Shashlik is a very popular dish in Russia and Central Asia and around the world. It is not actually Russian in origin but is enjoyed all over Russia and is often referred to as the Russian Shashlik. In late spring or summer, you’ll see many people in parks across the country making shashlik: chunks of marinated meat skewered over flaming coals on a skewer. Although shashlik originated in the Caucasus, it is now a big part of Russian culture.
Shashlik is usually made with lamb, pork or chicken, cut into large chunks and marinated for a few hours. The most common marinades are kefir, soy sauce or lemon juice, mixed with herbs, spices and sometimes vegetables such as onions, garlic or tomatoes. In addition, Russians like to eat potatoes baked in foil in the coals or grilled vegetables.
Usually there is also a dip of your choice, for example ketchup or adzhika, a pungent sauce from the Caucasus. Yummy!
In a large bowl, combine the lamb, sliced onions, bay leaves, salt, oil and water. Mix them together with your hands and put them in the fridge overnight to marinate. If you’re in a hurry, put it in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
Thread the meat pieces onto metal skewers, about 6 per skewer, with the fat toward the outside of the skewer.
Prepare the BBQ. Place charcoal in the BBQ, light and let burn for about 30 minutes, or until charcoal is completely white. Your BBQ is ready.
Place the skewers on the barbecue and cook until the meat is tender. The time is determined by the heat and height of the charcoal. Don’t burn your meat! Keep turning the shashlik while it cooks so it doesn’t burn. For a spicy kick, I like to put hot paprika directly on the skewers.