How to Make a Killer Kebab

Killer kebab
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Darina Allen fell in love with Turkish food on her epicurean jaunt through Istanbul for Image Interiors’ May/June issue. Here she shares an authentic recipe she adores, taken from Andy Harris’s book, Eat Istanbul.

Yoğurtlu kebap

This deliciously messy and colourful dish is one of Andy Harris’s favourites, and he can never resist trying it in Turkish kebab houses around the world.
Serves 4-6

* sea salt and freshly ground black pepper For the köfte * 2 garlic cloves, peeled * 50g (2oz) fresh breadcrumbs * 500g (18oz) minced lamb or beef * 1 small onion, peeled and grated * 2 eggs, lightly beaten * ½ tbsp ground cumin * ½ tbsp paprika * 1 tsp ground allspice * 4 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped For the spicy tomato sauce * 3 large tomatoes, about 360g (13oz) each * 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil * 1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped * 4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped * 1 tbsp concentrated tomato purée * ½ tbsp Turkish red pepper paste (biber salçasi) * 1 tsp kirmizi biber flakes For the yoghurt and garlic sauce * 3 garlic cloves, peeled * 400g (14oz) thick yoghurt * 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil To serve * 3 pitta breads, grilled and roughly chopped * extra-virgin olive oil * 2 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped * paprika * lemon wedges Equipment * 6 flat-sided metal skewers

To make the köfte, use a pestle and mortar to pound the garlic cloves and ½ tbsp sea salt to a paste. Transfer to a bowl with the breadcrumbs, minced lamb or beef, onion, eggs, cumin, paprika, allspice and parsley. Season generously with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Knead the mixture with your hands until everything is well combined. Cover with cling film and refrigerate until ready to use.
2 For the spicy tomato sauce, use a box grater to coarsely grate the tomatoes into a bowl. Discard as many bits of tomato skin as possible. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and sauté the onion and garlic for about 5 minutes or until softened. Add the grated tomatoes, tomato purée, red pepper paste and kirmizi biber flakes and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
3 Season generously with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add about 250ml water, lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced and thickened. Transfer the sauce to a bowl and leave it to cool.
4 For the yoghurt and garlic sauce, use a pestle and mortar to pound the garlic cloves and ½ tbsp sea salt to a paste. Transfer to a bowl with the yoghurt and olive oil and combine well. Cover with cling film until ready to use.
5 For the köfte, remove the mixture from the fridge and divide it into 6 equal balls. Hold a skewer upright and press a ball of mixture around and along one end of the skewer in a sausage shape, pressing it tightly and securely. Repeat with the remaining mixture and skewers. Cook the köfte on a hot barbecue or cast-iron griddle pan over medium heat for 4-5 minutes on each side.
6 To serve, divide the pitta pieces between 4-6 plates. Slide the köfte off their skewers and place them on top of the pitta. Drizzle the spicy tomato sauce and yoghurt and garlic sauce over the top. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle the chopped flat-leaf parsley and paprika over everything. Serve with lemon wedges.


Taken from Eat Istanbul by Andy Harris and David Loftus (Quadrille, €29.50)

Now on to dessert… Check out Lilly Higgins’ virtuous vegan chocolate ice cream.


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