst the hundreds of Malaysian satays that were cooked up that day, there  were also some Xinjiang-style lamb skewers; apparently it was a dish introduced to them by their new northern Chinese friends from church.

As a loyal Malaysian, I was there for the satays, but I was immediately converted once I tasted the lamb skewers; I was even more impressed when I found out how easy they were to make. No lengthy list of ingredients and no marinating required beforehand; just skewers of lamb sprinkled with salt, cumin and chilli flakes as they cooked on the grill.

I did a quick online search and found some recipes that do require marinating and some additional ingredients, but this version was what I ate at my parents’ as taught by their Xinjiang friends, and I think it works great, so here it is.

Xinjiang Lamb Skewers with Cumin


1 kg lamb, cut into 2cm cubes

2 TBSP salt

2 TBSP cumin powder

2 TBSP chilli flakes

Oil for brushing

Bamboo skewers


  1. Skewer the lamb pieces onto bamboo sticks; make sure there are no gaps in between the chunks of meat.
  2. Place lamb skewers on hot barbecue or grill, brush with a little oil and sprinkle with salt, cumin and chilli flakes.
  3. Repeat on the other side.
  4. Cook until done, remove and serve immediately.

Lamb Skewers pictured here with a bottle of Yalumba Grenache, from the Wine Selectors Australian First Families of Wine Favourites Mixed Collection



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