When you say kebab, most Australians think of a doner kebab – shaved meat wrapped in flatbread with additions of salad and sauce. Here, we discover what a traditional Turkish kebab is, originating from the Gaziantep region: chunks of meltingly sweet lamb mixed with pistachio nuts, cooked on a charcoal barbecue and served with a smoked eggplant and garlic yoghurt sauce, in a chat with and recipe by Efendy Restaurant chef Somer Sivrioglu.
- 250 g veal rump
- 250 g boneless, trimmed lamb leg meat
- 250 g lamb tail fat or any type of lamb fat (see Note)
- 100 g pistachios, finely crushed
- 1 tbsp salt, or to taste
- 1 tbsp freshly ground pepper
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp dried chilli flakes
- 8 flat metal skewers
- 800 g European-style yoghurt
- 4 large eggplant
- 75 g butter
- 2 tbsp salt, or to taste
- 4 garlic cloves
- 75 g butter
- 1 red capsicum, chopped
- 50 g marash chilli flakes (see Note)
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
The following recipe has been tested and edited by SBS Food and may differ slightly from the podcast.
You will need to begin this recipe 1 day ahead.
Marinating time overnight or 3 hours
Chilling time 15 minutes
The day before serving, place a slightly dampened and wrung out piece of muslin in a bowl. Pour in the yoghurt and tie up edges with string. Hang in the refrigerator for 24 hrs with a bowl underneath to catch the whey draining from the yoghurt. Use the whey liquid for another recipe, or discard and unwrap the strained yoghurt.
Also the day before, very finely dice the veal rump, lamb meat and lamb fat. Add the pistachios, salt, pepper, cumin and chilli. Mix until combined. Rest for a minimum of 3 hours, preferably overnight.
Prepare the charcoal barbeque or preheat a chargrill to medium-high heat. Smoke the eggplant over the charcoal, or directly over a gas flame, turning when blackened and soft (30-40 minutes). If using a gas stove, line the stove with foil to catch dripping juices and place the eggplant on a heavy metal rack. Place the eggplants into a colander to drain the excess water. When cooled down, cut in half and scoop out all the flesh with a large spoon. Rest for 10 minutes, then chop the flesh coarsely into a chunky puree.
To make the sauce, melt the butter in a pan. Add the eggplant and 1 tbsp salt. Crush the garlic with the remaining salt in a mortar and pestle. Mix the strained yoghurt with the garlic, and stir into the eggplant.
Mould the meat around each skewer in an long flat shape, so that the meat occupies three-quarters of the skewer evenly. Once moulded around the skewers, place back in the fridge for a further 15 minutes to firm. Cook the kebabs on the charcoal barbecue or chargrill, turning the meat around when fat starts dripping, until browned on all sides and cooked through (8-10 minutes).
To make the chilli butter, melt the butter in a small frying pan. Add the red capsicum and chilli flakes, and sauté for 2 minutes.
To serve, place the eggplant mixture on a plate, remove meat from skewer, cut into three pieces and place on top. Finally, add the chilli butter and serve immediately.
• Lamb tail fat must be ordered ahead from selected Turkish butchers. Marash chilli flakes are available from Turkish food stores and also sold as pul biber maras.
Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Michelle Noerianto.