About 18 brochettes; serves 6
15 minutes prep, 10 minutes cooking, 25 minutes total
This favorite of street stalls, simple cafés, and roadside stops is ideal for a casual meal for friends. Serve with a selection of fresh and cooked salads. Calculate three brochettes per person.
Many Moroccan butchers sell kefta already seasoned with their own special blend of herbs and spices. To the standards — paprika, cumin, cinnamon, parsley, and cilantro — some include coriander seeds or mace and, in places like Azrou in the Middle Atlas, fresh mint.

  • 1-1/2 pounds/680 g ground beef or lamb or a mix of the two (see note)
  • 1 medium red onion, finely grated
  • 1/4 cup/10 g loosely packed finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup/10 g loosely packed finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • Heaped 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint (optional)
  • Generous 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mace or 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Generous 1 pinch cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes
  • Salt
  • Olive oil
1. In a large mixing bowl, blend the meat, onion, parsley, cilantro, mint (if using), paprika, cumin, cinnamon, mace, and cayenne. Season with salt. Unless the meat is quite fatty, work in a few drops of olive oil.
2. Take an egg-size handful of the mixture and press it around the middle of a skewer. Place on a clean, flat work surface and roll it lightly with the palms of your hands to form an even "sausage" 6 to 8 in/15 to 20 cm long. Pinch down both ends around the skewer. Gently set on a platter, and repeat with the remaining mixture.
3. If using a grill pan or griddle, lightly oil and heat over high heat. If using a barbecue, prepare a fire and heat until the coals are glowing. If using a broiler, preheat the broiler.
4. Cook the brochettes, nudging them from time to time with the help of a spatula in order to cook evenly on all sides, until the meat is cooked through and firm to touch, about 10 minutes. Serve hot.
Note: The meat should have a bit of fat. If, once ground, it feels a bit dry, a few drops of olive oil will help moisten it. Have the butcher grind the meat twice. Some Moroccans blend in fat from around the kidney of a lamb, or, for its rich flavor, the kidney itself.

From Morocco: A Culinary Journey with Recipes from the Spice-Scented Markets of Marrakech to the Date-Filled Oasis of Zagora by Jeff Koehler. Text and photographs copyright © 2012 by Jeff Koehler. Used by permission of Chronicle Books LLC. All rights reserved.