icon Kazakh Shashlik
from the Kyz-Zhibek Restaurant
in Kyzylorda.

Shashlik is a common dish in Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kirgystan, Georgia). It consists of meat cubes skewered with some vegetables cooked over an open fire or a bed of coals. Do not confuse shashlik with shash kebabs. Kebabs are also cooked on skewers but consist of small meatballs of ground meat mixed with herbs.

Shashlik originated in Asia and travelled along the Silk Road. It was the way the caravan traders cooked their food. Shashlik was established as a major food type during the Mongol occupation of eastern Europe & Russia and is today is the single most enjoyed food of the summer months in the former Soviet Union. When I worked for Petrokazakhstan in Kyzylorda, we enjoyed it daily at the Kyz-Zhibek restaurant, along with a few cold Shymkentskoye Pilseners.

Kazakh shashlik can be made with lamb, pork, chicken or fish.


  • 3 lb boneless lamb
  • 2 oniond, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 2 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups unsweetened pomegranate juice
  • 4 tbsp corn or olive oil
  • 2 tsp Cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 tbdp ground Nutmeg


  1. Trim away all fat from meat & cut into 2-inch cubes. Place in small bowl together with the onion, garlic, shallot, parsley, cayenne pepper, nutmeg and pomegranate juice. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Remove meat from marinade and pat dry. Skewer meat, using 4 substantial skewers. Brush with oil. Broil over very high-heat, turning often until done. Rare = 7 mins. Medium-Rare = 9 mins. Medium Rare= 12 mins. Well-Done = 20 mins.
  3. Arrange skewers on a large platter, garnish with onions and serve. Serve with kasha, rice or plov (a type of pilaf).
  4. Variations: Include on skewers 2 green peppers cut into 12 chunks, 4 tomatoes cut into quarters, 4 small, white onions, peeled & cut in halves.

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Last updated: October 12, 2010