Mediterranean Holiday Series 7 -Döner Kebab in Istanbul
From Athens, we flew to Istanbul and I tried to conceal the excitement that bubbled through me, as the plane landed at Atatürk International. The pleasures and aromas of Turkish cuisine, experienced previously only via television cookery shows and approximations eaten at Turkish restaurants at home and abroad, were about to become my reality.
I, notoriously, jumped off a tour bus, pulling my husband by the hand at the sight of the watermelon cart around the Sultanahmet gardens. Truth be told, the bus was stationary.
From baklava the Turkish way, lokum (Turkish delight), bagel shaped breads (simit), kebaps, kofta, fresh buffalo cream and Anatolian stews and salads, eating in Istanbul is a food explorer’s dream come true, and many visits are needed to do the cuisine justice.
A very special Döner Kebap (Kebab)
On a backstreets tour of the old city, we discovered Mr Murat in Emin. He makes döner kebap in a very special way. Our guide Claudia who has lived and eaten in Istanbul for most of her life, told us that she didn’t know of anyone who did it this way – layered with tomatoes and peppers. Normally döner consists of layers of meat only. Mr Murat also marinates the meat in onion juice for flavour and to impart moistness. He says he got the idea after a visit of Bodrum and acknowledges that only a few people in Istanbul prepare the döner in this painstaking fashion.
My Mini Beef Stacks based on the Döner Kebap
Back in my kitchen in Cape Town, I created these mini beef and pepper stacks, based on Mr Murat’s döner, using Mediterranean Delicacies red jalapeño, grilled peppers, onions, a smokey kebab spice from Istanbul and we dipped them in Mediterranean Delicacies creamy pepper dew dip.
It is advisable to marinade the meat in the onion juice if you have time. This makes a wonderful starter or add to your picnic basket or tapas board.
Makes 6 stacks
3 medium peppers (red, green & yellow)
300 g thin beef steak (schnitzel cut is ideal)
1/3 white or red onion finely grated or pureed (optional)
1 medium red onion, sliced thickly
6 Medi Deli red jalapeños
2 T smokey Turkish spice (subs with steak & chops spice)
olive oil for drizzling and frying
salt, to taste
1. Cut peppers in half and core. Flatten gently, pressing with your palm. Cut into approximately 3 cm squares (slightly bigger). Roast drizzled with olive oil on a greased baking tray at 180 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes on fan assist (to absorb moisture). Remove and allow to cool. Shrinkage is normal.
2. Cut the top and bottom ends of the jalapenos off. Cut along one side so that you have one sheath of jalapeño Fashion into two squares approximately the size of the roasted peppers. Repeat with remaining jalapeños.
3. Fry onions on each side on griddle pan with a generous splash of olive oil, just until griddle marks form.
4.Cut beef into 3 cm cubes. Coat in pureed onion and marinate for 2 hours or more (omit if in a hurry). Dip each side into the smokey spice. Oil a griddle pan and turn the stove to medium- high. Fry the meat for 30 seconds a side. Season with salt when you remove and set aside. (Turn heat up if necessary – you want the meat to sear not stew)
5. Work quickly while meat is warm. Arrange a stack as follows: beef, green pepper, jalapeño, beef, yellow pepper, jalapeño, red or green pepper,onion and beef. Skewer with a mini bamboo skewer. This is just a guide, you’re welcome to stack the layers however you feel. Repeat.
Sprinkle with sea salt and serve with Mediterranean Delicacies creamy pepper dew dip.
Article by Ishay Govender, aka the Food & The Fabulous - http://www.foodandthefabulous.com/recipes/mini-beef-and-pepper-stacks/