Monday, August 3, 2009

Summer Grill: Lamb and Cherries

There is a special kind of cherry found around Aleppo in Syria known as St. Lucie's cherry (Prunus mahaleb L.), which is a small, bitter, crimson-colored black cherry. The cherries are used in a popular preparation from Aleppo called, simply enough, kabab bi'l-karaz, kebabs with cherries. You can use either canned sour cherries or any fresh pitted cherries. This recipe is a version in which the lamb meat is ground first as kafta. The difference between kafta and kebab is that both can be skewered and grilled but kafta is ground meat and kebabs are chunks of meat. The picture is of kafta in Morocco.


  1. Cliff - Is there any other fruit that you think might work? We don't have cherries in Burundi, but there is passion fruit and also japanese prunes, perhaps the latter would work?
    Also, coincidentally, I've just put up a blog on folk medicine in Egypt in which I mention the drink hilba - what do you think is the (etymological)link with mahaleb?

  2. I think passion fruit might work as well as strawberries. The drink hilba is not related to mahaleb but more likely related to the word for milk (halb), or fenugreek (hulba), or date wine (halab).

  3. Ah - yes (etymology). Will try it with passion fruit. Thanks!

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