Results tagged “kebabs”

Andalucian pinchitos morunos

These spicy kebabs are popular in Andalucia and originate from the era when the Moors occupied Spain.  It works superbly with pork, chicken or lamb.  Marinate the meat as far in advance as possible.  This recipe is adapted from one in the fantastic Moro restaurant cookbook.

Barnaby gets the hump


Barnaby's not speaking to us. He's making a silent protest against our decision to eat camel brochettes today. (They were delicious, especially the chunks of hump fat.)

Normally he's quite keen to try new things. But back in Merzouga on the edge of the desert he met Leila, who carried him gracefully through the dunes. He rather liked Leila.


So when he saw huge hunks of camel meat hanging up outside the butchers' shops here in the Western Sahara, he was less than impressed.

Poor Barnaby. Maybe we'll try to cheer him up tonight with some local oysters. As far as we know he's never befriended any bivalves.

(Find out more about the popularity camel meat here.)

Kebabs we have known and loved

It would be a gross misrepresentation to suggest that Turkish food is all about kebabs.  It really isn't.  Sure, they're famous - ask the average man in the UK street to name a Turkish dish, and he'll probably tell you about döner kebabs.  (Fair enough - nothing else tastes quite so good when all the pubs have shut.)  But as we've discovered, Smurfakebab0001.jpg Turkish cuisine is really all about everything but kebabs - the finely spiced Ottoman rice dishes, the seafood of the north, the spices and sweets of the south-east, the olive-oil-braised vegetables and wild herbs of the Aegean. Don't get me started.

But having said that, there's a lot of kebabs in Turkey.  And sooner or later, you're going to end up eating one.  And there's a lot more variation - and flavour - in the kebab world than you might think.  Some of them, in fact, are downright delicious.  So to help you find the best and avoid the less desirable, here's our all-time top most tasty kebab list.

Turkey II: Syria (nearly) to Greece

Smmountainpass0001.JPGAfter our epic journey to Erzurum, we had a very long day's drive ahead of us to get to Mardin and the south-east.  Partly because it's quite a long way; partly because we took quite a roundabout route.  But also because as well as getting stopped by the police as usual, we started getting stopped by the army.  This is PKK country: villages have military watchtowers, and roads have frequent checkpoints.  (Perhaps a bit like Northern Ireland in the 1970s, but with more kebabs.) There's a fair amount of traffic, though, so you'd have thought they'd have seen someone like Anna driving a Land Rover before, but apparently not: once the first soldier saw who was at the wheel, he immediately called the rest of the squad over for a laugh.

But it was definitely worth the drive.  Not only was the south-east probably the highlight of the trip (although it's a close call), we went on from that to see the centre and the coast in ways that most tourists don't get to do - mostly because of the people we met.

So read on for stories of underground ovens, underwater cities, pizzas as long as Anna is tall, and ice cream you eat with a knife and fork.

Sensitive balls

Smiclikofteplated0001.JPGIt’s not all tea and candy in Turkey of course, and meat is a very important part of the diet for most Turks.  Of course practically no pork - which was a nice change for us after our pork ‘n’ lard fest in central and eastern Europe. 

Beef and lamb are the most common red meats, with beef overtaking lamb, especially in the west, due to the increase of factory farming and hence smaller price tag.  (Lower price in terms of pennies from the customer’s pocket that is, not cost to their health, the cows’ wellbeing or the environment, of course…) 

And there’s plenty of chicken too, but we found those dishes less interesting.  So I'm not writing about them here.  Instead you can find out about 'sensitive balls'...

Meatballs, kebabs and more vowels

Smbaklavaci-kofteci.jpgWell, after my initial excitement about Hungarian and its way with vowels, I've been even more excited to be surrounded by people speaking Turkish.  As with Hungarian, it's unrelated to any of the European languages I have experience with, so most of the words are unrecognisable (although there's some noticeable French influence which makes a few things a bit easier), and the basic structure is very different too (verbs go at the end, for example). 

Importantly, this means it manages to rival Hungarian in the unguessability of its word for "wine": I think şarap is just as hard to spot as bor for an English-speaker; although "beer" comes as the disappointingly obvious bira rather than Hungarian's near-unbeatable sör.

Even more excitingly, there's vowel harmony here too.  But it's even better


Culinary Anthropologist