WHAT IS KEBAB?

HISTORY OF KEBAB

When doing researches about kebab, it's required to start from ''kebab'' word first of all. Root, meaning and definitions within the word kebab will guide us.

Looking at the definitions of the word ''kebab'' and meanings it takes in historical periods, it can be said that kebab exists since the moment fire was found.

Kebap means meat cooked drily directly on fire or within a pot according to the Turkish Language Association. (However, what we understand from today's definition kebab is that it includes tomato and pepper). According to the comments of the experts, people's waiting for the meat to be cooked around the fire when fire was found and used to cook meat, i.e. when the kebab was being cooked for the first time formed a basis for table culture.

In Sumerian language, the word kebab is derived from ''kabuba'' word meaning roasting. According to the some of the sources, kebab is a general definition for the Arabic-origin meat dishes. From these explanations, it's told that kebab comes to Anatolia from peasants who immigrated to Adana from Arabic countries to cultivate.

In addition to all these, some of the history books includes the information that Darius, king of Persia, used to make show of strength to his soldiers by spitting the roasted meat to a skewer before going to war. In that period, kebab, in other words roasted meat, was meant to be indicator for force and wealth. And kebab is used as pieces of meat spitted to the skewer. Through the human history, eating and drinking culture was developed by multi-staged transitions and kebab was also developed in that parallel.

In first nomadic societies, it's seen that people were collecting things and particularly the women tried to survive with the herbs they collected from the nature until they learned how to hunt. Men started hunting when their physical strength increased and they started to eat the meats they hunted without cooking and after the fire was found they begin to cook the meat with trial-and-error method. Accordingly, it can be said that usage of the spices was started before kebab.

When human began to sacrifice animals for god according to the beliefs of communities, techniques to eat and cook meats were started to increase. Technique for meat tenderizing and cutting into small pieces, as we call mince today, was also developed in that period. History of mince kebab is also dates back to ancient times...

It won't be wrong to say that kebab cooking technique was started in that period. Kebab within today's eating and drinking culture was started after the fire was found in the history of humanity and developed as usage of spices and meat cooking techniques increased. Mince type kebabs and vegetable kebabs were emerged in those periods and developed to take its form today. Existence of spices within the kebab dates back to older times as mentioned above.

When kebab is handled according to the historical periods, we see that it took its shape according to the conditions in that period.

KEBAB IN TURKISH CUISINE

Although kebab has an important place in Turkish cuisine, it has earned the position it deserves yet in recent years. Self-development of kebab restaurants and transformation into elegant restaurants in recent years and changes in presentation of kebabs had undoubtedly an impact on this. Kebab attracts the attention of important chiefs of world cuisines with its presentation besides its historical past and taste.

While arguments about red meat are still ongoing in recent times, experts tell that red meat is a very important food product if it's eaten continently, a very important food product thanks to its strengthening nature and serious problem can occur in case of its deficiency. Kebab becomes more healthily with accompanying vegetables and lettuces considering its presentation. Especially, onion and garlic accompanying the kebabs are used as natural antibiotics throughout four seasons recently. When we individually examine pomegranate syrup, fruits, vegetables used in other kebab types, kebab combination seems to be healthy.

KEBAB IN ANATOLIA

Rather, herbs collected in the regions are flavored with kebab. Such that, considering Southeastern Anatolia region, kebab is flavored with different spices even in physically very closed cities. For example; kebab names like Adana Kebab, Urfa Kebab, Antep kebab... And bitterness has also become determinant for kebab names in time. Hot kebab, normal kebab...etc.

Over time, legumes stepped in, one of them is Simit kebab (Oruk kebab) in which fine bulgur is added.

KEBAB IN OTTOMAN

One of the most important issue topics when talking about Ottoman Cuisine is whether court kitchen included kebab in Ottoman period or not. While ''Kebab'', as it bears in mind today, is served with meat and tomato, pepper, onion, parsley and sometimes with radish, kebab definition is much more different in Court Cuisine. There are justified reasons for being different as tomato, pepper was included in court cuisine years later. When looking at the sources, it's seen that they were included in the kitchens after Fatih period.

Again according to the printed sources, it's told that one of the kebabs included in Court Cuisine was Süd Kebab for which meat was cooked slowly through a skewer and in the meantime meat fat was pouring into the pot full of rice and thus rice was cooked as well.

Considering the ''kebab'' definition mentioned in the beginning of the text, it's enough to call it Kebab as the food was roasted and cooked meat. It's not required for all kebab plates to include tomato, pepper...etc.

In addition, one of the most interesting points regarding kebab in sources belonging to Ottoman Court Cuisine is that sometimes meat were spitted onto stem of the eggplant instead of skewer to cook kebab. Another example is kebab cooked by putting meat pieces onto stem of the bay leaves.

When today's cuisine cultures are analyzed, Kebab regionally belongs to a very wide geography and shows local and regional differences. Differences in cooking kebab have created kebab varieties. There are tens of kebab types due to the usage of vegetables, spices, lettuces and fruits. Some of them are; altı ezmeli kıyma kebabı, altı ezmeli kuşbaşı kebabı, çoban kebabı, domatesli kebap, patlıcan kebabı, soğan kebabı, sarımsak kebabı, ,keme kebabı, yeni dünya kebabı, elma kebabı, ekşili elma kebabı, ayva kebabı, mantar kebabı, kıyma kebabı, yoğurtlu kebap, kuşbaşı kebabı, terbiyeli kebap, simit kebabı, vişne kebabı.

KEBAB IN OUR DAY

When you speak of kebab in our day, kebab restaurants in cities and certain kebab names come to minds. However, when it's analyzed deeply, kebab is a cuisine culture containing certain values within itself. Even, kebab is a type of cooking form beyond the meat. Roasted chestnuts, cheese kebabs can be shown as example.

When kebab is examined based on the regions and cities, it's understood that kebab form made with materials used contains the regional culture within it. In Syria, especially in Aleppo, fruit usage in kebab forms is very common however it's seen that fruit usage in kebabs is very rare in cuisine cultures of Anatolia except for Gaziantep. It can be said that some of the similarities between Gaziantep and Aleppo cuisines is because of the proximity. It's seen that spices are more common in Adana and Urfa cuisines and in some regions, kebab differs from others by meat selection.

KEBAB IN GAZIANTEP CUISINE

One of the first cities that comes to mind when talking about kebab today is of course Gaziantep. As Gaziantep cuisine is the only cuisine remembered not only with kebab bu also with city name, it has a very wide food and beverage culture. In Gaziantep cuisine, kebab has a very important place; significant attention is shown to lettuce, piyaz and drinks to be serviced with kebab and spices used for kebab and cooking method as well. A conservative approach is applied for the kebabs in Gaziantep cuisine, it's certain which spice will be used for mince kebab, how long simit kebab will be cooked and which dressing of food will be used for kebab. Sustainability of conventionalism in these details shows the sensitivity in kebab making in Gaziantep cuisine.

In addition to all these, there are kebab types specially cooked by women in kitchens which are named accordingly in Gaziantep cuisine. Kazan kebabı, ekmek kebabı, gavur kebabı, ciğer kebabı, kamış kebabı, damat kebabı, parmak kebabı, Kilis kebabı, Halep kebabı, sebzeli kebap, fıstıklı kebap, hint kebabı, tas kebabı.

Role of the butchers in kebab making is very important in Gaziantep, for example; women buy appropriate meat when they say which kebab they will cook to the butchers, and even sometimes, kebab meat is bought from butcher. Women prepares kebab in tray at home and sends them to the bakery of the neighborhood to cook them.

CERTAIN KEY POINTS FOR KEBAB MAKING AND PREPARATION

PREPARATION OF KEBAB

  • Type of the meat used in kebab, resting of meat, type of dressing and correct meat selection according to the type of kebab are very important.
  • Meat and fat ratio should be well arranged according to the type of mince kebabs.
  • Kuşbaşı kebap is dried if it's waited on the skewer. Meat should be basted with water to be put on the meat.
  • Kebab will be delicious if it's not dried.
  • Black pepper should be added onto simit or vegetable kebabs.
  • For dressing of kebabs, powdered red power should be added instead of chili pepper.
  • There are many dressing types for kebabs. These materials are olive oil, milk, yogurt, onion, garlic, mixture spices and even vinegar.
  • Particularly, these materials used for kuşbaşı kebab change the taste of most kebabs.
  • Materials used for kebab like powdered red pepper, tomato sauces, cumin, garlic, onion, dry mint and olive oils should be used as required.
  • If the meat cubes (kuşbaşı) are hard to use in kebab, it should be marinated with yogurt a night before. The next day, desired dressing is made and kebab is cooked.
  • Mince meat for kebab should be grinded in chopper or first, in large threaded machine and then again in chopper.
  • When making kebab, if the meat is in the refrigerator, it's taken out and kept at ambient temperature.

KEBAB COOKING

  • Coal type to be used should be long lasting and fire flames should be adjusted.
  • Cubes of liver, chicken and mince kebabs should be cooked at fire with lower flames.
  • Onion, garlic and eggplant kebabs should be cooked with more powerful fires lacking flames. (Thus, vegetables are softened and cooked in kebabs)
  • Kebab is not cooked under lower oven heat. As it's required powerful heat, the food dries without cooking.
  • Before putting the kebab into the oven, warm water should be sprinkled to the face according to the type. Especially, more water should be sprinkled in onion and garlic kebabs.
  • Tomato and peppers should be positioned in the center when aligning the eggplant kebab on the tray. As skins of the eggplant burns rapidly, after aligning on the tray, if you apply slight amount of olive oil (1 table spoon) on the surface of the eggplants, risk of burning for the skins is reasonably decreased.
  • Simit kebab is spitted into the same skewer as to be cooked at barbecue and aligned on the tray by removing from the skewer without ruining its form.
  • Onion and garlic kebabs are lined and aligned as one meat and one vegetable.
  • For mince kebabs cooked at barbecue, fat of the meat melts down and partially spills onto barbecue. In oven, on the other hand, entire fat is remains on the tray and kebab gets heavier. Therefore, fat ratio in oven kebabs should be reasonably decreased.

PRESENTATION OF KEBAB

Particularly for Gaziantep Cuisine, usage of pomegranate syrup in some kebabs and serving turnip besides some kebabs...etc. It's definitely important which kebab will be eaten with which bread. For kebabs to be wrapped, sometimes thin bread is served and sometimes flat bread is served. Generally, kebabs are served with buttermilk drink.

Historical journey of red meat, i.e. kebab, was started with fire and has continued until today and we wish the sustainability of conventionalism in kebab cooking and taste and innovations are only made in presentation.

Besides being the most important representative of Gaziantep Cuisine, Sahan also has an important position with its kebabs. Sahan is conscious of responsibility for traditional foods and regional materials used in kebabs to catch the original tastes are provided from Gaziantep.

There are many kebab types in menu of Sahan but seasonal kebabs are also highly assertive as well. For example;

YENİ DÜNYA KEBABI (NEW WORLD KEBAB)

''New World Kebab'' which became a Sahan classic with cooking method and presentation form is produced from March to June. New World Kebab is combined with eggplant kebab and garlic kebab and served as Sahan Trio. Sahan Trio is a festival coming with spring.

SARIMSAK KEBABI (GARLIC KEBAB)

A kebab made with fresh garlic. It comes out at the same time with New World kebab and is produced similarly.

SOĞAN KEBABI (ONION KEBAB)

A very special kebab made in winter months. It's prepared with little onions coming out in November. Onion and mince are cooked at same skewer and left to transpiration with pomegranate syrup. It's eaten by wrapping into lavash bread. It's a taste definitely needs to be tried and beyond the expectations.

KEME KEBABI (KEME KEBAB)

Keme kebab is produced between March and June. Keme is a vegetable which is brittle when uncooked coming from southeastern region. When he spitted onto skewer to cook, it cracks. Therefore, custom-made keme bore bits are used and then they are spitted onto the skewer. Kebab is prepared with special mince grinded with knife and wrapped and eaten with onion piyaz.

ORUK KEBABI (ORUK KEBAB)

A kebab made with simit (fine bulgur), garlic, mint and spices.

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