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Turkish Shish Kabob (Şiş Kebap – Antep)

Before visiting Turkey for the first time, Anthony Bourdain said he always thought of Turkish food as little more than “meat on a stick.” He later learned that the country’s cuisine is much more nuanced; however, he had a reason for his initial thoughts. 

Kebap – otherwise known as kabob here in the U.S. – is the most common dish you’ll find in States-side Turkish restaurants and truly is enjoyed often in Turkey as well. Shish kabob, aka şiş kebap (şiş means skewer) is typically lamb shoulder, sirloin or leg, cut into small pieces and layered onto a skewer. 

Even though we usually see “kabobs” at our grocery stores mixed with vegetables, we recommend you grill your vegetables separately. Most Turkish kebab will come with roasted tomatoes cooked on their own skewers and whole hot peppers placed directly on the grill.

If you have a halal butcher near you, I’d recommend you go there and tell them what you’re making. They’ll cut it for you so all you have to is come home and marinate it. If you can’t get your hands on lamb, you can also use steak instead. 

This preparation method is my husband’s recipe, who is from Eastern Turkey in the city of Gaziantep.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 lbs lamb or steak
  • 1 tsp red pepper paste (or tomato paste + ½ tsp crushed red pepper)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp yogurt
  • ~3 cloves garlic
  • ~2 tbsp olive oil

Optional: Separately grill quartered tomato slices and whole anaheim or poblano peppers.

Cut your meat into square pieces about ½ inch thick and 1 inch wide/tall (if you haven’t bought your meat already cut by a butcher). Place into a medium-large bowl and add in the spices, garlic (smashed and chopped), pepper paste, olive oil and yogurt and mix thoroughly with your hands. Let the meat marinate for at least 30 minutes.

If you have metal skewers that is great! If not, the small wooden ones from the grocery store will do. Pull your meat through so the meat is flat on the skewer (see image below). Your hands are going to get dirty folks – if this bothers you then use gloves. Otherwise just wash your hands before and after.

Grill for approximately 5 minutes, turning halfway through. Serve with salad, rice or bulgar, pita or other flatbread, along with any grilled vegetables.

Turkish Shish Kabob (Şiş Kebap - Antep)

Dinner Mediterranean, Turkish
By Janice Yucel Serves: 4-5
Prep Time: 20 Active, 30 Marinating Cooking Time: 5 Minutes Total Time: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 lbs lamb or steak
  • 1 tsp red pepper paste (or tomato paste + ½ tsp crushed red pepper)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp yogurt
  • ~3 cloves garlic
  • ~2 tbsp olive oil
  • Optional: Separately grill quartered tomato slices and whole anaheim or poblano peppers.

Instructions

1

Cut your meat into square pieces about ½ inch thick and 1 inch wide/tall (if you haven’t bought your meat already cut by a butcher).

2

Place into a medium-large bowl and add in the spices, garlic (smashed and chopped), pepper paste, olive oil and yogurt and mix thoroughly with your hands.

3

Let the meat marinate for at least 30 minutes.

4

Pull your meat through so the meat is flat on the skewer

5

Grill for approximately 5 minutes, turning halfway through.

6

Serve with salad, rice or bulgar, pita or other flatbread, along with any grilled vegetables.

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