Berbere Spiced Leg of Lamb with Mint Yogurt and Pickled Cucumbers Recipe

By Marcus Samuelsson |

One of my favorite things about being on my tour for “Yes, Chef” is seeing and tasting how different chefs around the country interpret my book. Whether it’s tweaking a spice or turning the composition completely upside down, it’s always fun to digest a new vision.

The dish below comes from Chef Sang Yoon, whose very popular restaurants Father’s Officeand Lukshon in LA are hot spots in their own right.

In fact, I’ll be in LA tonight to taste this very creation and Chef Yoon and I will be demo’ing this dish in a Google Hangout this afternoon at 8pm ET. Hope you can join us and follow along.

Prep Details

Servings: 20 skewers

Prep time: 1 hour plus marinate overnight

Cooking time: 6-9 minutes to grill, depending on how big the cubes of lamb are cut


For the Lamb

1 boneless leg of lamb, (around 8 pounds)

4 tablespoons smoked paprika

4 tablespoons garlic,chopped

2 tablespoons dried marjoram

2 tablespoons fresh rosemary

4 tablespoons berbere spice

1 tablespoons cumin,ground

2 cups olive oil

Salt and black pepper to taste

For the Mint Yogurt Sauce

1 hothouse cucumber,deseeded

1/4 cup shallots

1/2 cup lemon juice

32 oz (2 large containers) goat milk yogurt (available at Trader Joes)

1 bunch mint,cleaned

1 bunch cilantro,cleaned

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup olive oil

Salt and white pepper to taste


Berbere spiced leg of lamb with mint yogurt and pickled cucumbers

For the Lamb
(Pair with Mint Yogurt sauce, pickled cucumbers and cilantro for garnish)
1. Clean the leg of lamb, remove the silver skin and sinew. Cut the lamb into 1/2 inch cubes.
2. Mix only the first 8 ingredients together
3. Cover lamb in marinade, refrigerating overnight for best results.
4. Preheat a grill on medium settings (too hot will burn the marinade, watch out!)
5. Skewer the lamb for best results, season with salt and black pepper, and grill to a medium rare. Once done, allow the lamb to rest for 5 minutes while you prepare the plate.
6. Place about 1/3 cup of the yogurt sauce on each plate, top with a skewer of the grilled lamb leg. Garnish with the pickled cucumber and cilantro.

For the Mint Yogurt Sauce
1. In a blender, puree the cucumber, shallot and lemon juice until smooth
2. Add the yogurt and herbs to the blender, spin until smooth.
3. Season with the honey, olive oil, salt and white pepper