SUBWAYexican street food tacos al pastor It’s hauntingly complex and delicious, and a fine example of how recipes travel across continents, stealthily traveling into the hearts and minds of migrants and travelers, exchanging ideas, borrowing cooking methods, and creating entirely new dishes. In Mexico, Lebanese immigrants cooked kebabs to remind them of home, and then Mexicans made them with pork, marinating the meat with local ingredients. These succulent lamb tacos are inspired by that culinary fusion of the Middle East and Mexico.
Caramelised wide lamb kebab tacos with dill yogurt
A rich, rounded and aromatic marinade pairs well with this fatty cut of lamb; Pair with a strong cole slaw and stack on warm, flexible tortillas.
Homework 30 minutes, more soaking
Marinate 2 hours +
Cook 25 min
It serves 4
2 large ancho chili peppers
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
3 garlic cloves
Salt and pepper
400g of lamb fillets or lamb neck
350g of natural yogurt
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 handful dill, finely chopped, plus extra, for serving
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons date syrup or pomegranate molasses
Red cabbage very finely grated
12 flour tortillas
Open the chiles like a book, remove the stems and seeds, then cut each one into a few large, flat pieces. Put a skillet over medium heat and, once hot, toast the chilli pieces for 20-30 seconds on each side, until fragrant. Pour into a bowl, cover it with boiling water and let it soak for 10-15 minutes. Toast the spices in the same pan for one or two minutes, until aromatic, then pour into a mortar with two cloves of garlic and half a teaspoon of sea salt and mash until you get a paste.
Cut the lamb fillets lengthwise into thinner pieces, then pat between two sheets of parchment paper to soften.
Drain and finely chop the chiles, then mash to a paste in a mortar (if your mortar is too small for this, transfer to a small blender and beat). Add four large tablespoons of yogurt, season to taste, then rub all over the lamb and let it marinate for a few hours or, if you have time, put it in the fridge overnight.
Heat the oven to 240C (220C fan) / 475F / gas 9. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil, spread the lamb on top and drizzle with the oil. Roast for 15-20 minutes, until golden and caramelized, then remove, cover with aluminum foil and let rest. (The lamb would also be delicious cooked over a fire).
Mix the remaining yogurt with the last clove of garlic, which you have carefully crushed, the dill, the juice of half a lemon and the tahini, and season to taste.
Drizzle all but a teaspoon of the date syrup over the lamb, then drizzle the rest over the cabbage with a tablespoon or two of lemon juice and mix lightly. Serve lamb with warm tortillas or flatbreads, yogurt, and salad; Some pickled chili peppers wouldn’t be bad either.
And for the rest of the week …
The marinade works well with lamb chops, grilled chicken, and pork chops; I also love that it is rubbed with cauliflower or carrots before roasting.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism