Perfect Turkish lamb kebabs
May not be 100% authentic, apologies to my Turkish friends if not
I'm not Turkish and neither is the person who gave me this recipe for Turkish adana kebabs but it tastes great and he told me that it is reasonably faithful to the original.
- --- for the kebabs ---
- 500g lamb mince (20% fat)
- 2 tbsp parsley stalks, chopped
- 1 tbsp pil biber*
- 1 tbsp biber salḉasi*
- 6 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground fenugreek
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- --- to serve ---
- 6 flat breads or pitta breads
- red onion, chopped
- lettuce, shredded
- yoghurt (or tsatsiki)
- chilli sauce
- Add all the kebab ingredients into a large mixing bowl
- Knead the mixture together for at least 5 minutes, squeezing through your fingers repeatedly (see explanation in article below).
- Once mixture fully incorporated, divide into three parts, and then divide those into 2 equal parts.
- Take each ball of meat and roll into a sausage shape between your hands, stretching it out gradually without breaking binds of the mixture.
- Slide a skewer through the meat. Squash the kebab down so it's flattened on top and bottom
- Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or ideally overnight.
- Fire up your barbecue or grill to a medium/high heat
- Cook the kebabs for 6-8 minutes, turning once
- Serve with toasted pitta or flat bread with lettuce, onion, yoghurt and chilli sauce on the side to be added to taste
* if you don't live near a Turkish supermarket, you can get these ingredients on amazon.
Get all the kebab ingredients in a big bowl ready for mixing:
Get ready for a lot of mixing and kneading - up to 10 minutes. Keeping going, squeezing it through your fingers repeatedly.
The objective here is not simply to incorporate and mix the ingredients. Much more importantly is what happens to the meat, specifically to the fats (as they're heated by your hands) and the proteins (as the salt does its magic on loosening them).
After a good 10 minutes of kneading the mixture will be noticeably different than when you started mixing: it will have a thin fatty film throughout (your hands will take a bit of scrubbing to clean) and the meat mixture will be springier and string out if you pull two pieces apart. This will make the end result much juicier and also will hold the kebab together firmly on the skewer.
Having skewered the kebab you then squash it down slightly so it's flatter on top and bottom to make it easier to grill.
Refrigerate for half an hour, or overnight if you have the time.
Cooking (<10 mins)
This is pretty easy. Put the kebabs on barbecue grill for 6 to 8 minutes till cooked through, if using a meat thermometer cook until internal temperature is >75ºC (>170ºF).
I served mine in lightly toasted pitta breads, with shredded lettuce, red onion, tsatsiki and chili sauce.
Nice and easy to cook when hosting guests, and a bit more interesting than serving the usual barbecue fare of burgers and sausages.