Monday, April 6, 2015

Ground Chicken Lule Kebab

Tired of eating leftover Easter eggs, lamb and ham? I turn your attention to … Ground Chicken Lule Kebab!

A reader, who wishes to remain anonymous, wrote to The Armenian Kitchen with a specific request:
“When I traveled to Gyumri, Armenia, I had ground chicken kebobs, kind of like lule kebobs but with chicken instead of beef or lamb.  I have looked around but haven't found any recipes for ground chicken kebobs.  Do you have one you could share?”

My response:
The Armenian Kitchen's version of Father Vartan's lule kebab
I sent the reader Father Vartan Joulfayan’s recipe with the following suggestions:
Lule kebab can be made with any type of ground meat or poultry. Just know that ground chicken or turkey will need some type of fat in the recipe to keep it from becoming too dry - such as adding an egg or 2 (depending on how much ground meat you'll be using) – or - by adding a little oil (a few Tbsp. of olive or vegetable oil) to the meat mixture to prevent drying out.
The ground meat mixture can be shaped onto a shish and grilled or baked in an oven.
I was pleased to have received an update with photos from the reader’s experiment.
Baked, then grilled chicken lule kebab
The reader's update:
“I made the kebobs using ground turkey.  I only made a half batch but used a whole egg, so I figured that would give the extra moisture needed.  I also just used tomato sauce and no tomato paste.  The mixture was very wet so I had to add a lot more bread crumbs to soak it up.  I let it sit in the refrigerator a while to try and soak up more of the moisture. 

Even with nearly doubling the bread crumbs it was still too wet to make into a kebob, so I formed them into the kebob shape on a baking sheet and smushed the wooden kebob into them, then baked them until they firmed up enough to transfer them to the grill.  

They were quite good!  It wasn't the same as what I had in Gyumri, but it's been so long now, I think I need to go back and have them again! 

Upon hearing the difficulty the reader encountered, I offered another chicken lule kebab recipe that a FB buddy of mine posted on her page, Salpy’s International Kitchen. The reader is excited to try this next recipe, hoping it will emulate the lule kebab from Gyumri.
Salpy's Chicken Lule Kebab
Chicken Lule Kebab
(Original recipe by Salpy's International Kitchen)

3 Lbs. Ground Chicken Leg meat
1 Brown Onion, chopped
3 Cloves fresh Garlic, minced
1 Bunch flat leaf Italian Parsley, cleaned and chopped
1/2 Bunch Fresh Cilantro leaves
1 Tsp Aleppo Pepper
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 Cup Panko bread crumbs

In a bowl of the food processor, mix together the onions, parsley, panko, garlic, cilantro, Aleppo pepper, salt and pepper, process until finely minced; mix the onion mixture with the ground chicken thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour to marinate. Form into cylinders on metal skewers and grill to perfection. Serve with Pita Bread and Onion Salad


  1. I think the problem with Father Joulfayan's recipe is the use of tomato sauce. Maybe that works with ground lamb or beef meat, which is fattier and would stick together more, but definitely not with ground chicken, even with the addition of oil. I suspect that if you used his recipe, substituting maybe 2 additional tablespoons of tomato paste for the tomato sauce and adding some vegetable oil, it would come out fine (maybe also cut out the lemon juice or replace it with sour salt).

    1. Your sensible recipe suggestions have been noted; thanks, Ara. I've made Father Vartan's lule kebab recipe using ground turkey (93%-7% ratio), and that's worked out well. Sometimes making certain recipes require a bit of trial-and-error.

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