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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.

My cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, is packed with over 90 authentic Turkish recipes and stunning photography – Signed hardback copies now 30 % OFF and delivered worldwide including US, at this link.

I hope you enjoy making Iskender Kebab at home with my recipe, it is easier than you think and most delicious.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

4.8 from 11 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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Fish kebabs with lemon, pepper, red onions and bay leaves

Healthy, delicious fish kebabs in olive oil, lemon juice and red pepper flakes marinade.

Healthy, delicious fish kebabs in olive oil, lemon juice and red pepper flakes marinade.

This is such an easy and tasty fish kebab; you can use any firm fleshed fish like cod lion, tuna or salmon. Meaty swordfish, kilic baligi, is traditionally used at home and its firm, chunky flesh really works well in the kebabs. I like to roast extra vegetables by the side to complement the fish kebabs; with some boiled potatoes aside, these fish kebabs make a delicious, impressive meal for entertaining.

Signed copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table book, available to order at this link

This and many other delicious, healthy Turkish recipes are included in my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland,  Signed copies are now 30 % Off for a limited period at this link. It is delivered worldwide including the US.

Brush the left over marinade of olive oil, lemon juice and red pepper flakes over the skewers.

Brush the left over marinade of olive oil, lemon juice and red pepper flakes over the skewers.

It is worth marinating the fish prior cooking; a simple marinade of olive oil, refreshing lemon juice with a little spicy kick from red pepper flakes flavor the fish kebabs beautifully. I baked my fish kebabs in the oven. You can alternatively cook them over preheated barbecue, oven grill or hot griddle for 6 – 8 minutes, until they are cooked through and lightly browned.

Lovely Fish Kebab image from Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book by Sian Irvine Photography

I hope you enjoy these tasty fish kebabs, Afiyet Olsun,
Ozlem

5.0 from 1 reviews
Fish kebabs with lemon, pepper, red onions and bay leaves
 
This is such and easy and tasty fish kebab; a simple marinade of olive oil, refreshing lemon juice with a little spicy kick from red pepper flakes flavor the fish kebabs beautifully. I like to roast extra vegetables by the side to complement the fish kebabs; with some boiled potatoes aside, these fish kebabs make a delicious, impressive meal for entertaining.
Author:
Recipe type: Turkish style fish kebabs - Seafood
Cuisine: Turkish Cuisine
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 350 gr/ 12 oz. skinned, boneless cod lion (or any firm fleshed fish), cut into bite size chunks
  • 1 red onion, quartered and coarsely sliced
  • 2 red pointy (or bell) peppers, deseeded and coarsely sliced
  • 1 lemon, cut into small wedges
  • 5 – 6 fresh bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp. / 30 ml olive oil (for roasting the vegetables)
  • For the marinade:
  • 30 ml / 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 – 2 teaspoon Turkish red pepper flakes or chili flakes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Lemon wedges to serve
Instructions
  1. Soak wooden skewers in water for 15 minutes before using.
  2. Preheat oven to 180 C / 350 F
  3. Cut the skinned, boneless cod lion (or your choice of firm fleshed fish) into bite size (about 3 cm/1.2” in.) chunks.
  4. Place the fish in a bowl and stir in the olive oil, lemon juice and red pepper flakes. Season the fish with salt and ground black pepper. Gently coat the chunks of the fish with this marinade.
  5. Cover the bowl and set aside for 15 minutes to marinate and for the fish to absorb the flavors.
  6. Place the chopped red onion, red pointy (or bell) pepper and green pepper slices on a baking tray. Drizzle 2 tbsp. olive oil over them. Season with salt, ground black pepper and mix well.
  7. Thread the fish on to the skewers, alternating with a wedge of lemon, red onion slice, red and green pepper slices. Thread one or two bay leaves into each skewer. Brush the kebabs with any leftover marinade.
  8. Place the skewers at one side of your baking tray. Spread the remaining chopped vegetables next to the fish kebab skewers. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
  9. Serve the fish kebabs hot with roasted vegetables and a wedge of lemon by the side. Boiled or roasted potatoes also complement the fish kebabs well.
Notes
Soak wooden skewers in water for 15 minutes before using.

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Tray bake filo pastry with ground meat and onions; Kiymali Borek

Turkish tray bake pastry with ground meat and onions; Kiymali tepsi boregi

Turkish tray bake pastry with ground meat and onions; Kiymali tepsi boregi

My parents are visiting from Istanbul; it’s been over three years since they were last here, it really is wonderful to have them in England. Regular visitors of this blog knows that my parents’ love of Turkish food and passion for sharing others have been a major influence on us and hence the share of delicious Turkish cuisine in my blog. You can imagine how excited I am about spending time with parents, cooking together with my mother, gathering  with friends and family to share.

Spread the ground meat & onion mixture over the yufka or filo pastry sheets

Spread the ground meat & onion mixture over the yufka or filo pastry sheets

My mother brought some wonderful yufka, Turkish fresh, paper thin sheets of pastry – a real luxury as I can’t get them here in England. We made this easy and delicious tray bake with ground meat and onions; kiymali tepsi boregi. Another delicious borek you can easily make at home using filo pastry sheets if yufka is not available.

This lovely recipe and over 90 authentic recipes are included at Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book. Signed hardback copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table is 30 % off via GBPublishing at this linkuntil  end July 3rd 2020. It is delivered worldwide, including the USA. The offer has been our way of helping out food lovers with home cooking, especially during the Covid 19 lock down. Many thanks for all your kind words and sharing your delicious creations with us. Signed copies will still continue at this link.

My best wishes,

Ozlem

4.7 from 3 reviews
Tray bake filo pastry with ground meat and onions; Kiymali Borek
 
An easy and delicious kiymali borek, Turkish savory pastry with ground meat and onions filling. Yufka, Turkish fresh pastry sheets are used traditionally, but filo pastry sheets also work very well. You can serve as an appetizer or as a morning or afternoon snack with tea.
Author:
Recipe type: Boreks, Turkish Savory Pastries
Cuisine: Turkish Cuisine
Serves: 8-10
Ingredients
  • 3 sheets of yufka Or 12 sheets of filo pastry (each sheet 48cmx25cm), thawed
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 400 gr/ 14 oz. ground beef or lamb (or a mixture)
  • 2 eggs
  • 8 fl. oz. /1 cup whole or semi skimmed milk + extra 2 tbsp. milk for the top of the pastry
  • 4 fl. oz./ ½ cup water
  • 45ml / 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a wide, heavy pan and stir in the chopped onions. Sauté over medium heat for 3-4 minutes to soften them up.
  2. Stir in the ground meat to the onion mixture and sauté for another 5 minutes over medium heat. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper
  3. Beat 1 egg and 1 egg white (save the remaining 1 egg yolk in a small bowl for later) and mix with 1 cup of milk and ½ cup of water.
  4. Grease a baking tray with 1 tbsp. olive oil and spread 1 sheet of yufka (with excess of yufka hanging out of tray) or 2 sheets of filo pastry on top of one another.
  5. Spread 3 tbsp. of milk, water & egg mixture evenly over the pastry.
  6. Lay the next sheet of yufka or 2 more sheets of filo pastry. Again, Spread 3 tbsp. of milk, water & egg mixture evenly over the pastry.
  7. If using filo pastry, lay two more sheets. Again, Spread 3 tbsp. of milk, water & egg mixture evenly over the pastry.
  8. Spread the ground meat and onion mixture evenly over the pastry.
  9. Lay the last layer of yufka sheet over the filling and tuck in and fold the excess sides of yufka sheet over the filling as a layer.
  10. If using filo pastry sheets, spread the ground meat and onion filling over the 6th sheet, after spreading the egg, milk and water mixture.
  11. Place 2 more sheets of filo pastry over the filling and continue to spread 3 tbsp. of milk, water & egg mixture evenly over the pastry. Lay the 10th filo sheet spread 3 tbsp. of milk, water & egg mixture evenly over the pastry. Then lay the last two sheets of filo pastry.
  12. Mix 2 tbsp. milk with the remaining egg yolk and remaining 1 tbsp. olive oil (if you have any milk & egg and water mixture left, you can add this mixture too). Spread this mixture over the last sheet of yufka or filo pastry.
  13. Bake in the pre-heated oven (180C/350F) for 20- 25 minutes, until the top of the pastry turns to golden to light brown.
  14. Once cooked, cover with a baking paper to keep moist and cool for 10 minutes. Slice in squares and serve warm.
Notes
If using frozen filo pastry, thaw overnight in the fridge or bring to room temperature 2 hours before using. If you’re using fresh filo pastry kept in the fridge (as in the UK), bring to room temperature 30 minutes before using. Keep the filo pastry covered with a damp cloth as you are working. This will help to avoid it getting too dry or less manageable.
 

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