Moorish Kebabs

… or pinchos morunos, as they’re known in Spain. These are tasty little skewers of meat marinated in a mixture of paprika, cumin, cayenne and thyme and they make a good but not overwhelming starter, or you can use them as part of a tapas-style meal.

I used lamb, but you can try pork or chicken. They take minutes to cook but it does help if you marinate the meat 12-18 hours in advance.

Serve them with blistered padron peppers (or rings of sweet pepper), and a quince allioli, which is a Catalan version of aioli or garlic mayonnaise, made without eggs but with the addition of fruit. If you don’t have quince, try a couple of eating apples like a Cox.

Moorish Kebabs

Image of kebabs with blistered pepper and quince allioli


300g lamb shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1″/2.5 cm cubes

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tspn sweet paprika

1/2 tspn cayenne

1 tspn ground cumin

1 tspn dried thyme


Mix the marinade ingredients, drop in the cubes of meat and toss to coat thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

Thread the meat onto skewers – about four or five pieces per skewer (soak the skewers in advance if they’re wooden).

Heat the grill or barbecue to high and grill, turning often, until they’re well-browned but still juicy.

Quince Allioli

  • Servings: makes about 400 ml
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Image of quince allioli


1 ripe quince

3-4 cloves of garlic, peeled

1/2 tspn salt

80-120 ml mild olive oil


Ingredients for quince allioli

Peel and core the quince and cut into small chunks. Place in a saucepan, barely covered with water, put on a lid and cook for around five minutes or until the quince is soft but not mushy. Drain and allow to cool. Make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature before you start making the allioli.

Put the peeled garlic into a pestle with the salt and crush until you have a smooth paste. Add the cooked quince and work it in with the pestle until it’s smooth again.

Add the oil a drip at a time to begin with, mixing it in thoroughly. Continue adding oil until an emulsion forms. You may not need all of the oil: if you use too much, it can split.

Blistered Padron Peppers

Proper padron peppers are green and eating them is like playing Russian roulette – they’re usually mild in flavour but every now and then you’ll get one that’s fiery hot. I used a mild, fat red chilli but you can just as easily cut sweet peppers into rings and flash them in a frying pan.

Image of peppers charring in pan


1 or 2 padron peppers per person or 3 rings each of sweet pepper

Oil and salt


Heat a tablespoon of oil in a heavy frying pan until it’s smoking and cook the peppers, turning to make sure they’re evenly done, until they’re blistered and/or just charring on the edges. Sprinkle with salt and serve. 

3 thoughts on “Moorish Kebabs

  1. Very nice. We were in France a couple of weeks ago and we cooked a kilo of Padron peppers. There were none hot. It became like a game of Russian Roulette as we got further and further through the mound. But, no bullet.

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