After a few hours marinading in a lot of cumin, chilli and other bits and bobs, they were slapped onto a fiercely hot barbecue. I was worried that the lamb would be a bit tough, what with shoulder being traditionally a slow-cooking kind of cut, but my fears were unfounded and each mouthful was a juicy and tender spice bomb. Served with smacked cucumber salad to cool the mouth, I found them borderline too salty, though I am quite sensitive to salt and the rest of the diners thought it fine. In any case I've reduced the salt content to what I used (1 tsp of the white stuff), as you can always add but you can't take away.
Xinjiang Lamb Skewers
650gr lamb shoulder
1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
4 fat cloves of garlic
2 inches of ginger
2 tbsp cumin seeds
3 tsp ground cumin
3 tbsp chilli bean paste (you can buy this in Chinatown)
4 spring onions
A pinch of salt
Wooden or metal skewers - metal are better as even with ample soaking, the wooden ones still caught fire
Chop your shoulder up into cubes. Toast the cumin seeds and grind to a powder. Do the same with the Sichuan peppercorns, and add this to the lamb along with the salt and the ginger and garlic, minced. Add the chilli bean paste. Cut the spring onions into 1 inch long sections and add to the lamb. Leave this to marinade for a few hours or overnight.
Thread the lamb onto the skewers, alternating with spring onion. Cook over a hot barbecue for a few minutes each side so that they are charred and cooked through but not burnt. Serve with a cooling salad.