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Spicy adana kebab

These kebabs from the city of Adana, where incidentally they are referred to as "kiyma", are a favourite all over Turkey. They are traditionally made by hand-mincing the meat with a large knife called the "zirh" till very fine. The meat used in this kebab is always mutton with about 20% fat from the goat's tail, this gives these kebabs their juicy texture. There are quite a few variations to this kebab, with or without tomatoes or red peppers. However, these kebabs always have the famed Turkish pul biber, or Aleppo pepper giving them a spicy flavour.

The spicy Aleppo pepper cooks with the meat and imparts a lovely heat to the kebabs. They are juicy and melt-in-your-mouth tender, and their bright red colour serves as a warning about their flavour. The recipe is very simple, but these kebabs bang with flavour and are a favourite.

This is an amazing cookbook by a British chef who specialized in cuisines from the Middle East and across Turkey. This book is filled with recipes for kebabs, stews, other Turkish favourites, and some more contemporary dishes. Everything I have cooked from this book has been fantastic, this is one of my favourite Turkish cookbooks.

For more wonderful recipes from this cookbook, click here.


1/2 onion, chopped

1/2 red bell pepper, stemmed, deseeded, and chopped

1 lb ground lamb or mutton

2 teaspoons Aleppo chilli flakes

2 teaspoons olive oil

Salt, to taste

Blitz the onion and red pepper in a small blender till finely purèed.

Mix in with the rest of the ingredients. Scoop out a teaspoon of the mix and flatten to a thin patty. fry in a pan, taste salt and spices and adjust as needed. Let marinate for at least 1 hour, but I prefer to make the kebab mix in the morning and grill the kebabs in the evening for dinner. If you prefer, you can make a small teaspoon-sized kebab and fry it on a frying pan as a taster so you can adjust your spices.

Divide the mix into 6 portions and roll them into sausage shapes. Grill the kebabs on a grill for about 3-4 minutes a side till cooked through and slightly charred. Alternatively, you can broil the kebabs in the oven for 4-5 minutes a side till charred. Serve with wedges of lime.

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