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Uyghur (Muslim Chinese) Lamb Skewers

In the northwest part of China, the ethnically Uyghur people – who are religiously Muslim – have blended flavors from South Asia, the Middle East, and other regions of China. The below recipe (adapted from several recipes found online including this excellent one) results in a savory and spicy lamb that leaves a tingle on your tongue.


  • 1 pound lamb shoulder cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1/2 onion – sliced into pieces to be skewered
  • 2 tblspn canola oil
  • 2 tblspn soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder + 1 teaspoon to use as a finishing rub
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon Szechuan peppercorn powder + 1 teaspoon to use as a finishing rub (available on amazon, or make your own: toast whole Szechuan peppercorns, grind, then sift to remove the husks. Check youtube for videos)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Cayenne pepper to taste. Note the cayenne pepper will bring the heat, while the Szechuan powder will bring a numbness/tingling sensation to the tongue.


  • Mix the oil, soy sauce, cornstarch, cumin powder, chili powder, salt, Szechuan powder, and garlic powder to make the wet rub
  • Apply the wet rub to the lamb and onions
  • Skewer the lamb and onions
  • Grill the skewers at medium-high direct heat (around 400-450 degrees) for roughly 4 minutes on each side
  • After removing skewers, sprinkle the lamb with extra cumin and Szechuan powder

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