• Saffron is regarded as king in the spice world and is used generously in Middle Eastern cuisine. Lamb and chicken are often marinated in grated onion with the onion juice – it’s a great tenderiser and has loads of flavour.

    Recipe by Leila Saffarian
    Photography by Dylan Swart

    Saffron and sour cream lamb kebabs

    Serves: 4
    Cooking Time: 20 minutes + 1 hour, to marinate


    • 500g lamb shoulder, cubed
    • 1 onion, grated, reserving the juice
    • 125ml (½ cup) sour cream
    • 100ml fresh cream
    • 45ml (3 tbsp) olive oil + extra, for grilling
    • juice of 1 lemon
    • Maldon Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    • a generous pinch of saffron
    • To serve

    • ripe Rosa tomatoes, halved
    • ready-made tzatziki
    • carrot, shredded
    • fresh spring onions, chopped
    • lemons, grilled and cut into wedges



    Combine the lamb shoulder, onion (and the juice), sour cream, fresh cream, 45ml (3 tbsp) olive oil, lemon juice, Maldon Sea Salt, freshly ground black pepper and saffron in a large bowl.


    Mix well, cover with plastic wrap and set aside for the flavours to infuse, about 1 hour.


    Thread the lamb onto metal skewers and grill in a griddle pan over very high heat until golden and charred, 4 – 5 minutes on each side. Use the remaining marinade to brush the kebabs while grilling.


    Serve with tomatoes, tzatziki, carrot, spring onions and lemons.


    These kebabs are super-tasty on the braai – the smokiness works well with the earthy, aromatic flavour of the saffron.