photo of Zaatar Salmon Kebab

A new guide to Kebabs

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The onset of winter in the UAE means the start of barbecue season. Families gather in parks and beaches for open air barbecue. I love the smells that fill the winter air. The lively chatter as families enjoys the outdoors with good food and amazing weather. Every park and beach have a decent arrangement for cooking food in the open.
Even though grilled meat is irresistible I try to go for the healthier options. We include a lot of vegetables, corn, cottage cheese and fish. There is a huge variety of sea fish available here but my default is organic salmon. It has a unique taste which gets enhanced with slight flavorings.
Living in this part of the world one thing you are bound to fall in love with………Spices!! A very traditional old open spice market in Dubai (about which I shall write more in my future blog posts) boasts a huge array of spice and condiments. One such spice or rather spice mix that is very popular among the Middle Eastern people is Za’atar. It is dried thyme but za’atar mix is a mixture of dried thyme, sesame, sumac, often salt as well as other spices. It is easily available here and used in a lot of bakery products. Za’atar croissants are my favorite.
It is also used as a dry spice rub for meats. But I decided to use it for my fish kebabs and they came out perfect the very first time. It’s a very simple recipe. In my previous blog post, I have shared the recipe for a basic couscous if you wish to have these kebabs with couscous.
Like most other recipes in my blog, this kebab requires very less time. The only process that takes time is assembling the kebabs on skewers. For me time is precious and I try to spend very less but an effective time in the kitchen. These kebabs are not just perfect for outdoor barbecue but can also be served as a side dish for a dinner gathering. So, do try them and let me know how you liked them. And please share your experience with a new Mediterranean spice. Which one is your all-time favorite spice from this region and how do you use it??

Za’atar salmon kebabs

Course:  main or side
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 15-20 minutes
Salmon  500 g (cubed)
Za’atar   2 tbsp.
Lemon juice   1 tbsp.
Black pepper ½ tbsp.
Red chili powder ½ tsp.
Salt ¼ tsp.
Olive oil   3 tbsp.
Lemon slices 12-15
  1. Pat dry the salmon cubes with a paper towel and marinate with zaatar spice, lemon juice, black pepper, salt, red chili powder and ½ tsp. of olive oil.
  2. Mount the marinated salmon cubes and thinly sliced lemons on pre-soaked wooden skewers.
  3. Heat a grill pan and apply the remaining olive oil. Place the skewers on the hot grill pan for 1-2 minutes on each side or until grill marks appear.
  4. Serve hot with cous cous or salad.

Note: red chili powder can be omitted if you like less spicy. I used two skewers for one set of kebabs because it makes handling very easy as fish kebabs are relatively soft and tend to fall apart.

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