Muhammara kebabs

March 26, 2012  •  Category:


There is a local restaurant here in Beirut called Kebab-ji with several outlets throughout the city; their kebabs are neatly shaped by their expert kebab-makers and come in several varieties. The photo below is of a kebab-maker from Kebab-ji shaping the kebabs for a catered party.

The kebabs today are not the traditional Lebanese ones that simply rely on a kafta mixture (ground beef or veal or lamb, plus onion and parsley and minimum spices). I mixed this mixture with a generous portion of muhammara

Muhammara is a relish or a sauce devised in Aleppo, Syria, and quickly adopted by the Lebanese public. It has many variations, but essentially consists of ground walnuts mixed with red pepper paste, a touch of cumin and pomegranate molasses. Normally it is served on the side to dip a morsel of meat into. Here I took it one step further and combined  the meat with it. The result is a kebab with a complex play of flavors that is typically Levantine.


  • 1 pound of ground beef and ground lamb mixed (can also use one or the other, just don’t pick meat that is too lean)
  • 1 onion
  • Salt, to taste, 1 tsp of allspice, 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup of muhammara sauce (click here for the recipe)



  1. Place the onion and parsley in the bowl of a food processor; chop the onion and parsley as much as possible by pulsing. Add the meat and spices and run the machine for a minute or longer until the meat, onion and parsley are well mixed. Add the muhammara and mix to combine well. 
  2. Take one small cup of meat mixture and shape it into a long sausage in a skewer; alternatively, place on a piece of greased foil side by side (without skewers). Bake in a 400F oven for 10 minutes or so, flipping the skewers or meat fingers to the other side halfway through. Serve with pita and a salad.
NOTE: The muhammara here is made of a lot of walnuts and red pepper paste. I did not use fresh red peppers at all. Feel free to experiment and come up with your own version.



19 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Belinda @zomppa says:

    That molasses sound like the perfect accompaniment to those gorgeous kebabs!

  2. Devaki says:

    You know how much I love your muhamarra sauce Joumana and that added to the kababs can only make everything more fabulous. Those skewers btw are just stunning and so is the plated pics.

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  3. Rosa says:

    Oh, marvelous! what a great combination. I’m drooling…



  4. sare says:

    Mouth- watering…
    I prefer red pepper paste, ıt gives perfect result for muhammara. Fresh peppers are very juicy
    I’ll try these kebabs soon as possible.

    • Joumana says:

      @Sare: I agree, that’s what I used too; red peppers give a great flavor but are not too practical when mixing meat with them!:)

  5. Sarah Galvin (All Our Fingers in the Pie) says:

    These look delicious. I love your recipe for muhamarra so I am sure this is fantastic.

  6. Ol says:

    It looks delicious and somehow remind me about summer:) Greetings!

    Life and travelling

  7. Susan says:

    They look delicious, Joumana! I recently purchased some Aleppo pepper and I’m loving it on everything.

  8. Oui, Chef says:

    Oh my….I’ll take a dozen, please!

  9. MyLittleExpatKitchen says:

    I am going to make muhammara today for a lunch I’m hosting tomorrow. What a coincidence. I would have never thought of adding it to kebab though. What an amazing recipe, Joumana! Thank you so much for this!

  10. Chiara says:

    These look delicious ! This is an amazing recipe Joumana, thank you! Have a good day…

  11. Nuts about food says:

    I am definitely going to make these! First step will be making muhammara, which I have never made yet.

  12. Thomas Tait says:

    I just recently found this site and while I am American? Lebanese and middle eastern food is my FAVORITE food in the world! Now I have found this site I will be in the kitchen often and waddling every day full from all this DELICIOUS looking food! Im in heaven!!!! LOL

  13. Tariq says:

    I like your kabab I look looks yummy do you have any charcoal chicken recipe

  14. Fattoush says:

    Thanks for sharing this recipe with pictures. when i tried this recipe i added little of Kashmiri chilli powder ( its a less spicy red chilli powder found in Indian stores .My loves red chilli powder but the spicyness upset his stomach. and one of my Indian friend introduces this to me).Can try out if interested.

  15. Coco in the Kitchen says:

    Joumana Bella, this is brilliant! I am SO gonna make these this w/end!!! xo

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