• Yield: Serves 4

  • Time: 10 minutes cooking


The sauce

  • 1 ounce country bread (about 1 slice), crust removed

  • 3/4 cup shelled pistachios

  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed

  • 1 tablespoon tahini

  • Juice of 1 lemon

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

The kebabs (shashlik)

  • 1 1/4 pounds ground beef

  • 1 red onion, grated

  • 1 garlic clove, crushed

  • 3/4 cup shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped

  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • Flatbread, to serve


1. For the sauce, soak the bread in a bowl of cold water for a few minutes, then squeeze out as much of the water as possible. Put into a food processor with the pistachios and process to a paste. Add the remaining ingredients and blend again. Add enough cold water to thin the sauce to a smooth, dropping consistency. Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate until needed, but bring to room temperature before serving.

2. For the kebabs, put all the ingredients, except the olive oil, into a large bowl. Use your hands to mix everything until smooth.

3. Divide the mixture into eight pieces and shape each into a long, thin sausage around a metal skewer.

4. Preheat a grill pan over high heat. Brush the shashlik with olive oil and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, turning occasionally, until well-browned and cooked through to your liking. Serve with the pistachio sauce and some warm flatbread.

From Samarkand: Recipes & Stories From Central Asia and the Caucasus, © 2016 by Caroline Eden and Eleanor Ford. Reproduced by permission of Kyle Books. All rights reserved.