Dish of the day: Kebab
We’ve all been there. A late night out and about to head home when we see that glowing sign up ahead: Doner Kebab. The juicy meat, the creamy garlic sauce – our mouths are watering. And what better time to indulge in Kebab than when the World Kebab Day is coming up!
History of the kebab
The kebab dates back thousands of years – to the year 1377 and originally comes from Turkey, but it wasn’t exactly the kebab we know now and love. Soldiers used to grill small pieces of freshly hunted animals, skewed on swords over an open fire and that’s where the concept of a ‘kebab’ came from. In Arabic, the word ‘kebab’ means ‘to burn’. The roots of the kebab can be found in both Asian and African countries and all kebabs are cooked differently and served in various ways.
Popular kebabs from around the world
Traditionally, the meat used in a kebab is lamb, but this can vary according to the country it is being cooked in. Chicken, goat, beef, and fish are also common meats used. All kebabs are marinated in different ways, but in general, the main ingredients of the marinade include lemon juice, olive oil, milk and yoghurt, onion juice, cinnamon, wild marjoram, tomato and juice, and various spices.
Shish kebab – the most famous and most internationally known kebab, also known as the doner kebab. The word ‘doner’ means ‘rotating’ because the doner kebab is roasted or grilled on a vertical rotating spit. It is thought by some that the doner kebab came from a Turkish man named Kadir Nurman. Nurman migrated from Turkey to Stuttgart in Germany in 1960, then moved to Berlin some years later. It was here that he noticed the lack of quick and substantial meals for German workers to eat at lunchtime. Nurman simply wrapped a kebab in a bread called ‘durum’, made it portable and the rest is history. But others, say the doner was born in Turkey itself. Either way, we are glad it was created!
Adana kebab – named after the Turkish city, Adana, the Adana kebab only uses four ingredients; meat, fat, sweet red peppers and salt. Traditionally, the meat used must be a male lamb under the age of one that has been raised in its natural environment and has only eaten local plants, but in this modern era, the recipe has been adapted.
In India, the kebab is seen as a sign of ‘opulence’ which was once only eaten by royalty.
Shami kebab – came to India in the Mughal era by cooks from the Middle East who were chefs for the royal family. This kebab is a combination of meat, chickpeas, and spices and is shaped into patties and fried.
Galouti kebab – is a mix of finely ground lamb, mutton or goat mixed with raw papaya and a mix of spices. This kebab is also shaped into patties and fried. People often refer to this particular kebab as ‘melting in your mouth’.
The Greeks love their kebabs and it is a main part of the Mediterranean cuisine.
Gyros – is Greece’s equivalent of the Turkish doner kebab, though it is usually made from chicken. Gyros can be served rolled up in pita bread with sauces and salads or served in a sandwich with fried potatoes.
Souvlaki – is a popular fast food in Greece. Small cubes of meat are marinated, skewered and chargrilled and can be served on their own as a snack in pita bread with sauces and vegetables.
Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia:
These Asian countries have their own take on the kebab. They like to marinate their meat (usually chicken) in satay sauce and grill them over hot flames.
Where to find kebab in Singapore
There are lots of restaurants and cafes in Singapore that serve tender kebab. Check out Marmaris Restaurant, Original Sin and Kebab Station. They all serve juicy kebab at a moderate price and are rated highly on foodpanda.