Wednesday, June 11, 2014
This is Uzbek lamb kebab. Those of us from Uzbekistan know it as Shashlik and consider it to be a great delicacy. It’s a must for every special occasion and gathering of family and friends. My parents recently came to visit, and together we made a great big batch to share with you.
Traditionally, Shashlik is made of lamb and includes chunks of kurdyuk, or fat from the fat-tailed sheep, and it’s cooked on a long and narrow grill called a mangal. Skewers are placed right across the rim of the mangal, so there is no grill grate.
The Shashlik shown here is served with the traditional accompaniments of tandyr-baked flatbread called lepyoshki or non and thinly sliced onions seasoned with white vinegar, sugar, and salt. It’s plated on a vintage Uzbek platter depicting the design of the country’s famous ikat textiles. My parents brought the platter and a matching teapot and set of pijalas with us when we moved from Uzbekistan to the U.S. back in 1980. (Sadly, the teapot was broken several years ago.)
My family’s Shashlik recipe is precious to me because we left Uzbekistan when I was just a baby, and it’s one of the few things I have from my native country. It also happens to be the very first marinade I was ever exposed to. So of course I had to include it in my newest book Marinades. I’d like to give you a peek inside the book, so here’s the recipe exactly as it appears on pages 254 and 255.
When making Shashlik, choose a piece of lamb with a generous fat cap. Thread the marinated pieces of lamb onto skewers with the fat side out so that it can render and brown on the grill. And trust me when I say that the fat is the best part!
If you like this marinade, there are 199 more where that came from!
Speaking of my cookbook, don’t forget that Father’s Day is coming up and Marinades would make the perfect gift for Dad. Just in time for Father’s Day, I’ll be doing a tasting and book signing at Vancouver’s Butcher Boys from 11AM to 2PM this Saturday, June 14. Then on Friday, June 27, from 11AM to 1PM I’ll be offering up more samples and signatures at the Mill Plain Chuck’s Produce. If you want the complete Marinades immersion (pun intended!) join me for an amazing hands-on cooking class at Revival Market in Houston on Sunday, July 20 at 4PM. We have an amazing fiesta-style Tex-Mex menu planned, and no doubt you’ll leave class a master of marination!
In other event news, the summer Clark College class schedule is out. I'll be teaching Main Dish Summer Salads and Homemade Dressings. Please join me in the kitchen! Current event listings can always be found in the Cooking Classes, Book Signings & Appearances sidebar on the right.
So have you gotten your copy of Marinades yet? If not, consider that critics are saying it’s the perfect book for when time for cooking is short and calling it “exceptionally useful”, “inventive”, “like a spice rack on steroids”, “the ‘bible’ on the sauce that will bring your BBQ to the next level”, “delicious”, “for those who love to infuse flavor into their products”, “intriguing”, and full “of fresh ideas for creative marinating now”. And if that's not enough to convince you, NPR includes Marinades in this list of summer cookbooks that'll “make the good life even better”. While I’m listing media mentions, here are some of my marinade tips, here are more of my tips along with information on the health benefits of using marinades, and here’s the interview of yours truly from baker and food blogger Kimm Moore.
I truly hope you enjoyed having this Marinades update and glimpse of my most treasured recipe in my book. I'd love nothing more than for you to give this Shashlik a try. If you do, drop me a line, or better yet, come out to one of my book events and tell me how it goes!