Marinated kidney kebabs

Sometimes we felt we had eaten a few too many kebabs, but in a simple cafe we had some particularly good kidney kebabs flavoured with sumac - the lemony flavoured red ‘spice’ made from the fruit of a variety of rhus plant. You can buy sumac in all Iranian and most Middle Eastern grocers.


  • 12 lamb’s kidneys
  • 2 tablespoons wine vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons whole milk yogurt
  • 2 rounded teaspoons sumac
  • 2 rounded teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 level teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 level teaspoons cayenne pepper or chilli powder
  • sea salt


Cut the kidneys across into 4 equal pieces. Put into a bowl, just cover with water and stir in the wine vinegar. Leave for about an hour, then drain.

Put the yogurt into a bowl and stir in the sumac and spices. Add the kidney pieces and leave for another hour or so at cool room temperature.

Now thread the yogurt-smeared kidneys onto long, thin skewers and place in a shallow roasting pan. Spoon the remaining yogurt and spice marinade over them. Heat the grill to its highest setting.

Grill the kebabs as closely as possible to the heat for only 2-3 minutes on each side - just until slightly charred in patches and still pink in the middle.

Before serving, season the kidneys with a little sea salt and scrape all the juices in the pan on top of them - or mop them up with bread - delicious!