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In Andalucía there are many culinary legacies of the times when Moorish princes lived in the palaces of Granada and Seville. Just the names of some ingredients show their Arabic origins – berenjena, zanahoria, albahaca, and azafran for example, which translate as aubergine, carrot, basil, and saffron.

These kebabs are part of this legacy with their seasoning of spices and the drizzle of the bitter sweet sugar cane syrup at the end. When I was first served these as a tapa, the cubes of meat were alternated with dates for an even sweeter taste. The spices are dominated by the flavour of the allspice and cloves which complement so well the pork. I know you are wondering what pork is doing in a dish with arab origins, but that is Andalucía for you. I had a student on my recent tapas cookery class who didn’t eat pork, so I used some nicely gamey free range turkey, which was very good too.



For 4 as a main course, for tapas halve all the amounts

700 gms lean pork cut into cubes

10 ml allspice berries or Pimienta de Jamaica

5 ml whole cloves

5 ml Cumin seeds

5 ml coriander seeds

5 ml ground cinnamon

2.5 ml chilli powder or the equivalent in fresh red chilli

2.5 ml pimenton or paprika

2.5 ml Salt

2-4 cloves of garlic

15 ml olive oil

Sugar cane syrup to serve

In a heavy based frying pan put the allspice berries, cloves, cumin seeds and coriander seeds and heat over a low heat. Shake the pan from time to time until the spices are warm and exuding their fragrances.

Put in a mortar together with the salt and grind down to a powder.

Peel and roughly chop the garlic and add to the spices together with the chilli and pimento. Grind to a paste adding the olive oil.

In a bowl mix the marinade with the pork cubes to coat the cubes on all sides. Cover and leave in the fridge for the spices to penetrate for at least an hour.

Thread the pork cubes onto skewers and cook either on a griddle, or grill on the cooker or barbeque.

To serve drizzle with sugar cane syrup.

I have also used this same marinade very successfully to season a joint of pork prior to roasting it.