Kebabs - the word conjures images of the wafting aroma of spit roasted meat that has been marinated with spices to get your taste buds singing. Succulent pieces of meat, coated with creamy herb sauce are allowed to cook on open coals. Kebabs are a big favorite with adults and kids alike. In fact, you can locate a kebab takeaway at probably most street corners. Find out more on kebabs and how they are made; be it is the shish kebab or reshmi kabab or döner kebab.
Every culture has its own version of meat cooked on a stick or skewer. From the Persian kabab to the Spanish Pinchos to the Indonesian satay, you can find many a variant. Kebab or kabab or kabob refers to grilled meat in Persian and Turkish. The origins of kebabs can be traced to the times when central Asian horsemen lit large fires and skewered meat for their meal. The meat used in kebabs is usually lamb or beef. There are innumerable varieties of kebabs to suit every palate, shish kabab and döner kebab being among the most popular ones. The manner of cooking them and the spices used in the flavoring of the meat varies between different regions. Kebab chunks are usually regular cubes of nearly 1 inch, trimmed of fat and connective tissue.
Döner kebabs are made of meat paste that is packed onto skewers and grilled. Kebabs are consumed as starters or even as main course along with breads and salads. Lamb Döner Kebab is made from minced lamb that is marinated with spices and coated with egg and breadcrumbs. This kebab roll is enormous. Slices of meat are carved off and served with sauces, salads and pita bread. Döner kebab is difficult to prepare at home, yet you can give a try. Döner Kebab is very popular in Turkey, Germany, Australia and Finland as a sandwich with tomato sauce and yogurt. Sometimes Döner Kebab is served plain with pilaf.
Ingredients for kebab:
2 1/2 - 3 lb. leg of lamb, boned and cut in slices
1 tbsp. black pepper
3 lbs. ground lamb
2-3 tbsp. salt
Onions, processed until a liquid-3 cups
1 cup olive oil
1 large tomato
Remove any bits of skin and bone from the meat. Cut into serving-size sluices, about ¼ to ½ inch thick. Pound with a meat tenderizer or the edge of a heave saucepan until1/8 cm thick. Prepare a marinade of onion juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, and soak meat in the marinade for 12-24 hours. Soak lamb fat in hot water. Remove pieces of meat from the marinade. Spread over each piece of meat the lamb fat and ground lamb mixed with egg. Thread pieces of meat on a long skewer, starting with larger pieces. Trim the chunk of meat on the skewer and add trimmings to the end of the skewer. The chunk of meat is broiled in the Doner Kebab broiler, made especially for the purpose.
If you are tying out kebabs at home, here are a few tips:
Cut the meat into even sized bits for quick and even cooking
Marinate the meat in the refrigerator
Cut the vegetables - bell peppers, zucchini, carrots and baby potatoes for grilling along with the meat. They can be seasoned with herbs and spices.
There are many skewers available these days, from inexpensive wooden ones to reusable steel skewers.
You can grill your kebabs on a barbecue or on an indoor electric grill.
Spray a little oil to keep the kabab pieces moist and succulent
Get creative and work wonders on your skewers. Use different meat varieties or opt for firm textured fish kebabs.
Shish kababs are cubes of meat that are grilled after marinating in many spices. Traditionally shish kabab is made from leg of lamb as it is easier to cut and imparts a more robust flavor. It is often basted with saffron-flavored butter. Shish kebabs are coated with spicy marinade and served with other grilled vegetables. Small cubes of meat or fowl are roasted over coal fires till the meat is tender and done. Shish kababs are often served with finely minced onions, shredded lettuce and slices of tomato. Slices of onion or bell peppers are placed strategically between the cubes of meat to add flavor, color and variety. You can squeeze a small wedge of lime if you like the tang it provides.
Recipe for Shish Kabab
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon crushed dried basil
1/4 teaspoon crushed dried marjoram
1/4 teaspoon crushed dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon crushed dried mint
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 pound lamb, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 (8-ounce) can pineapple chunks, drained
1/4 pound mushrooms
1 tomato, seeded and diced
Combine vegetable oil, lemon juice, onion and salt; pour them over lamb in a glass container or baking dish. Cover and refrigerate them and let marinate for 4 to 8 hours. Drain and arrange lamb cubes on skewers, alternating with mushrooms and green and/or red pepper wedges. Place 4 inches from heat source and broil for about 15 - 20 minutes, turning occasionally, or until tender.
Kabab connoisseurs can choose from a variety of Indian kababs too, be it shami kabab, reshmi kabab or boti kabab. The shami kabab dates back to the Nawabi cuisine from Awadh in North India. This kabab is shaped like an oval round patty and is made with mincemeat. The silken smooth shami kababs melt into your mouth and leave you in raptures with their heady taste. The ground meat paste is mixed with spices and filled with the tangy flavor of raw mangoes. The shami kabab is then roasted over a pan on low fire or charcoal fire. It is served with onions and lemon.