THE ADANA KEBAB ORIGINS
The people of Turkey prefer home style cooking and the making of an Adana Kebab or the ‘Adana’ is treated as if crafting a fine piece of art. The Turkish Kebab refers to an assortment of meat based dishes including grilled, skewered, and casseroles but according to folklore, a kebab is made from “meat, with no water, roasted inside a pan directly in fire”.
Unlike the shish kebab, that skewers and grills or fries both vegetables and different types of meat together, an authentic Turkish Adana kebab is made from young, less than one, male lambs that have been raised on local and natural fruits and vegetables. All other tissues are cleaned off completely and then cut into shanks. Maintaining a twenty percent ratio of fat to meat, the meat is rested for one day. Once rested, the fat and meat are ground by hand with a Zirh, an iron cleaver shaped in a crescent. Hand chopped fresh vegetables including sweet red peppers as well as onion, garlic cloves, parsley, and salt are added to the mixture, which is then kneaded to an even consistency.
TRADITIONAL COOKING AND SERVING
Once the mixture is complete, it is placed on iron skewers, approximately 35 to 48 inches long and just over 1 inch wide and suspended over an open, flame-less charcoal pit using oak wood. The skewers are turned often, but not allowed to touch the grilling surface. The meat is ready once it turns a dark brown, and the dripping fat is collected during the cooking process on pieces of flatbread. The flatbread also becomes part of the meal as a “Dürüm” or eaten separately on a plate as a “Porsiyon” with rice, peppers, and other vegetables. Juices containing yogurt, turnip, and hard Turkish liquors made from anise commonly accompany a meal.
In Southern and Eastern Turkey and in other countries, beef and chicken are sometimes used and spicier versions of Adana Kebabs are served, but the basic methods of preparation are closely followed. Chili powder, pepper, fresh mint, olive oil, citrus slices, and even sumac are added. Fast food versions have also become popular and the Adana Kebab is rolled in breads like pita. The Adana is a delicious traditional Turkish food that is now enjoyed worldwide.