Mixed Grill (Meshwi)

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (August 2017) and taken from Syria: Recipes from Home by Itab Azzam and Dina Mousawi.

Syrians love a barbecue and it can occur anywhere; in a park or even by the side of the road!  Place a metal grilling rack over two stones with charcoal underneath and that’s all you need to start making the juiciest meat dishes you can imagine.

Beef or veal ribs is one of the most popular cuts.  You can grill any cut of chicken and, for lamb, the neck or shoulder is the best.  These grilled meats and chicken are usually eaten with flatbread brushed with pepper paste and thinly sliced onion mixed with parsley and sumac.


Serves : 4

Ingredients for the 7 spices (Baharat Mix)
1 tblsp each ground cardamom, ground cinnamon, ground cumin, ground coriander, ground black pepper
½ tblsp each ground cloves and ground nutmeg

Ingredients for the beef kebabs
½ onion, quartered
Handful of parsley
250g minced fatty beef
½ tsp 7 spices (Baharat Mix)
¼ tsp Pomegranate Molasses
1 tsp salt

Ingredients for the Lamb Skewers
250g diced leg or shoulder of lamb
5 small green peppers, deseeded and cut into chunks
2 small onions, quartered
4 tomatoes, quartered

For the chicken skewers
3 tsp oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
½ tsp 7 spices (Baharat Mix)
¼ tsp cardamom
2 chicken breasts, diced
1 small onion, quartered
1 tomato, quartered
5 baby green peppers

Step One : Heat the oven to 200oC / 400oF / Gas Mark 6. First make the beef kebabs. In a food processor, mix the onion with the parsley. Tip out into a bowl with the minced meat, add the other ingredients and mix together well with your hands. Wrap the beef around metal skewers, then roast in the oven for 4-10 minutes or grill for 4 minutes on each side.

Step Two : For the lamb skewers, thread the lamb pieces onto the skewer, alternating with pieces of pepper, onion and tomatoes. Season, then cook under a preheat grill for 4 minutes on each side.

Step Three : For the chicken skewers, mix the oil, garlic and spices in a bowl. Season, add the chicken and vegetables and combine. Thread the chicken and vegetables onto the skewer, then grill for 4 minutes on each side.

Whole Barbecued Fish

images6440BJNUCook time: 30 mins

Ingredients: 4 small or 2 larger whole fish, such as red or grey mullet, or red snapper, gutted; juice of 2 limes or lemons; 6 tblsp extra virgin olive oil; 6 fresh bay leaves or sprigs of marjoram, plus extra to garnish. A pinch of dried thyme.

  • Score the fish diagonally with a sharp knife. Rub inside and out with half the lime juice, salt and pepper, and 2 tbsp of the olive oil. Place the bay leaves inside the fish and sprinkle with a pinch of thyme.
  • Place the fish over the hot barbecue coals (or under a hot grill), preferably in a wire basket or wrapped in foil, and cook for about 10 minutes on each side, or longer for larger fish.
  • Sprinkle with the remaining olive oil and lemon juice, garnish with bay leaves or marjoram and serve immediately with a Greek salad.

Wire basket for cooking the fish:

Skewered Fish

Serves:  4;  Prep:  15 mins plus overnight marinating; Cook:  20 minutes

If you don’t want to use scallops or prawns, use an extra 8oz (225g) cod fillet instead.  For a real treat cook them on a barbecue.

Ingredients:  1 lb (450g) cod fillet; 4 rashers streaky bacon; 8 scallops or large prawns; 2 lemons; 2 onions, 1 tbsp / 15ml lemon juice; 2 tbsp / 30ml runny honey; 2 tbsp/30ml light soy sauce; 1 tbsp/15ml tomato puree; 1 tbsp/15ml wholegrain mustard; salt and pepper

  • Cut the cod fillet into large pieces.  Using the back of a knife, stretch the rashers of bacon.  Halve each one and wrap each half around each scallop or prawn.
  • Thickly slice the lemon and quarter each slice.  Peel and cut the onion into large pieces.  Thread fish, scallops, lemon and onion onto 8 skewers and place in a non-metallic dish.
  • Mix together the remaining ingredients until smooth.  Pour over the fish, cover and marinate for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight, basting with the marinade occasionally.
  • Preheat the grill to high.  Cook the skewers in a foil-lined grill pan for about 10 minutes or until cooked.  Baste with the marinade during the cooking.
  • Serve immediately on a bed of rice with any remaining marinade spooned over.

Mexican Kebabs

You can cook these spicy kebabs on the barbecue or grill – just turn them often to prevent burning.

Serves:  4;  Cals per portion:  250

Ingredients:  4 chicken breast fillets, skinned; 30ml (2 tbsp) olive oil; juice of 1 lime; 5ml (1 tsp) each ground black pepper, chilli powder and paprika; 10ml (2 tsp) dried oregano; 1 large onion, cut into pieces; 1/2 green pepper, cut into pieces; 8 small tomatoes; lime wedges and oregano to garnish.

  • Cut the chicken fillets into even-sized pieces and place in a sealable non-metallic container.  Mix together the oil, lime juice, spices and oregano, then pour over the chicken.  Leave to marinate for 2 hours at room temperature.
  • Thread the chicken on to 4 metal skewers with the onion and pepper pieces, placing a tomato at each end of a skewer.
  • Cook under a medium grill for 20-25 mins.  Turn occasionally until chicken is cooked through and slightly charred.
  • Garnish with lime wedges and fresh oregano, then serve with warmed tortilla pancakes, soured cream and salad.