Kebab Karaz – Syrian Kebabs with Sour Cherries

Fragrant & mysterious Aleppo style kebabs with a sweet and sour cherry sauce, garnished with toasted pine nuts and mint leaves.

Last week I was looking at some recipes from my previous blog page and found this stew. Remembering how fragrant and tasty it was, I decided to repost the recipe. Old but not forgotten…

I’ve never been to Syria, but when cooking a country’s food, it’s worth exploring the origin…

Aleppo is located on the Silk route, and was beneficiary of a huge amount of cultural and culinary exchanges. Therefore the cooking of Aleppo is significantly different from that of Damascus and the rest of Syria. Aleppian food is more exotic and richly flavoured, it contains more spices and uses lots of fruits.


Cherry kebab or kebab karaz is Aleppo’s most famous dish that symbolises everything that is truly unique about the kitchen of the ancient city. Aleppo is the kebab capital of the world. The dish is rich an strongly seasoned, it’s sweet and sour and uses the glorious and blushing cherry fruit.

In Syria they use a special kind of sour cherries for the dish. Back here they’re a nightmare to find, so I used regular sweet cherries instead. To create typical the sweet and sour taste, this recipe uses a balanced amount of pomegranate molasses and lemon juice.

Despite Aleppo’s reputation for spicy and bold flavours, Kebab Karaz is actually a deceptively simple dish. It uses just a few spices, and showcases the dark and tart cherries.

This Aleppo kebab combines an intense dark purple cherry sauce with deeply flavoured kebabs, garnished with toasted pine nuts and refreshing mint!

Traditionally the dish is served with flatbread, so grab some kebab and pop it into your mouth. It’s finger food in a bowl!

Give this amazing kebab karaz a try and be amazed by the authentic flavours of Aleppo!

Have a cherry on top of your kebabs…

Like this Persian stew? Also try these recipes:

Mexican Seitan Meatballs – Black Bean Stew + Vegan Sour Cream

Indian Style Radish – Coconut Stew

Seitan Shawarma Sandwiches with Lime – Mint – Yogurt Sauce

Harissa – Rose Tofu

Sticky Korean BBQ Seitan Ribz

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Kebab Karaz – Syrian Kebabs with Sour Cherries




For the kebabs:


1 cup vital wheat gluten

⅓ cup ground walnuts

⅓ cup cooked (whole wheat) couscous

1 tsp all spice

½ tsp cinnamon

⅛ tsp black pepper

½ tsp salt


½ cup veggie stock

1 tbsp tamari

1 tbsp olive oil

100 grams tofu, diced

1 shallot, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

For the kebab karaz:

Oil, for frying

1 onion, chopped

500 grams fresh cherries, pits removed & halved

1 ½ cups water

¼ cup pomegranate molasses

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tsp cinnamon

Pepper & salt, to taste


Toasted pine nuts

Chopped mint leaves



For the kebabs:

Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Prepare the couscous according package instructions, set aside to cool down.

Combine vital wheat gluten, ground walnuts, corn starch and spices in a bowl.

Blend the wet ingredients until smooth. Add the wet ingredients and ⅓ cup couscous, quickly knead into a dough. Set aside for 10 minutes

Roll into balls the size of a walnut. Place on the prepared baking tray, cover with aluminium foil.

Bake for 20 minutes, turning the balls halfway.

For the kebab karaz:

Heat some oil in a heavy bottomed pot. Sauté the onion until translucent. Add the water, pomegranate molasses, cinnamon, lemon juice and cherries. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer on low for ten minutes. Add the kebabs and simmer for another ten minutes. Taste and adjust to personal preferences if needed. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

If you like a thicker sauce, add some corn starch mixed with water and cook for one minute.

Garnish with toasted pine nuts and chopped mint leaves. Serve with Arabic flatbread and a salad on the side. Enjoy!

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