If you’ve been following my recipes or Instagram account for a while, you’ll know I have a thing for Adana kebabs. It started (maybe?) with the late-night, fat-spitting, t-shirt stainer they sell in wraps at FM Mangal and now I’m constantly making them at home, be it in crispy kebab rolls, as this ‘yogurtlu’ version smothered in yoghurt and spiced butter, or the many straight-up, wrap-it-in-flatbread-with-salad iterations. The basic recipe – as recipes do – has constantly evolved.
This is the most up to date version and, I think, the best yet. Why? It’s a case of using the right amount of the red pepper paste so it’s pronounced but not bitter, plus I just really enjoy the mix of spices. Parsley stalks are pretty crucial too because they bring a slight crunch and pops of fresh flavour, while the leaves tend to get lost.
Method is important, so make sure you knead the meat mixture then chill it for a springier texture and to stop it falling off the skewers during cooking. Also, don’t make them too large because they won’t cook evenly. Keep the accompaniments fairly simple; yoghurt is essential and I also like to serve an onion, sumac and parsley salad, plus plenty of freshly made flatbreads. Yes, it’s worth making the flatbreads. A couple of people have asked me to do a flatbread tutorial on Instagram, so I’ll get around to that as soon as I can. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy these! Remember, guys: it’s never too cold to barbecue.
New Adana Kebab Recipe (makes 6 kebabs)
For the spice mix
1-inch cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon chilli flakes
Toast the whole spices (apart from the chilli flakes) in a dry frying pan until fragrant, then grind all the spices using a spice grinder.
For the kebabs
6 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon red pepper paste (biber salçası – available in Turkish shops such as The Turkish Food Centre)
2 tablespoons parsley stalks
400g minced lamb
2 teaspoons salt
Combine the garlic cloves and salt in a pestle and mortar and smoosh to a paste. Combine with a tablespoon of the spice mix, the red pepper paste, parsley stalks and minced lamb. Knead the meat in the bowl using your hands, as if you are kneading bread dough. Do this for a few minutes, then allow to rest in the fridge for a minimum of half an hour but if you can do this day before, even better.
Divide between 6 large skewers.
Cook the kebabs over direct heat on a barbecue. You know the drill here, right? Make sure your coals are properly ready, e.g. covered in a layer of grey ash before you start cooking. No flames. They’ll take around 3-4 minutes each side (it’s useful to have a pair of tongs on hand to turn them).
For the onion salad
Slice one onion and add the slices to a bowl of iced water for around 20 minutes or so. Combine with a good handful of chopped parsley leaves, some salt and a tablespoon of sumac.
For the flatbreads
I think you can’t beat fresh flatbreads with this. That recipe uses spices but you can just leave them out (as I did).