Spicy Kofte Kebab

The Turkish Cookbook

Spicy Kofte Kebab. Photography by Toby Glanville (page 207)

Vibrant, bold, and aromatic, Turkish food—from grilled meats, salads, and gloriously sweet pastries to home-cooking family staples such as dips, pilafs, and stews—is beloved around the world.

The Turkish Cookbook is compiled by Musa Dagdeviren, the country’s most renowned culinary figure and the leading authority on Turkey’s unique food traditions, as featured in the Netflix documentary series Chef’s Table.

Wrapped in a handsome linen case with gold stamping, this is the first book to so thoroughly showcase the diversity of Turkish food, with 550 recipes for the home cook that celebrate Turkey’s remarkable European and Asian culinary heritage—from little-known regional dishes to those that are globally recognized and stand the test of time, be they lamb kofte kebabs, tahini halva, or pistachio baklava.

This volume also includes an introduction showcasing the culinary cultural history of the country, insightful headnotes, stunning photography of finished dishes and atmospheric images evoking the beauty and diversity of the Turkish landscape, environment, markets, and people.


The Turkish Cookbook is available
at Amazon.com and Amazon.ca



Spicy Kofte Kabab

Region: Adana, all regions

Preparation time: 25 minutes, plus 10 minutes chilling

Cooking time: 25 minutes

Serves: 4


This dish is known as ‘Adana kebab’ in the big cities. The same technique applies to the version without chilli(chile), which is known as ‘mild kofte kebab’. If you don’t have a zırh (a curved cleaver), combine the lamb shoulder, lamb brisket, salt and fat and put through a meat mincer (grinder). If you don’t have a barbecue, you can use a regular grill (broiler). You will need 5 long cast-iron skewers or 10 regular wooden skewers (soaked).


For the kebab mixture:

• 60 g / ⅜ cup / 2¼ oz onion, finely sliced
• 1 fresh chilli (chile), finely sliced
• 1 ½ tbsp dried chilli (red pepper) flakes
• ⅛ tsp black pepper
• 400 g / 14 oz lamb shoulder, trimmed of sinew, finely chopped with a zirh (a curved cleaver)
• 100 g / 3 ½ oz lamb brisket, trimmed of sinew, finely chopped with a zirh (a curved cleaver)
• 100 g / scant ½ cup/3 ½ oz tail fat or ghee


For the salsa:

• 60 g / ⅜ cup/ 2 ¼ oz onion, sliced
• 1 red bell pepper, sliced
• 1/2 bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
• 2 tsp ground sumac
• 300 g / 1 ½ cups/11 oz tomatoes, sliced
• 2 fresh mint sprigs, finely chopped
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• ¼ tsp salt
• 4 Tirnakli Ekmek (Pide Flatbread)
• 8 banana peppers (mild sweet peppers)



Prepare a barbecue for cooking or preheat a grill (broiler) to high.

To make the kebab mixture: 

Mix the onion, chilli (chile), dried chilli (red pepper) flakes, black pepper, cumin and salt in a large bowl for 1 minute, until well combined. Add the lamb shoulder, brisket and tail fat or ghee and gently mix for 5 minutes. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.

To make the salsa:

Mix the onion, red bell pepper, parsley, sumac, mint, tomatoes, olive oil and salt in a large bowl for 2 minutes. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Take the kebab mixture out of the fridge.

If using long cast-iron skewers and a barbecue:

Divide the kebab mixture into 4 pieces. Mould each piece on to a cast-iron skewer to make a 15-cm (6-inch) flattened roll and squeeze the two ends firmly. Thread the banana peppers on to another skewer. Set the skewers 8 cm (3 inches) above the hot barbecue embers and cook for 3 minutes on each side, turning them every 30 seconds.

If using wooden skewers and a regular grill:

Divide the mixture into 8 pieces and make the kebabs slightly shorter, about 10 cm (4 inches), and thread the banana peppers on to 2 skewers. Grill (broil) for 5–6 minutes on each side, turning as required.

Add the flatbreads to the barbecue or grill and cook for 2 minutes, turning them every 30 seconds.

Quarter the flatbreads lengthwise and divide among serving plates. Use the bread to draw off the meat and the peppers from the skewers and transfer to the plates. Serve with the salsa.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Phaidon.

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