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Roasts and Kebaps

Home Style Iskender Kebab in Tomato Sauce, Pita Bread and Yoghurt

Home Style Iskender Kebab in tomato sauce with pita bread and yoghurt

I have long wanted to recreate the delicious Iskender Kebab, Iskender Kebabi at home; thin slices of lamb or beef in tomato based sauce, served over pide bread with yoghurt and grilled vegetables by the side. It is one of the most delicious kebabs you can have in Turkey and it is a joy to be able to recreate at home.

Traditional doner maker in Istanbul, making chicken (tavuk) doner

Doner maker, donerci, in Istanbul, making chicken (tavuk) doner on a vertical rotisserie

Living abroad, Iskender Kebab is one of the special treats I dearly miss. This delicious kebab is a specialty of Bursa region in Turkey and I remember many foodie trips I made to Bursa to enjoy the genuine Iskender Kebap. Iskender Kebab is made with doner kebab, which requires a vertical rotisserie where layers of thinly sliced lamb, beef, veal – or chicken – stacked together. Traditionally, minced meat is used to stick the slices of the meat.

Home made Iskender Kebab; easier than you think and most delicious.

Home made Iskender Kebab; easier than you think and most delicious.

I don’t have a vertical rotisserie but managed to make a very close by Iskender Kebab at home, greatly enjoyed by family and friends. Thin slices of rib eye steak or lamb or beef tenderloin work very well here. Marinating the meat in onion juice, olive oil and spices is really worth the effort to tenderize the meat and add a lot of flavor. With pide bread, pide ekmek as a base, delicious tomato sauce poured over the meat, grilled tomatoes, peppers and yoghurt by the side, home style Iskender Kebab makes a very special meal to share with family and friends. My thanks goes to the brilliant book Anatolia; Adventures in Turkish Cooking, for the inspiration to have a go at making Iskender Kebab at home.

Home style Iskender Kebab; delicious over pita bread with yoghurt and grilled vegetables aside.

Home style Iskender Kebab; delicious over pita bread with yoghurt and grilled vegetables aside.

I hope you enjoy making Iskender Kebab at home with my recipe, it is easier than you think and most delicious. My best wishes to you all for the festive season and the New Year, in good health and happiness.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

4.8 from 9 reviews
Home Style Iskender Kebap in Tomato Sauce, Pita Bread and Yoghurt
 
Iskender Kebab is one of the most popular kebabs at home and a specialty of Bursa region. You can make this delicious Iskender Kebap at home; thin slices of lamb or beef in tomato based sauce, served over pide bread with yoghurt and grilled vegetables by the side. It is easier than you think and most delicious, afiyet olsun!
Author:
Recipe type: Turkish Style Kebabs to make at home
Cuisine: Turkish
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • For the meat marinate:
  • 2 lbs. rib eye steak or lamb or beef tenderloin
  • 2 large onions, grated
  • 45 ml / 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 10 ml/ 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 10 ml/ 2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • For the tomato sauce:
  • 30 ml / 2 tbsp. concentrated tomato paste
  • 15 ml/ 1 tbsp. red pepper paste (optional; you can use extra 1 tbsp. tomato paste and red pepper flakes to your taste instead too)
  • 30 ml/ 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 16 fl oz. / 2 cups water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 2 green pointy or bell peppers, deseeded and sliced
  • Thinly sliced pide ekmek or plain pita bread – 6 pieces, to serve
  • 500 gr / 2 cups plain yoghurt to serve
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C / 350 F
  2. Prepare the meat marination a day ahead of time of cooking.
  3. Grate the onions or place them in a food processor and process until liquid. Squeeze all the onion juice into a non-metallic bowl and discard any remaining onion pulp.
  4. Slice the meat thinly (you can ask your butcher to this for you too) and then pound each slice with the back of a wooden spoon (or with a meat tenderizer). We aim to achieve the slices about 5 cm (2”) x 4 cm (1.5”) in size.
  5. Combine the onion juice, oregano, red pepper flakes, olive oil, salt and freshly ground pepper in a large bowl. Stir in the meat slices and coat each piece with this marination. Cover the bowl with a cling film and marinate overnight in the fridge.
  6. To make the tomato sauce, pour in the olive oil in a sauce pan over the medium heat. Stir in the tomato paste, red pepper paste (if using) and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and combine well. Add the water then bring to the boil. Then gently simmer for 10 minutes.
  7. Slice the pide or pita bread in 3 cm x 3 cm (about 1”) squares and place on a tray. Warm in the oven for 5 minutes.
  8. Drizzle a little olive oil on a skillet and cook the meat slices on high heat; for about 2 minutes each side (take care not to overcook). Also sauté the sliced tomatoes and peppers at the other side of the skillet, until they start to charcoal at edges.
  9. Once everything is cooked, plate your Iskender Kebap. Place the warm pide / pita bread slices on each plate. Spread the cooked slices of the meat over the pide bread and pour over the tomato sauce. Place the sautéed tomatoes and peppers at one side and a dollop of plain yoghurt at the other side. Serve immediately. This recipe serves 4 -6 generously.
  10. Afiyet Olsun.

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Simit Kebabi; Ground Meat and Bulgur Kebabs, Gaziantep Style

Simit Kebabi; Ground (minced meat) and bulgur kebab, Gaziantep Style

Simit Kebabi; Ground (minced meat) and bulgur kebab, Gaziantep Style

This delicious ground (minced) meat and bulgur kebab called Simit Kebabi, hails from Gaziantep, considered as one of the gastronomic capitals of Turkey. Fine bulgur is referred as Simit in Gaziantep and that’s where the kebab’s name come from (Simit is also the name of the popular Turkish street food, the sesame coated bread rings). Bulgur is an important ingredient in southern Turkish cooking; it appears in pilafs, mezzes like Icli Kofte, soups and in kebabs. Fine bulgur brings a wonderful texture and taste to this kebab, fragrantly spiced with cumin, red pepper flakes and dried mint. If you can’t find fine bulgur, you can ground the coarse bulgur in food processor in a couple of pulses; take care not to ground too much and turn the bulgur into fine powder.

Vakkas Usta preparing the meat using Zirh blade at Istanbul’s Şeyhmus Kebab; photo credit: IstanbulEats

It is important to have some fat content in the meat mixture for this kebab; traditionally, tail fat is included in this kebab in Gaziantep. The ustas, masters in Gaziantep prepare the ground (minced) meat for the Simit Kebabi, chopping by hand, using a special curved-bladed knife called Zirh. This method gives the meat a lot of flavor and much better texture; so if you can get your meat hand chopped by the butcher that would be great. If not, use ground lamb or beef with some good fat content in it.

I served my Simit Kebabi with roasted vegetables and garlic yoghurt by the side. You can wrap the kebab and roasted vegetables with a dollop of garlicy yoghurt, in Turkish flat breads or pita pockets. Here is my Turkish flat breads recipe if you’d like to make flat breads at home.

Simit Kebabi; Ground (minced meat) and bulgur kebab with roasted vegetables, Gaziantep Style

Simit Kebabi; Ground (minced meat) and bulgur kebab with roasted vegetables, Gaziantep Style

This recipe is inspired and adapted from the wonderful Gaziantep Cookery, A Taste of Sun and Fire cookery book, edited by Aylin Oney Tan. I hope you enjoy this delicious southern Turkish style kebab.

My Turkish Cookery Class at the Divertiment Cookery School, London;

Tuesday 13th October, 7pm – 9.15pm

A quick reminder of my Turkish cookery class on Tuesday 13th October, 7pm – 9.15pm at Divertimenti Cookery School, London. I will be teaching how to recreate delicious, wholesome Turkish classics such a spinach and feta filo pie, Ispanakli Borek, Turkish classic stuffed aubergines, Karniyarik, Spicy bulgur wheat salad with pomegranate molasses, Kisir and homemade baklava (much lighter and delicious!), along with tips and stories from my homeland. You will be amazed to see how easy each course is, also wholesome and packed with flavor. Here  is the class details. Booking is through the Divertimenti Cookery School, hope you can join us!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Simit Kebabi; Ground Meat and Bulgur Kebabs, Gaziantep Style
 
This delicious ground (minced) meat and bulgur kebab called Simit Kebabi, hails from Gaziantep, one of the gastronomic capitals of Turkey. Serve this fragrantly spiced kebab with roasted vegetables and garlic yoghurt, in flat breads. Afiyet Olsun!
Author:
Recipe type: Southern Turkish, Gaziantep Style Kebab with Bulgur
Cuisine: Turkish Cuisine
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. ground (minced) lamb
  • 75 gr / 2.6 oz. / ⅓ cup fine bulgur (or coarse bulgur, grounded to fine bulgur in food processor)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 80 ml/ 2.7 fl. oz./ ⅓ cup hot water
  • 15 ml/ 3 tsp. red pepper flakes (or a bit less if you prefer less spicy)
  • 5 ml/ 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 5 ml / 1 tsp. dried mint
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Bowl of water to shape the simit kebab on skewers
  • For the roasted vegetables:
  • 2 medium eggplants (aubergines) quartered and sliced
  • 1 medium onion, quartered and coarsely chopped
  • 1 red bell (or pointy) pepper and 1 green bell (or pointy) pepper, deseeded and cut in chunks
  • 60 ml/ 4 tbsp. olive oil
  • For the garlicy yoghurt sauce:
  • 13 oz. / 1 ½ cup plain whole milk yoghurt
  • 1 small clove of garlic, crushed with a pinch of salt and finely chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 C/ 400 F
  2. Place the fine bulgur in a bowl and pour in the hot water. Combine well and set aside for 10 – 15 minutes for the bulgur to absorb all the water and soften.
  3. Place the soften bulgur in a large mixing bowl and stir in the garlic, ground (minced) meat, red pepper flakes, ground cumin and dried mint. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Have a bowl of water by your side. Wet your hands and knead the mixture well for 5 – 8 minutes, until all combined.
  4. Wet your hands and take a large lump of the meat mixture – just a bit less than ½ cup and form into a ball. Mold it around and along the skewer, until it is evenly thick. Squeeze and shape the meat gently so that the meat sticks to the skewer. Work meat around and down the skewer while rotating skewer with bottom hand until kebab is ¾" in diameter. Cover the skewered meat in cling film and refrigerate until firm, for about 30 minutes.
  5. Now prepare your vegetables. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the eggplants (aubergines) lengthways in zebra stripes. Cut the eggplants lengthways, and then slice about ½ inch thick. Sprinkle some salt over them and leave for about 15 minutes. Squeeze out their moisture with paper towel. On a baking tray, spread the eggplant slices, chopped onions and the colorful peppers. Drizzle 4 tbsp. the olive oil over them and season with salt and black pepper. Coat all the pieces with olive oil and seasoning. Bake in the preheated oven for about for about 35 minutes, until they are chargrilled around the edges.
  6. To bake the Simit Kebabi, grease a baking tray and arrange the prepared kebab skewers side by side. Sprinkle 3 tbsp. water over them and place a (heat resistant) bowl of water at the bottom of the oven (this will keep the kebabs moist). Bake the kebabs for 35 – 40 minutes, turning them half way around.
  7. You can also grill the kebabs over a medium charcoal fire, turning frequently in the same direction. Or you can grill kebabs on hottest part of grill, turning as needed, until slightly charred and cooked through, for 12-15 minutes.
  8. To make garlicy yoghurt; crush a small garlic clove with salt and chop finely. Stir in to the yoghurt and combine well.
  9. Serve the Simit Kebab hot, along with the roasted vegetables, garlicy yoghurt and flat breads. You can wrap the kebab and roasted vegetables with a dollop of garlicy yoghurt, in Turkish flat breads or pita pockets too. Afiyet Olsun.

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Eggplant kebab with yoghurt marinated chicken; Patlicanli Kebap

Baked eggplant kebab with chicken, onions, peppers; Patlicanli Tepsi Kebabi

Baked eggplant kebab with chicken, onions, peppers; Patlicanli Tepsi Kebabi

Merhaba all; we had a delightful Turkish cookery class at the weekend and this baked eggplant or aubergine kebab with chicken, onions and peppers was a big hit at the class.

This is a southern Turkish style kebab, prepared at homes. The aubergines (eggplants) are double baked in this recipe, Southern Turkish style, which intensify their flavor. In Southern part of Turkey, especially in the regions of Gaziantep and Antakya, locals would use up the left over grilled or barbecued eggplants to make this delicious, home style kebab the next day. A tradition in Antakya is to prepare the kebab at home and take the tray to the local bakery to be baked in the wood fired oven, providing amazing, melt-in-the mouth flavors. I hope you enjoy recreating this lovely, impressive dish in your home for family and friends.

Tip: Marinating the chicken in yoghurt, olive oil, Turkish hot pepper paste, biber salcasi and spices is really well worth the effort; it tenderizes the chicken and enables the flavors to blend well.

Baked eggplant kebab with chicken, onions, peppers; Patlicanli Tepsi Kebabi

Baked eggplant or aubergine kebab with chicken, onions, peppers; Patlicanli Tepsi Kebabi

I hope you enjoy it, Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

4.5 from 2 reviews
Eggplant kebab with yoghurt marinated chicken; Patlicanli Kebap
 
This is a southern Turkish style kebab, prepared at homes. The aubergines (eggplants) are double baked in this recipe, Southern Turkish style, which intensify their flavor. Marinating the chicken in yoghurt, olive oil, tomato paste and red pepper paste is well worth the effort, as it tenderizes the chicken and enables the flavors to blend well. I hope you enjoy this delightful, home style baked aubergine kebab with chicken and vegetables.
Author:
Recipe type: Southern Turkish style baked kebabs
Cuisine: Turkish Cuisine
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 2 medium aubergines (eggplants)
  • 700 gr / 1.5 lb. chicken thighs or chicken breast, skinned and cut in 4x4 cm (1.6” x 1.6”) chunks
  • 2 red Romano (pointy) or bell peppers, deseeded and sliced in chunks
  • 1 green (pointy or bell) pepper, deseeded and sliced in chunks
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 45 ml / 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • For the chicken marinade:
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 30 ml/ 2 tbsp. plain whole milk yoghurt
  • ½ tbsp. tomato paste
  • ½ tbsp. Turkish hot pepper paste (optional)
  • 5 ml/ 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 15 ml / 1 tbsp. olive oil to sauté the marinated chicken
  • For the sauce:
  • ½ tbsp. red pepper paste or 1-2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • ½ tbsp. tomato paste
  • 12 fl. oz. / 1 ½ cup water
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C/ 350 F
  2. Peel the aubergines (eggplants) in zebra stripes, using a vegetable peeler or a small knife. Cut the aubergines in lengthways then in 1cm (0.4”) thick slices. Place the slices on a tray and sprinkle salt over them (The salt will help extract the bitter juices out of the aubergines). Set aside for 15 minutes.
  3. Prepare the marinade for the chicken. Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl. Stir in the yoghurt, garlic, olive oil, tomato paste, red pepper paste (if using) and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and ground black pepper to your taste and combine and mix the chicken pieces with the marinade. Cover the marinade and leave in the fridge for 30 minutes (you can prepare this marinade ahead of time, even overnight and leave in the fridge).
  4. Using kitchen paper towel, squeeze the excess moisture out of the aubergines. Place the aubergines on a tray and drizzle 3 tbsp. olive oil over them. Coat the pieces with the olive oil and partially bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.
  5. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy pan and stir in the marinated chicken pieces. Sauté over medium to high heat for 4 – 5 minutes, turn the heat off.
  6. Once the aubergine slices partially baked, prepare the chicken & aubergine bake with vegetables. In a large baking dish, place a chicken piece next to onion, pepper (alternating red and green pepper pieces) and aubergine slices. Keep on placing chicken and vegetables in this order side by side, until all the chicken and vegetables are layered. Spread any remaining aubergine slices at the top.
  7. To prepare the sauce, stir in the red pepper paste, tomato paste, red pepper flakes and the water to the pan used for sautéing the chicken. Combine all, also using any leftover chicken marinade sauce in the pan. Pour in this mixture over your tray with the chicken, aubergine and vegetables.
  8. Bake in the oven for 35 – 40 minutes, until chicken and vegetables are cooked and turned light golden color.
  9. Serve hot with plain rice or bulgur pilaf aside.
Notes
Marinating the chicken in yoghurt, olive oil, Turkish hot pepper paste, biber salcasi and spices is really well worth the effort; it tenderizes the chicken and enables the flavors to blend well.

Ozlem’s Turkish Table at the Live Encounters Magazine

I have been delighted to be featured at the wonderful Live Encounters Magazine with my recipes and stories from my homeland, here’s the link to the full article, I hope you enjoy this wonderful magazine. Live Encounters is also running a little contest in my article, where 4 lucky winners may have a chance watch my online Turkish cookery course free. All answers are in the article! : ) Hope you enjoy reading this wonderful magazine.

"Turkey with Love" my article at Live Encounters magazine

“From Turkey with Love”, my article and Turkish recipes at the Live Encounters magazine

 

 

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