All across Northern Africa you will find Preserved Lemon being used in a variety of dishes. It is simple to make with just lemons, lemon juice and plenty of salt. I have been making it at home for a number of years. You can use it in tagine dishes, salads, marinades and a whole variety of other uses.

Often the flesh is removed and only the skins are used although you can use everything as in this recipe.

Lamb is an ideal companion and similar to the mutton or goat that would often be used in African or Mediterranean dishes although often easier to find in western countries.

I marinate the dish for about one to two hours, you can leave it overnight but remember the acids in the lemon juice will start to ‘cook’ the lamb, this process also helps to tenderise the meat. I used Scotch Lamb Leg Steaks for this recipe but any cut of lamb that is suitable for grilling will be fine.

For a non-barbecue version of this meal simply cook under a grill.

Lamb with preserved lemon served with salad and African flatbread

Lamb Kebabs with Preserved Lemon

Preserved lemon is a staple of North African cooking and is easily made at home. Whether you make them or buy them they are ideal for this recipe.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Refrigerate 2 hours
Course Main Course, Meat
Cuisine North African
Servings 4 people


  • 700 g lamb
  • 1/2 large onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 onion cut into wedges
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 inch chunk of ginger grated
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp saffron crumbled
  • 1 handful parsley
  • 1 handful fresh coriander
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 preserved lemon pips removed


  • Remove the flesh from the preserved lemons and roughly chop it then finely chop the rind. Mix the lemon with the meat and the rest of the ingredients. Mix well and leave in the fridge to marinate, preferably overnight.
  • Once the lamb has marinated, if you are using good quality lamb such as fillet then remove the meat and onion wedges from the marinade and thread onto pre-soaked skewers. Place on the barbecue at a low heat and cook slowly, turning the kebabs regularly. Boil the marinade mixture until it is starting to thicken and use this mixture to baste the kebabs. Baste regularly at least each time they are turned.
  • If you are using lamb that needs more cooking such as neck then remove some of the onions and set aside, place the remainder in a pot or a casserole and cook at a medium heat for about two hours, checking the moisture regularly. Allow to cool and remove the meat from the marinade. The kebabs can be prepared in advance up to this point. Thread onto pre-soaked skewers, alternating with the reserved onions. As above cook slowly on the barbecue basting regularly with the marinade mixture.
  • The resulting kebabs will be moist, succulent and very tasty, serve hot with some of the sauce as a dip.
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Keyword garlic, ginger, lamb, onions, preserved Lemons, saffron