The Adana Kebab

The Adana kebab is a popular Turkish kebab that can be bought from many Turkish restaurants, fast food shops and eateries throughout Turkey. Go to any traditional Turkish restaurant and take a look at the menu and you are sure to see this spicy meat dish, and after trying one of these delicious traditional Turkish kebabs you will soon see why it is such a popular dish. The further south and east you go in Turkey, i.e. the closer you get to the Arab countries, the more spicy the Adana kebabs will be. The south and the east of Turkey, i.e. the areas in the Eastern Mediterranean, consider a spicy version of this particular food to be a specialty of the region.

A truly authentic Turkish Adana contains a lot of tail fat, which makes it very moist and juicy. It is not possible to replicate the authentic kebab exactly, however it is possible to make a homemade version that is close to the real thing. My homemade spicy Adana is quick and very easy to make. Whilst you don’t need any special equipment or culinary skills to make my homemade meat kebab you do need to know your way around the kitchen, but you don't need to be a cordon blue chef by any means.

So, what ingredients are in the homemade spice kebab? In order to make this tasty dish you will need one kilogram of minced lamb, two onions, three chili peppers, three cloves of garlic, a bunch of parsley, chili powder, sumac, salt and black pepper. All the ingredients are readily available from all stores so you can’t use the excuse “I couldn’t get the ingredients” for not making this tasty meal.

The first step in making my version is to finely chop the onions, seed the chili peppers and finely chop, crush the garlic cloves and chop the parsley. The type of chilies need depends on how spicy you like it. If you want a really hot and spicy bit of meat you can use powerful chilies, such as a Scotch Bonnet or the crazy hot naga or ghost chili. If you want a more sedate and less spicy bit of meat you need less powerful chilies.

Once the ingredients have been chopped and prepared the next step is to place the minced lamb, the onions, the chilies, the garlic and the parsley in to a mixing bowl. Next you need to add one or two teaspoons of chili powder (depending on how hot you want your kebab to be), two teaspoons of sumac, one teaspoon of salt and one teaspoon of black pepper to the mix.

With all the ingredients in the bowl it is time to get your hands in there and start to knead the fragrant mixture of meat and spices until it makes nice and smooth dough like paste. At this stage in the process it is important to ensure all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed in. Once the meaty paste is made you need to place it in a fridge for at least fifteen minutes. I must stress that fifteen minutes is the bare minimum and I tend to leave the mixture in the fridge for three to five hours.

My homemade version of this traditional Turkish meat dish versatile kebab that can be tweaked and tailored to suit all tastes. If you like really spicy Turkish food and grilled meat you can increase the amount of chilies or use a very hot variety of chilies. If you like a lot of garlic you can increase the amount of garlic and if you are particularly fond of onion you can increase the amount of onion (you can even use whatever type of onion you like and whilst I prefer to use red onions brown onion works just as well). There are no hard and fast rules when making the Adana kebab and the proportions of ingredients used is entirely up to you.

The next stage in the process is to mold the paste around some skewers for cooking. Wooden bamboo skewers are not suitable for my spicy meat kebabs, neither are the metal round skewers. The perfect meat skewer needs to be flat since this will hold the spicy meaty paste during the cooking process. So, once you have some flat metal skewers you need to take the meat paste and divide it in to eight separate balls. Take a ball of the spicy meat paste and mold it evenly around the flat metal skewer. Once all the paste has been molded around the metal skewers you need to put them back in the fridge for a further hour or so.

Some homemade Adana kebabs ready to be grilled on the barbecue.

The Adana kebab ready to be grilled

The best way of cooking the kebabs is to grill them on a charcoal barbecue, although you can use a gas BBQ if you wish. When grilling the meat over a charcoal barbecue you need to lightly brush some oil over the meat to stop it from sticking to the grill and burning. The skewers need to be regularly turned during the cooking process to ensure they are fully cooked all the way through.

An alternative way of cooking the Adana kebabs is to place them under the grill of a conventional oven. Once again, you need to brush a light coat of oil over the Adana kebab and regularly turn them during the cooking process. Grilling the Adana kebabs in this manner is excellent for those times when it is to cold, or dark, to have a charcoal barbecue. Cooking Adana kebabs in this manner allows you to enjoy the Adana kebabs all year around.

Some spicy Adana kebabs on the barbecue, which is by far the best way of cooking this traditional Turkish food.

An Adana kebab on the grill

The Adana meat kebabs can be eaten on their own, however for a truly authentic Turkish cuisine experience you should serve them with some rice, a couple of long sweet peppers (the choice of red or green sweet peppers is entirely up to you) and some green salad complete with chopped tomato and onion rings. The long peppers can be eaten raw however they are best cooked on the barbecue or under the grill whilst you are cooking the meat. An alternative to the rice and vegetables is to take the spicy meat off the skewers and put it in some pita bread along with some shredded lettuce, red cabbage, onion rings and chili sauce. Alternatively put the meat on a flat bread, such as a chapati, and serve with the vegetables. Both ways of eating the this Turkish meat dish are exceptionally tasty.

As you can see making the spicy Adana kebab is very quick and easy to do. So, next time you light the coals and have a family cookout or barbecue and want to cook something different and original, make some of these and impress your family and friends.

Have an Adana kebab outside in the sunshine

Char-Broil Classic 4-Burner Gas Grill
Amazon Price: $199.99 $50.00 Buy Now
(price as of Mar 16, 2016)
One of the best ways to cook an Adana kebab is on the BBQ, and with this awesome BBQ there are no excuses. With the Char-Broil grill you won't only impress your friends and family with your delicious Adana kebabs but also your awesome BBQ.

Don't forget your tools

If you want to BBQ some Adana kebabs you need the right tools, otherwise they will end up a mess on the plate, which won't look very good. This Cuisinart set includes all the BBQ tools you'll ever need, and they not only look impressive but they are also tough, durable and more than capable for any BBQ chef. A great set of BBQ tools at a great price.