Spicy Pork Skewers (Pinchos Morunos)

2 Jun

These tasty grilled morsels, Pinchos Morunos or Moorish sticks can be served as a tapas, as they are in Spain, or skewered with vegetables to take centre stage. The meat is first marinaded in a mix of pounded spices and herbs that owe their influence to the Moors of North Africa, who settled in Andalusia. I like the meat heavily spiced so I have a heavy handed approach to the marinade, just use less spice on the meat if you want a more restrained version or try one of the many variations I’ve given here. Pinchos Morunos is a popular tapas and there are probably as many recipes for the marinade as there are tapas bars. This is my favourite version along with a few others I like.

Image: Spiced pork threaded on skewers with vegetables ready to cook.

Serves 4 as a main or 8 as a tapas

  • 500g Pork fillet
  • 1-2 tsp sweet smoked Spanish paprika
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1-2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1-2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1-2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1-2 dried cayenne chilli, seeds removed
  • 3 all spice berries
  • 1/4 tsp each sea salt and black pepper corns
  • 2 tbsp olive oil


  • Onions and peppers, tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp green herbs coriander or parsley leaves, finely chopped

Cut the meat into fairly small flat pieces and put into a bowl with the paprika, green herbs, if using, and oil. Grind the remaining dry spices and bay leaves and add those to the bowl. Stir well to make sure all the pieces are well coated then cover and leave to marinade overnight. Thread the morsels onto bamboo or metal skewers, making sure the meat is well spaced, so that it will cook quickly and evenly, between onions and peppers. For the best flavour these skewers should be cook over hot coals, a woodfire or on a barbecue. They can also be cooked on a plancha or under a hot grill.

The basic marinade ingredients for Pinchos Morunos are Spanish paprika, garlic, pepper to which can be added any combination of the following; onion, bay leaves, cayenne, cumin, turmeric, coriander (seed or leaf), fennel, parsley fresh, saffron, all spice berries, oregano, thyme, lemon zest, lemon juice.

The variations below are for a marinade for about 500g of pork.

source Spanish Fiestas
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp paprika
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Traditional Spanish
source Cuisine From Spain
1 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 tsp hot paprika
1/2 tsp black pepper
1-2 cloves garlic
1 tsp dried thyme
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp olive oil

Simple Spanish
Source I’ve seen several references to simply marinading the meat in paprika you could go simpler still.
1-2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp black pepper
Salt to taste
2 tbsp olive oil

Source This is the recipe given in Moro The Cookbook, this was my original starting point when I first made Pinchos Morunos.
1/2 tsp coriander seed
1/2 tsp cumin seed
1/2 tsp fennel seed
1 tsp sweet smoked Spanish paprika
2 cloves garlic
pinch saffron (dissolved in 2 tbsp hot water)
1/2 small bunch fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried
1 bay leaf, chopped
1 dessert spoon red wine vinegar
1 dessertspoon olive oil

Garlic, Lemon & Thyme
Source I made this one up because I like the combination of lemon & thyme and I think it works with pork or chicken
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp sweet smoked Spanish paprika
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
1 tsp dried rubbed thyme
grated lemon peel
juice of half a lemon
2 tbsp olive oil

Hot Pepper
Source This is our household staple, we use it on roast potatoes, chicken almost anything really
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1-2 tsp sweet smoked Spanish paprika
1/2 tsp hot Spanish paprika
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp olive oil



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: