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Lula Kebabs (Lyulya Kebabs): Ground Lamb Kebabs from the Caucasus and Central Asia

Lula kebabs, also known as Lyulya kebabs, are a traditional dish from the Caucasus Mountains and the Central Asian republics of the former Soviet Union. These ground lamb kebabs are known for their rich flavor, juicy texture, and aromatic spices. They are typically served with flatbread, fresh vegetables, and yogurt-based sauces.

Lula Kebabs (Lyulya Kebabs): Ground Lamb Kebabs from the Caucasus and Central Asia

Ingredients:

For the Kebabs:

1 lb ground lamb
1 small onion, finely grated
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground sumac (optional, for a tangy flavor)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, for heat)
Bamboo or metal skewers (if using bamboo, soak in water for 30 minutes to prevent burning)

For Serving:

Flatbreads or lavash
Fresh vegetables (sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, and bell peppers)
Yogurt sauce or tzatziki
Fresh herbs (cilantro, parsley, and dill)
Lemon wedges

Instructions:

Prepare the Kebab Mixture:

In a large bowl, combine the ground lamb, grated onion, minced garlic, chopped cilantro, chopped parsley, ground cumin, ground coriander, ground paprika, black pepper, salt, ground sumac (if using), and cayenne pepper (if using).
Mix the ingredients thoroughly until well combined. For best results, refrigerate the mixture for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld and the mixture to firm up.

Form the Kebabs:

Divide the lamb mixture into equal portions and shape each portion into long, oval-shaped patties around the skewers. Press the mixture firmly to ensure it adheres to the skewer and forms a uniform shape.

Preheat the Grill:

Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. If using a charcoal grill, ensure the coals are hot and have a white ash coating.

Grill the Lula Kebabs:

Brush the grill grates with a little oil to prevent sticking. Place the kebabs on the grill.
Grill for about 4-5 minutes per side, turning occasionally, until the kebabs are cooked through and have a nice char.

Serve:

Remove the kebabs from the grill and let them rest for a few minutes.
Serve the lula kebabs with flatbreads or lavash, fresh vegetables, and a yogurt-based sauce or tzatziki. Garnish with fresh herbs and provide lemon wedges for squeezing over the kebabs.

Tips:

Tips:

Meat Alternatives: Ground beef or a mixture of beef and lamb can be used instead of all lamb.
Herb Variations: Experiment with different herbs like mint or dill for a unique flavor.
Cooking Methods: Lula kebabs can also be cooked in a skillet or under the broiler if a grill is not available.

Wine Pairing:

Pair your lula kebabs with a robust red wine such as Malbec or a refreshing white wine like Sauvignon Blanc, depending on your preference.

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