Vaguely Turkish Kebabs

“…Granny’s Renault is old and rusty and French, and when you change gears it makes an ungodly racket, like an old Frenchman with a cough. Elsa knows that because sometimes, when Granny is driving Renault while smoking and eating a kebab, she only has her knees to steer with, and then she stamps on the clutch and shouts ‘NOW!’ and then Elsa has to change gear.

Elsa misses doing that.”

-Fredrik Backman,from My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises,  (the character, Elsa, is seven)


These kebabs are very vaguely based on some I tried when I was in Istanbul last year. They are a great favourite with the discerning Chief Taster, who thinks these are better than the original…juicy and full of flavour.

You will need to serve them with pitta bread (or some home-made flatbreads) and a sauce of some kind – tahini or romesco would both go well. Because of this (the need for the sauce) I wouldn’t recommend eating them whilst driving, as in the quote above. For no other reason, you understand.

If you plump for a yoghurty-tahini sauce, fried green peppers go well; if a romesco sauce, green beans and tomatoes would go well. They also go well with not-sauerkraut.

You can get away with no sauce if you serve it with a generously dressed salad.

This is what you have to do:


Recipe for vaguely Turkish kebabs

Serves 4


  • 1 banana shallot, peeled and chopped fine
  • 1 small red pepper, cored, deseeded and chopped fine
  • 450g/1 lb best quality sausagemeat (get from a reliable butcher – or Waitrose does a gourmet version)
  • ⅛ tsp dried chilli flakes – or more if you like heat
  • 1 beaten egg, if you need it
  • olive oil to moisten and to fry
  • smoked salt and Indonesian long pepper
  • four soaked wooden or bamboo skewers – or you can use metal


  1. In a medium mixing bowl mix together the meat, shallot and red pepper and season. If it looks as if it won’t bind together either add an egg, or blitz with the stick blender, or put in the Magimix.
  2. Cover with clingfilm and put in the fridge for half an hour.
  3. Divide the mixture into four and make each into a long sausage shape, push a soaked skewer through.
  4. Rub olive oil and fry, at high heat, on an oiled griddle pan… or you could grill if you prefer. You want it charred on the outside, and, of course, cooked through.


turkish kebabs


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