Iskender Kebab

Embark on a culinary journey with #TurkishDelight! 🇹🇷 Indulge in the timeless flavours of tender meat, tangy sauce, and creamy yogurt—a feast for the senses! 🥙✨ Experience the rich flavours and captivating history of Iskender Kebab, a Turkish culinary masterpiece featuring succulent döner meat, tangy tomato sauce, creamy yogurt, and warm pita bread.

Let’s embark on a journey through the tantalizing world of Iskender Kebab, a Turkish culinary masterpiece that captivates the senses and tells a story of tradition, innovation, and unforgettable flavour.

Originating in the vibrant city of Bursa, Turkey, Iskender Kebab owes its creation to the visionary İskender Efendi, a luminary of Ottoman cuisine in the late 19th century. Drawing inspiration from the beloved döner kebab, İskender Efendi elevated the culinary landscape by ingeniously layering thinly sliced meat atop warm pita bread, bathing it in a luscious tomato sauce, and crowning it with creamy yogurt and melted butter. Thus, Iskender Kebab was born—a symphony of textures and tastes that continues to enchant palates around the globe.

Named after its ingenious creator, İskender Kebab has evolved from a regional delicacy to a beloved national treasure in Turkey. The İskenderoğlu family, descendants of İskender Efendi, proudly uphold his legacy at their eponymous restaurant in Bursa, where the magic of Iskender Kebab comes to life with each sizzling serving. What sets this dish apart is not just its exquisite flavours but also its theatrical presentation—the spectacle of hot tomato sauce cascading over tender meat and buttery bread is a feast for the eyes as much as it is for the palate.

At its heart, Iskender Kebab is a celebration of simple yet sublime ingredients. The succulent döner kebab, lovingly spiced and expertly sliced, takes centre stage, complemented by the tangy richness of tomato sauce, the coolness of yogurt, and the comforting warmth of freshly baked pita bread. While the traditional recipe remains cherished, modern variations abound, offering tantalizing twists such as chicken or beef substitutions and innovative additions like grilled vegetables.

As for my personal rendezvous with Iskender Kebab, it was a culinary odyssey I won’t soon forget. Nestled in the heart of Brisbane, Mado Turkish Restaurant beckoned with promises of authentic flavours and immersive experiences. While the spectacle of pouring butter may have been absent, the vibrant energy of belly dancing filled the air (yes, they have it in that restaurant on Fridays and Saturdays), adding an extra layer of delight to an already unforgettable meal. With each bite, I was transported back to Turkey, savouring the rich flavours and tender meat—a testament to the timeless allure of Iskender Kebab. After that experience, I’ve been eager to recreate it in my own kitchen. Although it’s been six years, I believe there’s no time like the present to finally make it happen.

Iskender Kebab is more than just a dish—it’s a journey through history, culture, and culinary craftsmanship. Whether enjoyed in the bustling streets of Bursa, the vibrant dining halls of Brisbane or even at the comfort of your own home, its legacy lives on, inviting us to partake in a taste of tradition and a slice of Turkish hospitality.

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Iskender Kebab

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  • Author: Raymund
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 35 mins
  • Category: Main Course
  • Cuisine: Turkish

Description

Experience the rich flavours and captivating history of Iskender Kebab, a Turkish culinary masterpiece featuring succulent döner meat, tangy tomato sauce, creamy yogurt, and warm pita bread.

 


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 600 g lamb or beef döner kebab meat, thinly sliced
  • 4 pita bread rounds, sliced into bite sized squares
  • 1 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 400 g can chopped Roma tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • olive oil
  • grilled large green chillies, to serve

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C. Place the pita bread rounds on a baking sheet and warm them in the oven for 5 minutes, or until they are heated through and slightly crispy on the edges.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and sliced onion, and sauté until the onion is soft and translucent.
  3. Add the chopped Roma tomatoes, tomato paste, paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper to the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes.
  4. In a separate skillet, heat the döner kebab meat over medium-high heat until it is heated through.
  5. While the meat is heating, melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat.
  6. To assemble the Iskender Kebab, place the sliced warmed pita bread on serving plates. Top it with a portion of the heated döner kebab meat.
  7. Spoon some of the tomato sauce over the meat, followed by a dollop of plain yogurt.
  8. Drizzle the melted butter over the yogurt.
  9. Serve with grilled green chillies on the side.

Notes

If you don’t have döner kebab meat, you can grill lamb or beef over a charcoal grill then thinly slice for use in this recipe

 

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4 Responses

  1. Kebab is one our favourites. Turkish food is very popular over here.Yours looks authentic and very delicious.

  2. What a beautiful plate of food! The sauce looks great, too. And the Turkish people do wonders with yogurt!

  3. Kebabs are one of the most delicious dishes from Turkish cuisine (although it’s nearly impossible to pick only a few favourite – such a rich cuisine!) Pair this with some hearty flatbread (of course, Turkish, too), and that would be a perfect meal!

  4. Hannah says:

    Such a simple yet richly flavorful marinade! I would put that over anything. I bet it would be great loosened up with some vegetable stock an turned into a soup or stew, too. Sounds like an idea to investigate in person soon… 😉

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