Spicy lamb skewers from Beijing's street vendors are a fiery delight, bursting with flavor and irresistible crispiness.

Yangrou Chuan (Beijing Lamb Skewers) at Their Best

Recipe by Annie TibberCourse: Boki’s Cooking: The cooking recipes for Boki dishes


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Beijing’s spicy lamb skewers are a sizzling delight, combining fiery flavors, crispy textures, and succulent meat.


  • 1 pound (450g) lamb shoulder chops

  • 2 teaspoons of cumin seeds

  • 1 tablespoon of crushed dried chili peppers

  • Salt (to taste)

  • 1 tablespoon of oil

  • Bamboo skewers (soaked in water for at least an hour to prevent burning on the grill)


  • Take the lamb chops and remove the meat from the bone, cutting it into small chunks. Leave the fat on the lamb, as it adds flavor. Place the lamb into the mixing bowl.
  • In a mortar and pestle (or spice grinder), combine the cumin seeds, chili flakes, and salt. Crush them together, creating a coarse mixture with cracked chili flakes and cumin seeds. You don’t want a fine powder. Add half of the spice mixture to the lamb, along with the oil, and mix well.
  • String the lamb onto the bamboo skewers that have been soaked in water. Preheat your grill until it reaches high heat. Grill the skewers until they develop a nice char on the outside.
    Transfer the grilled lamb skewers to a plate and sprinkle them with the remaining spice mixture. Serve and enjoy!

During our initial visit to Beijing when I was just five years old, my vivid recollections mainly revolve around one particular experience: standing in front of a humble street-side grill joint, eagerly awaiting the arrival of the delectable yangrou chuan, or grilled lamb skewers.

In those days, Beijing possessed a different ambiance, characterized by a greater prevalence of traditional elements and a scarcity of modern developments. My memories do not encompass gleaming malls or towering skyscrapers; instead, they are filled with the aromatic smoke and enticing fragrance emanating from that impromptu street barbecue.

Yangrou chuan, renowned lamb skewers, hold a special place in the hearts of Beijing residents and are cherished by countless lamb enthusiasts hailing from Northern China.

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