BBQ/Grill Kebabs or burgers

Grill or BBQ

BBQs were a very popular and regular way of eating whilst we were growing up in Kenya.  As the weather was mostly fine, we made skewered kebabs, chicken pieces and steaks on a well heated joko (coal stove) either at each others homes or in Parks and near water-falls.  Roasted cassave (mogo) and maize, onion and tomato salad and chutneys were the standard accompaniments.  

My mum always made the mince mixture for the kebabs to be skewered whilst the others marinated the meats and brought along other stuff.

This is mum’s very simple recipe and results in the flavours and consistency of how a kebab should taste.


For Kebabs

2lb lamb/beef/chicken mince – NOT LEAN (the mince needs to have 20-25% fat for the kebabs to stick onto skewers) in the UK the ready mince sold by the butcher works well

For burgers

2lb lamb/beef/chicken mince can be lean add an egg (optional) to the mixture

  • 2 tbs dry coarsely ground coriander
  • 2 tsps coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 tsps ajwan – bruise with fingers before adding (optional)
  • 2 tsps ground cassia/cinnamon
  • 1lb onions, grated and kept in a colander to drain
  • 2 tbs fresh ginger crushed
  • 1 cup fresh green coriander sliced
  • 8-10 crushed fresh green chillies (increase or reduce to taste)
  • 1.5 tbs salt (or to taste)


  1. Add all other ingredients and mix well using your hands, (use gloves if you have sensitive skin, as green chillies may sting!).
  2. Keep mixture aside for 30 mins for the spices to infuse into the mince.
  3. Start up the coal/gas bbq pit or stove 15 mins before you start laying the kebabs/burgers to cook.
  4. Put some oil or water on both palms of your hands, take a fistful of mince mixture and shape into a ball, put the iron skewer through this and then gently press down and flatten the ball until the kebab is about 7-8 inches long, make 4 or 5 at a time (watch video above).
  5. Place the kebabs onto the heated bbq stove cook one side, turn and cook until brown on all sides
  6. When done, using a kitchen towel or pitta bread hold hot kebab in the middle, gently move up and down then remove in one swing into a hot pot or saucepan, cover so the kebabs remain moist.
  7. If making burgers, add one raw egg to the mince mixture, mix well, make into burgers and place on a wire rack placed onto the hot coals. Cook one side, turn and cook other side, remove into a hotpot or into a pan. Keep covered until ready to eat.
  8. Or place burgers onto an oven tray, place under a hot grill, cook on one side, turn and cook the other side.
  9. Serve with naan, garlic bread, fusion salad and green chutney.


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About Me

I am Sabiha Khokhar, born in Kenya now living in London – a busy working mother, wife, published author and passionate cook. Despite having many interests in life, my greatest joy is FOOD!

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