Cumin Lamb Skewers
5 (1)

Cumin Lamb Skewers<div class="yasr-vv-stars-title-container"><div class='yasr-stars-title yasr-rater-stars'
></div><span class='yasr-stars-title-average'>5 (1)</span></div>

The first time we ever ate Cumin Lamb Skewers was in the San Gabriel Valley (SGV) in Los Angeles. The Mecca for amazing Chinese food in LA. This was no exception either. For the love of us I couldn’t tell you what the restaurants name was, or even if it is still there. Like many of the best Chinese restaurants, it was completely unassuming from the outside. Actually, it didn’t look too great on the inside either! However, one thing was for certain. The Cumin Lamb Skewers that were served up were phenomenal. This is our attempt to recreate that amazing dish

Cumin is such a beautiful spice. Used well it completely transforms and elevates a dish into something truly magical. It is quite a powerful spice too, so typically when it’s used as part of a dish it is used sparingly. Not in this case, however. Aggressive Cumin spicing is the name of the game for this dish. It is 100% the hero ingredient of this recipe. It is truly a celebration of Cumin

Cumin and Lamb

Cumin pairs exceptionally well with Lamb. For our Cumin Lamb Skewers we did test it on a few different cuts of Lamb. Lamb can be a challenging cut of meat at times given it can be quite fatty. It lends itself well to slow roasting, however this dish requires a quick stir fry. The best cut of Lamb for these Cumin Lamb Skewers is Lamb Backstrap. Tenderloin will also work very well, however for some added Lamb flavor – go with the Backstrap

Don’t be shy on the Cumin, you want the pronounced flavor to really stand out

This is not a bashful dish; it is a celebration of the two ingredients. Therefore, you want to have a heavy hand with the Cumin to ensure it is the pronounced flavor in the dish. For this recipe we’re using about 2 lbs. of Lamb, and that equates to about 1 tbsp. of Cumin

The Lamb will be able to take the spice very well. While the Cumin flavor will be pronounced in the dish, it won’t overpower the flavors. Lamb has a strong flavor, so it requires a decent quantity of Cumin to balance out the overall flavors in the dish

In addition to using Cumin Powder, we also use Cumin Seeds. You can buy Cumin Seeds in the grocery store, they’re not as common as Cumin Powder but it is still quite a common ingredient, so you hopefully shouldn’t have any challenges finding it

Add the Cumin Seeds along with all the other spices into a wonderful marinade along with Soy Sauce and Chinese Vinegar to add some liquid to the dish. The Lamb will need to marinate for a minimum of two hours to absorb all those wonderful spices and flavors. If you have time, we recommend marinating it overnight for the best result

Another great way to prepare Cumin seeds is to lightly toast them. This is an optional step, but to get the very best Cumin flavor, we recommend toasting the Cumin seeds before adding them to the marinade. The Cumin flavor will be even more pronounced in the Cumin Lamb Skewers, and it tastes great!

Cumin Lamb Skewers close up
delicious Cumin Lamb Skewers topped with crunchy peanuts and scallions

Treat the Lamb Backstrap like you’re cooking a Filet Steak

It may sound strange, but Lamb Backstrap has a very similar texture to Filet Steak. It is super tender and low on fat, which makes it the perfect Lamb to serve on skewers as an appetizer. It’s going to melt in the mouth with tenderness, so no excessive chewing needed

When cooking the Lamb Backstrap, we’ve found it cooks very similar to a Filet Steak. You want to bring the Lamb Backstrap to room temperature, and then cook it on a very high heat. Get a lovely, charred crust on each side, then drop the heat down a little bit to cook it evenly throughout

Most Lamb Backstrap cuts aren’t super thick, so there won’t be any need to over roast it to cook through evenly. Provided you’re cooking at room temperature, you’ll get a good, even cook. You can serve Lamb Backstrap a little more on the rare side than other cuts of meat given it is so tender. Medium rare at 125F is the temperature to aim for

This is a great dish to serve as an appetizer, or at a party. They of course don’t need to be served on a skewer however where’s the fun in that?! Food always tastes better when it’s on a skewer too!

Recipe Details


4 – 6 people

Prep time

15 minutes

Cooking time

10 minutes

Total time

25 minutes

Cumin Lamb Skewers Recipe


  • 2 lbs. Lamb Backstrap
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
  • ½ cup Soy Sauce
  • ¼ cup Chinese Vinegar
  • 1 Brown Onion, chopped into large pieces
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. Sesame Oil
  • 1 tbsp. Cumin Powder
  • 1 tsp. Cumin Seeds
  • 1 tbsp. Honey
  • 1 tbsp. Peanuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp. Scallions, chopped
  • 1 tsp. Olive Oil
  • ½ tsp. Salt


  1. Trim any excess fat and silver skin off the Lamb, then cut into 1 inch cubes
  2. Combine the Soy Sauce, Chinese Vinegar, Garlic, Sesame Oil, Cumin Powder, Cumin Seeds and Honey into a bowl. Mix thoroughly then add the Lamb
  3. Marinade the Lamb for a minimum of 2 hours, up to overnight. The longer you marinade, the richer the flavor will be. Ideally prepare the day prior for the best results
  4. When you are ready to cook, strain the Lamb well using a sieve, ensuring you capture all of the marinating liquid, as this will be used to make our glaze
  5. Heat the Olive Oil in a hot pan then add the Onions. Cook until tender and beginning to char, about 10 minutes. Set aside
  6. In the same hot pan add the Lamb. Cook for approximately 5 minutes, ensuring each side gets a good char. Remove Lamb from the heat once their internal temperature reads 125 degrees for medium rare. Set aside

To make the Glaze and Prepare the Skewers

  1. Add the marinade liquid into the same pan and cook on medium / high to reduce, stirring constantly. After 5-7 minutes the liquid will begin to thicken. At this point remove from heat. It will continue to thicken when cooling, so try to avoid over reducing it or the glaze will be difficult to apply
  2. Once cooled, place the Lamb and Onions on Skewers, alternating between each ingredient until full. Place back on the pan over high heat for 30 seconds, to re-heat and seer, then remove
  3. With a brush, apply a liberal amount of glaze to the skewers. Finish by sprinkling the Peanuts and Scallions on the top and serve immediately

We hope you enjoy this amazing Cumin Lamb Skewers recipe. For more great appetizers dish check out our dedicated page here. If you’re diehard lamb fans, why not try out some of these delicious lamb recipes:

Happy Cooking!

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