Sunday, May 3, 2009

Döner kebabs

My hunt for a döner kebab recipe has turned up some interesting stuff! This little bit is from here:

Döner kebab (döner kebap in Turkish) literally means "rotating grilled meat" (any type of meat applies). The first döner kebabs were developed in Berlin by Turkish immigrants for the sake of fitting the food and taste Germans are used to. Authentic Turkish döner is made from lamb; regardless, mostly beef or a mix of beef and lamb is used in Europe. This article has the recipe for a complete European-style pita kebab.
And here's the recipe, straight from the same webpage (just in case you didn't see the link the first time...). I've never had it with a tomato-based sauce, so I'm thinking it's the "Iskender sauce" that I've had.

Ingredients (four-pounder)

Two-pounder portion

  • 1 kg (21/4 lb.) of ground beef (or other minced meat)
  • 5½ tbsp. of chicken salt/season salt
  • 3 tbsp. of black pepper (amount depends on taste preference)

One-pounder portion

  • 500 g (1 lb.) of ground beef (or other minced meat)
  • 2½-3 tbsp. of chicken salt/season salt
  • 1½ tbsp. of black pepper (amount depends on taste preference)

If you want, you can add other spices like chili, cayenne, garlic, BBQ sauces etc.


  1. Mix all the ingredients into a farce-like chunk.
  2. Use a mixer or your hands to get air out of the chunk.
  3. Optionally, you can make a hole with a knife to the chunk so that excess fat can drain out.
  4. Wrap it tightly in aluminum foil, and use more than two layers of foil (so it will not rupture).
  5. Put it into the oven and set the temperature to 100 °C (210 °F).
  6. Let it cook for 4 hours.
    Note: 4 hours applies to any size. Let's say, if you want a 1 kg chunk (half of the original portion), you should NOT leave it for 2 hours, 4 hours apply for every size. The idea is that it gets cooked slowly.
  7. When it is done, remove it from the oven, open the foil, and let it cool down. If you did everything correctly, you should be able to use a shredder or a knife to cut it in thin slices.


Kebab is never perfect without sauce or a dressing! Here are a couple of sauces that go with kebab:

Iskender-style dressing

(Optional seasoning for taste)

Tomato sauce dressing

  • 1 can of tomato purée (70 g or 2½ oz.)
  • ½-1 tsp. of salt
  • ½-1½ tsp. of white pepper
  • ½-1½ tsp. of black pepper
  • 1 tsp. of basil
  • pinch of oregano
  • ketchup (amount depends on preference)


Main article: Pita

You can either wrap the fillings into a reel or make it into a sandwich, with pita bread. You may want to make the pita slightly thinner if wrapping into a reel. If you want a relatively big kebab, then make the breads into a diameter of about 30 cm (12"). Pita Bread is more popular to Lebanese Bread


A salad consisting of tomatoes, pickles, cucumbers, and Chinese cabbage with mayonnaise is probably the most common salad eaten with kebab in Europe. There are tons of variations, of course. If you want a healthy choice, make sure you balance the cereals class (pita), meat class (kebab), and vegetable class (salad) well! You can also add chile peppers, jalapeño, red onions and such for the salad to fit your taste!


There are several ways and styles to serve döner. Here are a few:

  • Sandwich-style
    Slice the pita bread from the middle, then lay the salad, kebab and dressings like you would do with a hamburger.
  • Reel-kebab
    The roll wrap for a reel-kebab can be done using the same technique as for burritos (using pita bread).
  • Kebab pizza
    Simply prepare a pizza and top it with kebab.
  • Kebab with rice
    Fill roughly over a half of a plate with kebab, and the rest with cooked rice. Dress with ketchup or any of the sauce recipes mentioned in this article.
  • Kebab with chips
    Same as kebab with rice except that the rice has been replaced by chips (a.k.a French fries).


  1. JAMIE said...
    this looks delicious! Please tell me what you think of it once you make it!
    Heidi said...
    The Iskender sauce is similar to our tzatziki sauce but ours has diced cucumbers instead of basil. I may have to try it with basil sometime! Or dill would be yummy...

    3T of salt for one pound of meat sounds like a lot! I bet that's why they were so good...

    Have you tried Alton Brown's fries? I seem to remember he had a recipe to make homemade ones that were big like the German ones. I like them with the curry ketchup but I've not tried making that yet. Someday. :)

    How are these different from gyros? The meat seems similar, and the sauce...
    Abby Hanson said...
    Heidi, I know that gyros and doner kebabs are pretty similar. However, I've always enjoyed doner kebabs more -- so there must be something different! Maybe the cucumbers in the sauce makes a big difference. And I know the breads can be a little different. One's greek and one's turkish. I wonder if the sauces they sell at stands and restaurants work the way salsa does with Mexicans. Every family in Mexico has their own way of doing salsa, enchilada sauce, and moli. I wouldn't be surprised if it all comes down to the sauce!

    I have NOT tried Alton's fries. They sound like they'd be a perfect side dish for this meal though. :)
    Trishelle said...
    Wow! These look and sound amazing! Seriously, you rock!! I'm soooo trying this! Hey! Happy Anniversary, kind of early! We love you and are so glad we get to share those happy days with you!
    Emily said...
    abby, i've been so behind on your blog! loved catching up! that is so exciting you're coming to LA! We're in Irvine, 30 mins south of disneyland so we've got to be pretty close right? I also loved reading about your girls changing roles, how sweet. I want more kids. . . and how cool that Autumn can change diapers.

Post a Comment