For most people, thinking about Turkish cuisine generally conjures countless images of delicious meaty kebabs in mind. But for the most part, these imaginings are limited to the standard döner kebab and shish kebab that the western world are accustomed to. But in fact, the types of kebabs available in Turkey are countless and offer far tastier varieties.
What does kebab mean?
Kebab generally refers to any dish of meat, fish, or vegetables, which are grilled on a skewer or roasted using a rotisserie.
In Turkey, the word kebab extends to include any of these dishes cooked over, or next to, a flame. It consists of both small and large cuts of meat, as well as ground meat.
Kebab in Turkey can be served on plates (known as porsiyon), in sandwiches, or even in wraps (known as dürüm).
Traditionally, the meat used to make Turkish kebabs is lamb. However, as individual tastes evolved and regional specialties developed, other popular meats used in Turkish kebabs have extended to include beef, chicken, and fish.
Using vegetables in kebabs has also always been popular in Turkey, and most commonly, you’ll find varieties of kebabs made with eggplant, tomato, peppers, and onion.
Origins of kebabs
It is generally accepted that the first kebabs in Turkey originated from the Erzurum province in Eastern Turkey, as cağ kebab, with meat stacked and cooked on a spit horizontally, rather than vertically as today’s döner kebabs are.
These Turkish kebabs are first mentioned in Ottoman travel books dating back to the 18th century.
The ‘father’ of the modern döner kebab, Iskender Efendi, then wrote that he and his grandfather “had the idea of roasting the lamb vertically rather than horizontally” and invented a vertical rotisserie. It is this dish that is today most commonly recognized throughout the world as ‘kebab.’
How many different types of kebabs are there?
There are at least 110 different kebabs only in Turkey, and each one has its unique taste. In this blog post, we will be discussing the 20 most popular Turkish kebabs that everyone should try at least once!
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