Moorish lamb kebabs on a bed of saffron rice with dried cranberries

Low-fat recipe for a low G.I. diet

This dish always reminds me of summer evenings in the garden, although our great British weather sometimes dictates that these evenings are few and far between. Luckily, these kebabs are just as good cooked on a griddle or under the grill inside. They are delicious served with a quickly made yogurt sauce, chili sauce or some harissa. The basmati rice is a good low G.I. option for a training diet and the dried fruit, nuts and spices not only add vital nutrients but also a taste of the exotic.

Moorish lamb kebabs on a bed of saffron rice with dried cranberries

You can also use brown or white basmati rice for this dish, and if you do not have time to soak the rice, make sure you rinse it well until the water is clear and cook it for a little longer.


For the lamb kebabs:

1. Place the cubes of lamb into a mixing bowl and add the marinade ingredients (you can use normal paprika if you can't get the sweet smoked variety). Leave overnight or as long as you can for the flavors to infuse.

2. Thread the meat onto your kebab sticks. Keep the marinade for basting. Heat the griddle or grill so that it is nice and hot and cook the kebabs for about 10 to 15 minutes, turning and basting with the marinade every few minutes, until nice and brown on the outside and slightly pink on the inside.

For the saffron rice:

1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan and add the cinnamon, cardamom pods, bay leaf and crushed black pepper. Gently sauté over a low heat for a few minutes until the spice aromas start to be released.

2. Add the rice (soaked for 2 to 3 hours, then rinsed and drained) and stir to coat it in the butter.

3. Add the pistachios, cranberries (use raisins or chopped apricots as alternatives) and saffron (soaked in a few tbsp of boiling water and left for 10 minutes to infuse) then pour enough water to cover the rice by about 1cm. Add some salt at this stage. Bring to the boil, cover tightly and simmer very gently for 10 minutes, or until the rice is cooked. If you use brown basmati rice, check the packet instructions, as it will require a longer cooking time.

For the yoghurt sauce:

Crush a clove of garlic into 200g plain yoghurt. Add a pinch of salt, some freshly ground pepper, and some finely chopped fresh mint.


  • 350g lamb fillet or boneless lamb leg, cubed

For the saffron rice:

  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 2.5cm cinnamon stick
  • 3 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 2 black peppercorns, crushed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 125g basmati rice
  • 25g pistachio nuts
  • Handful of dried cranberries
  • Pinch dried saffron (about 0.3g)
  • Salt
  • Freshly chopped coriander and mint to sprinkle on top

For the marinade:

  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • Juice and zest of ½ lemon
  • 1 clove garlic, roughly crushed
  • 1 tsp cumin seed and 1 tsp coriander seed, roughly ground
  • 1/3 tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Vital Statistics

Serves: 2
Preparation: 10 minutes + marinating time — 1 hour or overnight if possible
Cooking: 20 minutes
Difficulty: Relatively easy
Good for: Excellent balanced, healthy low-fat meal, good for training but equally good enough for a late summer supper party

Calories (kcal): 752.2
Protein (g): 36.8
Carbs (g): 36.6
Fat (g): 51.8
Fiber (g): 3.9

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