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Ghanaian Peanut and Spice Lamb Skewers (Yaazzi)

Serves 6

Active Time
2 hrs

Total (including marinating) Time
6 hrs

Total Time
8 hrs

If you haven't tried Ghanaian food, the peanuts and warm spices in this dish taste familiar, yet come together in a way that's surprising. The recipe is from Robert Edwards, who was born in Ghana and is a backyard griller in Oakland--as well as a line cook at Oakland's Duende restaurant. In Ghana, yaazzi is the name for both the grilled skewers (traditionally lamb or goat) and the peanut and spice rub that's sprinkled on top. It's a specialty of Edwards's mother's Sisaala ethnic group. The skewers are also excellent with beef, and with almonds instead of peanuts. You'll need 12-in. metal or wooden skewers. To drink, Edwards serves beer or sparkling wine.

This recipe goes with: Spiced Yogurt Sauce

su- Ghanaian Peanut Spice Lamb Skewers Yaazzi

 1 medium onion, chopped
 1 piece fresh ginger (1 by 1 1/2 in.), peeled and chopped
 6 tablespoons peanut oil or olive oil
 1 tablespoon kosher salt
 1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
 2 pounds boneless lamb shoulder or beef rib-eye (2 1/2 lbs. if it has a lot of fat), fat and silverskin trimmed, meat cut into 1-in. cubes
 1 cup powdered peanut butter (or use almond meal and toast it)*
 2 tablespoons paprika
 2 tablespoons ground ginger
 1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
 2 teaspoons kosher salt
 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  Spiced Yogurt Sauce
  Smoked paprika
  Fresh herb sprigs such as lemon thyme or Mexican oregano
Step 1

Make seasoning: In a blender, whirl onion, ginger, and oil until smooth. Add salt and pepper. Pour mixture into a resealable plastic bag and add meat. Seal bag, turn to coat meat, and chill at least 4 hours or overnight.

Step 2

Make dry rub: Whisk all ingredients in a bowl and set aside. (Save 1 tsp. for Spiced Yogurt Sauce.)

Step 3

About 1 hour before cooking, let meat come to room temperature. Soak 8 (12 in.) bamboo skewers in water at least 30 minutes, or use metal skewers. Thread about 6 chunks of meat (with seasoning paste) onto each skewer.

Step 4

For charcoal, ignite a full chimney of half mesquite lump charcoal and half mesquite charcoal briquets on firegrate of a charcoal grill. When lit, 20 to 25 minutes, arrange coals in an even layer and set cooking grate in place (fire should be 400° to 450°). For gas, heat a grill to medium (400°).

Step 5

Oil cooking grate, using a wad of oiled paper towels and tongs. Grill meat, covered and turning once, until medium-rare, 6 to 8 minutes total. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle meat heavily on all sides with dry rub (you may have some left over). Let meat rest 2 to 3 minutes.

Step 6

Set skewers on a platter and drizzle with some yogurt sauce. Scatter with smoked paprika and herb sprigs. Serve more sauce on the side.


*In Ghana, cooks pound and then sift peanuts. Here, powdered peanut butter such as PB2 is widely available at well-stocked grocery stores. Find almond meal in the baking aisle; toast in a 350° oven until light golden, 12 minutes.

Nutrition Facts

Servings 0

Amount Per Serving
Calories 552Calories from Fat 71
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 44g68%

Saturated Fat 15g75%
Cholesterol 107mg36%
Sodium 1571mg66%
Total Carbohydrate 9.3g4%

Dietary Fiber 3.3g14%
Protein 31g62%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.