Poppy and Coconut Beef Kebabs with roasted chilli salsa

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“These kebabs are lovely to cook on the barbecue, but are just as good made on a chargrill pan if the weather isn’t ideal,” explains chef Ainsley Harriott.

“The toasted coconut adds a nutty sweetness to this spicy dish.”

Serves 4


  • 1kg beef sirloin, cut into 2.5cm dice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon dried red chilli flakes
  • 3 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 3 tablespoons white sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 4 tablespoons desiccated coconut

For the roasted chilli salsa:

  • 3 long green chillies, tops trimmed
  • 6–8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus an extra drizzle for oiling the chillies
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • A large handful of flat-leaf parsley
  • A handful of mint
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Preheat a barbecue (if using).

2. Place the diced beef in a large bowl. In a separate small bowl, mix together the olive oil, garlic and ginger and pour over the beef. Mix with your hands to ensure the beef is well coated. Cover the bowl with cling film and marinate in the fridge for one hour.

3. Next, make the salsa. Unless using a barbecue, preheat the grill to its highest setting. Place the green chillies on a small baking tray and lightly drizzle with oil. Place the tray under the hot grill for five to 10 minutes, until the chillies are charred and blistered – they should be nice and soft. Alternatively, this can be done directly on the barbecue.

4. Put the garlic, parsley, mint, lemon juice and charred chillies into a food processor and pulse for four to five seconds. Add the oil and pulse again, until the mixture is well combined but still quite coarse. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

5. Heat a small dry frying pan over a low heat, add the chilli flakes, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, cumin seeds and desiccated coconut and lightly toast. As soon as the coconut turns golden, remove from the heat and tip into a pestle and mortar. Grind to a coarse texture.

6. Remove the marinated beef from the fridge, add the spice mixture and massage the spices into the beef. Thread the pieces of beef onto skewers.

7. Place the beef skewers on the barbecue (or on a pre-heated chargrill pan) and grill, turning frequently, for about six minutes, depending on how you like your beef cooked. Once cooked, remove from the heat and let rest for five minutes before serving.

8. To serve, place the beef kebabs on a board and spoon over the salsa.

Ainsley’s Caribbean Kitchen by Ainsley Harriott, photography by Dan Jones, is published by Ebury Press. Available now.

Have you got the barbecue out for summer yet? Are you a fan of spicy food? What’s your favourite summer dish?

– With PA

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