An Easy Iskender Kebap Recipe: The Jewel of Turkish Cuisine!
Horns up, and welcome back to another quick recipe! We are traveling to Turkey through our taste buds today. How? Well, by making Iskender Kebap for my dad and me.
I first had this delicious Kebap when I was visiting Turkey for a holiday last year. It was part of the food tour my wife and I did with Yummy Istanbul.
Not only was I mesmerized by the culture, but the food was to die for. We visited numerous local stores and street food vendors to taste the true Turkish flavors. Cheese, olives, scrambled eggs, different spreads, sweets, tea, simit and obviously kebaps – You name it, they had it!
That trip definitely inspired me to make the incredible and well-loved Doner kebap. Check out that recipe on my channel. Since I already had this in my freezer, I thought to myself – Why not try making Iskender Kebap? And here we are!
A Brief Story of the Iskender Kebap
This type of kebap is best served as a main dish. Traditionally, it had a thin bread base with tomato sauce and kebap pieces. It was then doused with melted brown butter and eaten with yogurt. When I ate this in Turkey last year, it was served on a heated metal plate to keep it nice and warm (and I also don’t know if anyone wants to pour boiling melted butter on a plate).
The origin of this dish dates back to 1867, when it was first created. The name Iskender Kebap came from its creator, Iskender Efendi. The Efendi family ran a kebap business for more than 100 years in Bursa and claimed the copyright of the Iskender name. But there was a whole thing that I personally found amusing.
The Greeks opposed trademark registration because they claimed that Iskender was a reference to Alexander the Great. Now, the best part is how the family retaliated. They simply stated the obvious – The dish was created and named after their grandfather!
The Alternatives and Tips!
My love for Turkish food has always been on full display. You can find numerous recipes on my blog if you want to try something else. For the Iskender Kebap recipe, I could give you a few alternatives, but I recommend sticking to the basic ingredients mentioned.
Well, technically, Turkish food tastes the best when it’s authentic.
But, as an alternative to the chilis, you can use bell peppers or skip them completely. When it comes to using bread, I used Pita because it’s the standard. But you can use Naan bread or anything that substitutes the Pita texture and taste.
You can also use different veggies, but the tomato is nice and bright and helps cut through the fattiness of the dish. As mentioned earlier, I highly recommend using doner meat, but you can use any type of kebap. (It won’t have the same taste, though!)
That’s all I can think of. Happy cooking!
What is brown butter?
When you melt butter and continue to heat it, the milk solids in the butter start to caramelize and turn brown. This is what gives brown butter a very nutty and unique taste. That’s what is used a lot in cookies, pasta dishes etc to give you more depth of flavour. When making brown butter it is very important to keep a close eye on the butter as it can go from brown butter to BURNT butter very quickly. Even when you remove the pan from the heat as long as the pan is hot the butter will continue to cook. So if you are making brown butter to store or use later then remove it from the hot pan. In this recipe it goes straight from the pan on to the plate so hopefully you have nothing to worry about.
So another fun fact is when you are making ghee you are basically removing these milk solids from the butter and that turns butter into ghee. Which is why you can heat ghee to much higher temperatures and it won’t burn. So that’s my little cooking lesson to you for the day.
How to Cook the Best Iskender Kebap at Home?
This is an incredible dish that I fell in love with last year. It basically has sizzling brown butter poured over fried doner meat and some veggies. Definitely, a kebap dish worth trying!
My father took a bite of it, and he had a Deja Vu moment. It took him back to Turkey, where he had the best time and holiday. I was so glad I could give him a chance to travel back to Turkey in his memories with just one bite. It was the greatest compliment.
So, are you ready for a heavenly Turkish ride with the Iskender Kebap?
Make it Keto/Low carb by swapping out the pita for Keto bread!
Cooking Iskender Kebap at Home
- 4 Chilis
- 1 piece Pita bread
- 150 grams Doner meat
- 1 tsp Oil
- 5 Tomato Slices
- 60 grams Yogurt
- 1 tbsp Butter
- Roast 4 pieces of chilis on the stove till they get charred. Once done, keep them aside. Then, take 1 piece of store-bought Pita bread and cut it into small cubes or pieces.
- Get your Doner kebap meat from the freezer and slice it up.
- In a pan, heat up some oil and add the kebap meat. Fry those bad boys till they get nice and crispy. Once they’ve turned golden brown, remove them.
- Now, it’s time to assemble everything. On a cast-iron plate, place your Pita bread in the middle. Add some sliced tomatoes on one side and a big scoop of unsweetened yogurt on the other. Now, on top of the Pita bread, place the chilis and the kebaps.
- Heat another pan and add some butter. Keep melting the butter till it turns brown and sizzling. It will have a toasty taste. After that, all you have to do is pour in that delicious melted butter on top of the kebap.
- And, enjoy!