Kebab

Kebab

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From
Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery

Strictly speaking, a kebab is a piece of meat, but what is generally referred to today as a kebab is, in fact, a shish kebab, which is derived from the Turkish words shish, meaning skewer, and kebab, meaning grilled (known as shashlik in Russia). It consists of small pieces of meat threaded onto skewers or swords and grilled.

The secret of all skewer cookery is in the seasoning or marinades used to flavour the meats. The meats are well seasoned and sometimes marinated beforehand, and may be combined with onions, mushrooms, peppers, etc., threaded on the same skewers. For best results, shish kebabs should be cooked over a charcoal fire; next best is under a preheated grill (broiler).

Vegetables are often cooked on skewers, by themselves or alternated with pieces of meat or seafood. Squares of red or green pepper, small onions, mushrooms, slices of eggplant (aubergine) or tomatoes, slices of corn on the cob or chunks of zucchini (courgette) are all good additions.

Shish kebabs are often served with boiled or saffron rice or with flat pita or Lebanese bread, which should be toasted lightly over the charcoal or under the grill before filling. If served with the flat bread, make a pocket by cutting open one side of the bread; then when the kebab is ready, lay the skewer in the bread pocket, squeeze it together gently to hold the meat, etc., at the same time pulling out the skewer. Tabouleh may be added to the pocket.

To prepare: After soaking in the marinade (if using), the food is threaded on skewers. Flat metal skewers are good as the food won’t slip around on them as they’re turned. Bamboo or wooden skewers are used in Asia, and if the wood is still green, they won’t char during cooking. Otherwise, soak them in cold water for an hour before using so they won’t burn.

To cook: Place skewered food about 8–10 cm from the heat on grill or barbecue, brushing with marinade and turning several times as it cooks. Don’t overcook the meat. Lamb or beef should be well browned on the outside, but still moist and pink on the inside.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
see method for ingredients

Method

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