Spatula, Spoon and Saturday

Eating and Cooking all the things in Melbourne

Shashlik – A Russian Barbecue

I should probably get this post out before winter is over, shouldn’t I? This was a lovely winter barbecue event rather than a traditional summer one. My dearest Tania invited us over to her place for a Russian-style barbecue (either that or it’s Tania-style barbecue) of shashlik.

Shashlik is basically a good-ol’ meat-on-a-stick food. Let’s face it, you put some meat on a stick, chuck the sticks on some fire equals fantastic results for non-vegos. Primitive? Of course. Delicious? Hells yeah!

Tania and her nice Mum and aunt had themselves cubing two whole legs of lamb and chicken breasts (I imagine more time than I personally would have cared for chopping meat). She then marinated the meat over night. I got there early and helped her thread the meat, onion and red and green capsicums on the shashlik skewers.

Tania’s Lamb Shashlik Marinade

This is the recipe Tania gave me. Yes, without the measurements. Tania wrote “The proportions depend on the amount of meat – just add everything to taste.” I strongly suspect it’s a try-your-own combination type thing.

  1. Lamb leg (or chops) cut into 3cm cubes
  2. Garlic
  3. Salt
  4. Vegetable oil
  5. Soy sauce
  6. Mild curry powder
  7. Chilli powder
  8. Chilli and garlic sauce (no idea what this is, Tania?)

Tania’s Chicken Shashlik Marinade

Tania wrote, “the chicken shashlik can be marinated using the same ingridients as the lamb. But I used garlic, salt, pepper and mayo.”

Simple huh? Of course, you’d also need onion, red and green capsicum. The most important thing to bear in mind is when threading the meat onto the skewer, you must ensure not to leave any bits of meat hanging out of the ‘square’ as those bits would burn.

Meanwhile, the others got the fire started in Tania’s special shashlik barbecue (I’m sure it has a name). This little device is basically a barbecue where you stick any random bits of wood at the end and let it burn down to embers which you then drag across to the rest of the long canal – a perfect size for shashlik skewers. Genius. This is how you should cook meat, over hot char coals and not ridiculously smoky flames. Did you hear that, Rockpool Bar & Grill*?

We were all tasked with bringing side dishes. I was tasked with “Bread. And a salad” and so I did.

(My Japanese potato salad)

I had all the ingredients for a Japanese potato salad which is really a cross between potato salad and mashed potatoes. It was delicious if I, ahem, may say so myself.

(Another potato salad)

Some bloke Lucas brought his ‘family recipe’  potato salad (I think Polish but I could be wrong). It’s strange how pretty much the same ingredients can turn out two totally different salads. His consisted of potatoes, mayonnaise (in much greater quantity, admittedly), pickled gherkins (I had fresh cucumber), carrots, boiled eggs. I had some red onions and he had some peas. But otherwise as we say in Thailand, ‘same same but different’. It was really good. I had a heap of it.

(Purebread Bakery rosemary focaccia)

I also brought bread. From Purebread Bakery, of course. Some Turkish, some rosemary focaccia and their recent invention, roasted garlic sourdough.

(Roasted garlic sourdough)

So roasted garlicky and moreish. Love.

And what’s a barbecue without lots of boiled corn? And lots of butter of course.

And also some mixed bean salad was brought by another lovely person I can’t recall her name. If I didn’t make the potato salad I would have made some rice and bean salad. Great minds think alike and all that.


And my plate. One of the many. I think I ate about 50 skewers. Or something. I lost count.

Prijatnogo appetita!

* Sorry I can’t help it. The story is I went to Rockpool B&G last week and was totally underwhelmed by their food, especially their steak. But no camera = no review.