- 1 pound ground lamb
- 3 quarter-size slices ginger
- 2 large cloves garlic or 4 small
- 2 medium shallots
- Zest of 1 lemon, and separately, its juice
- 4 sprigs fresh mint
- Handful fresh cilantro
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon garam masala, optional
- Lots of freshly ground pepper
- Oil, for drizzling
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh mint
- 1 large English cucumber, grated
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Special equipment: Food processor if you have it, 8 bamboo skewers, stovetop griddle or big nonstick pan or outside grill
For the lamb: Bring the lamb to room temperature. If you're going to cook your kebabs on the grill, soak bamboo skewers in water for at least 30 minutes, so they don't burn.
Grab your food processor. You can chop all this by hand too; just make sure to chop it all up very finely.
Throw the ginger, garlic, shallots, lemon zest, mint, cilantro and salt into the processor. Grind until very finely chopped.
Throw the lamb into a big bowl. Add the shallot mixture, 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses, baking soda, garam masala if using and pepper to the meat. Using your hands, knead 2 to 5 minutes until the meat lightens in color, taking on the appearance of knitted fabric. It will also be very sticky. Perfect!
Divide the meat in half, then in half again and then half again, until you have 8 mounds.
Have a platter ready for your completed kebabs. Drizzle a little oil on the platter so the kebabs don't stick.
Have your bamboo skewers standing by. Take one ball of meat and roll it into a short stump. Thread the skewer through it, and then begin shaping the kebab with quick strokes, pulling the meat down. It should be a little over 1/4-inch thick. Roll the kebab between your hands to seal the meat. Repeat.
Preheat a griddle over medium heat, drizzling oil over it, so that when it starts to smoke, you'll know it's ready. Meanwhile, mix the juice of half the lemon with the remaining 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses in a small bowl.
When it's hot, place the skewers on the grill. Cook about 2 minutes, then turn a quarter of the way. Brush with the lemon-molasses glaze and cook another 2 minutes. Continue in this way until you've cooked the meat 8 to 10 minutes.
For the raita: Mix the yogurt, mint, cucumber and garlic together. Season with salt and pepper, and serve alongside the kebabs.