• Yield: Serves 4

Wander through the medina of Tripoli and you will soon smell the sizzle of beef kebabs wafting through the air as little hole-in-the-wall stalls grill up a storm throughout the day. To get the meat super succulent you need to have a high fat content—I suggest at least 20 percent fat. These kebabs are simple to make and cook fast on a barbecue. Rather than serve them in a wrap, I like to make these a little different, plating them up on a slick of hummus—either buy your favorite or make a batch—and then top the meat with a really zesty mix of red onion, sumac, and parsley.


For the kebabs

  • 1 pound ground beef with 20 percent fat

  • 1/2 onion, grated

  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice

  • a small handful of finely chopped parsley leaves

  • 1/2 teaspoon Lebanese 7 spice or baharat

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper flakes

  • 3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed

  • sea salt

For the onions

  • 1 red onion, finely sliced

  • juice of 1 lemon

  • 1 teaspoon sumac

  • a small handful of finely chopped parsley leaves

To serve

  • 10 1/2 ounces hummus

  • flatbreads

Saffron in the Souks book cover Saffron in the Souks by John Gregory-Smith


1. Begin with the onions. Put the red onion slices in a bowl and add the lemon juice and a good pinch of salt. Mix well and leave to macerate for 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, preheat the broiler or barbecue to high. Put all the ingredients for the kebabs into a large mixing bowl with a good pinch of salt and mix well. Thread the meat onto flat skewers (these prevent the meat from turning when you flip them over on the barbecue) so you have a sausage shape. You should be able to make 8 kebabs. Cook for 3–4 minutes on each side until charred and juicy.

3. Add the sumac and parsley to the macerated onions and mix well.

4. To serve, spread the hummus onto a serving dish. Lay the kebabs on top and pile on the onions. Serve immediately with flatbreads.

Recipe Excerpted from Saffron in the Souks by John Gregory-Smith © 2019 Kyle Books, and photographs © Nassima Rothacker and Alan Keohane. No images may be used, in print or electronically, without written consent from the publisher.