Döner Kebab
Döner kebab.jpg
A Döner Kebab
Place of origin Turkey
Dish details
Course served Main course
Serving temperature Hot
Main ingredient(s) Meat, bread
Sturgeon kebabs being cooked in Turkmenistan

Kebab ( or kabab, kabob, kebap[1]) is a wide variety of meat dishes originating in Persia[2][3] and later on adopted by the Middle East, and Asia Minor, and now found worldwide. In English, kebab with no qualification generally refers more specifically to shish kebab served on the skewer.[3] In the Middle East, however, kebab includes grilled, roasted, and stewed dishes of large or small cuts of meat, or even ground meat; it may be served on plates, in sandwiches, or in bowls. The traditional meat for kebab is lamb, but depending on local tastes and taboos, it may now be beef, goat, chicken, pork; fish and seafood; or even vegetarian foods like falafel or tofu. Like other ethnic foods brought by travellers, the kebab has become part of everyday cuisine in many countries around the globe.



The origin of kebab may lie in the short supply of cooking fuel in the Near East, which made the cooking of large foods difficult, while urban economies made it easy to obtain small cuts of meat at a butcher's shop.[4] The phrase is essentially Persian in origin and Arabic tradition has it that the dish was invented by medieval persian soldiers who used their swords to grill meat over open-field fires.[5] According to Ibn Battuta, a Moroccan traveller, in India, kebab was served in the royal houses during the Delhi Sultanate period(1206-1526 AD), and even commoners would enjoy it for breakfast with naan.[6] The dish has been native to the Near East[4] and ancient Greece since antiquity; an early variant of kebab (Ancient Greek: ὀβελίσκος - obeliskos[7]) is attested in Greece since 8th century BCE (archaic period) in Homer's Iliad[8] and Odyssey[5] and in classical Greece, amongst others in the works of Aristophanes,[9] Xenophon[10] and Aristotle.[11] Excavations held in Akrotiri on the Greek island of Santorini by professor Christos G. Doumas, unearthed stone sets of barbecue for skewers (Ancient Greek: κρατευταί - krateutai[12]) used before the 17th century BCE. In each pair of the supports, the receptions for the spits are found in absolute equivalence, while the line of small openings in the base constitutes mechanism of supplying the coals with oxygen so that they are maintained light up during its use.[13][14][15]


Left to right: Chenjeh Kebab, Kebab Koobideh, Jujeh Kebab in an Afghan restaurant.

The kebab term is applied to Azerbaijani, Armenian, Afghan, Arabic, Turkish, Cypriot, Kurdish, Iranian, Iraqi, Central Asian, South Asian and some of the African cuisines.


See also Shashlik

Shish kebab (in which şiş Turkish: Şiş Kebap), is the Turkish word for "skewer,"[16]) is a dish consisting of meat threaded on a skewer and grilled. Any kind of meat may be used; cubes of fruit or vegetables are often threaded on the spit as well. Typical vegetables include eggplant, tomato, bell pepper, onions, and mushrooms.

In North American English, the word "kebab" usually refers to shish kebab.[4][17]


İskender kebap, the original döner kebab invented in Bursa, Turkey.
Slicing döner kebab off a rotating vertical spit.

Döner kebab, literally "rotating kebab" in Turkish, is sliced lamb, beef or chicken, slowly roasted on a vertical rotating spit. The Middle Eastern shawarma, Mexican tacos al pastor and Greek gyros are all derived from the Turkish döner kebab which was invented in Bursa in the 19th century by a cook named Hacı İskender.[18] Döner kebab is most popularly served in pita bread, as it is best known, with salad, but is also served in a dish with a salad and bread or French fries on the side, or used for Turkish pizzas called pide or "kebabpizza". Take-out döner kebab or shawarma restaurants are common in many parts of Europe. Döner kebab is popular in many European countries, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

In parts of Europe 'kebab' usually refers to döner kebab in pita. Australian Doner Kebabs are usually served in wraps which are toasted before eating.

In Australia and the UK, kebabs (or döner meat and chips) are most popularly eaten after a night out, representing a large part of nightlife culture. As a result, many kebab shops (and vans) will do their main business in the hours around closing time for local pubs and clubs (usually from 10 pm to 4 am). The same applies for Belgium, the Netherlands, Poland, Ireland, New Zealand, Canada, Scandinavia and Italy. It is therefore not uncommon to find similar late-night kebab vending shops in holiday-clubbing destinations such as Ibiza.

Health concerns about döner kebab, including unacceptable salt and fat levels and improper labeling of meat used, are repeatedly reported in UK media.[19][20][21] The German-style döner kebab was supposedly invented by a Turkish immigrant in Berlin in the 1970s, and became a popular German take-away food during the 1990s, but is almost exclusively sold by Turks and considered a Turkish specialty in Germany.


Kakori kebab is a South Asian kebab attributed to the city of Kakori in Uttar Pradesh, India. The kebab is made of finely ground mince goat meat with spices and then charcoal grilled on a skewer. It is commonly served with Roomali Roti (a very thin bread), onion and a mint chutney (sauce). The meat is ground to a fine paste and kept moist so the texture is soft. There is a legend that it was first prepared for old and toothless pilgrims.[22]


Chapli kebab is a patty made from beef mince,[23] and is one of the popular barbecue meals in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. The word Chapli comes from the Pashto word Chaprikh which means flat. It is prepared flat and round and served with naan. The dish originates from Mardan (Takhtbhai) and Mansehra (Qalanderabad) regions of Pakistan. Mardan is famous for chapli kabab not only locally but also internationally. Umar Kabab at Mardan City, Daood and Farman Kabab from Takht Bai, Mayar Kabab from Mayar and Shankar Kabab are famous around the country in all seasons. In Mansehra, shinkiari and ichrean are very famous for chapal kabab.


Burrah kebab is another kebab from Mughlai Cuisine, fairly popular in South Asia. This is usually made of goat meat, liberally marinated with spices and charcoal grilled.


Kalmi Kebab served with onions and cabbage in Delhi, India.

Kalmi kebab is one of the popular snacks in Indian cuisine. The dish is made by marinating chicken drumsticks and placing them in a tandoor. Various kinds of freshly ground Indian spices are added to the yogurt used for the marination of the chicken. When prepared, the drumsticks are usually garnished by mint leaves and served with onions and Indian bread.


Galouti Kabab as served in Lucknow, India

One of the more delicate kebabs from South Asia, made of minced goat / buffalo meat. It was supposedly made for a Nawab in Lucknow who could not eat the regular Kebabs due to weak teeth.

The Galouti Kebab is part of the "Awadhi Cuisine". Along with the Lucknowi biryani and Kakori Kebab, this is one of the outstanding highlights of the great food tradition from the Awadh region in Uttar Pradesh, India.

Many leading Indian hotel chains have taken to popularising the Awadhi food tradition, with the Galouti Kebab being a Pièce de résistance.

The home of this kebab is Lucknow. It is most famously had at the almost iconic eatery "Tundey Miyan" at Old Lucknow.


Testi kebab as served in Goreme, Turkey

A dish from Central Anatolia and the Mid-Western Black Sea region, consisting of a mixture of meat and vegetables cooked in a clay pot or jug over fire(testi means jug in Turkish). The pot is sealed with bread dough or foil and is broken when serving.[24][25]


Chelow kebab (Persian: چلوکباب) is a national dish of Iran. The meal is simple, consisting of steamed, saffroned basmati or Persian rice (chelow) and kabab, of which there are several distinct Persian varieties. This dish is served everywhere throughout Iran today, but traditionally was most closely associated with the northern part of the country.

It is served with the basic Iranian meal accompaniments, in addition to grilled tomatoes on the side of the rice, and butter on top of the rice. It is an old northern tradition (probably originating in Tehran) that a raw egg yolk should be placed on top of the rice as well, though this is strictly optional, and most restaurants will not serve the rice this way unless it is specifically requested. "Somagh", powdered sumac, is also made available and its use varies based on tastes to a small dash on the rice or a heavy sprinkling on both rice and meat, particularly when used with red (beef/veal/lamb) meat.

In the old bazaar tradition, the rice (which is covered with a tin lid) and accompaniments are served first, immediately followed by the kebabs, which are brought to the table by the waiter, who holds several skewers in his left hand, and a piece of flat bread (typically nan-e lavash) in his right. A skewer is placed directly on the rice and while holding the kebab down on the rice with the bread, the skewer is quickly pulled out. With the two most common kebabs, barg and koobideh, two skewers are always served. In general, bazaar kebab restaurants only serve these two varieties, though there are exceptions.

The traditional beverage of choice to accompany kebab is doogh, a sour yogurt drink with mint and salt.

Kabab Koubideh

Kabab koobideh (Persian: کباب کوبیده) or kūbide (Persian: کوبیده) is an Iranian minced meat kabab which is made from ground lamb, beef or chicken, often mixed with parsley and chopped onions.

Kabab Koobideh contains: ground meat, onion, salt, pepper, turmeric, and seasoning. These ingredients are mixed together until the mixture becomes smooth and sticky. One egg is added to help the mix stick together. The mixture is then pressed around a skewer. Koobideh Kabab is typically 7–8 inches (18–20 cm) long.

Kabab Barg

Kabāb-e Barg (Persian: کباب برگ) is a Persian style barbecued lamb, chicken or beef kebab dish. The main ingredients of Kabab Barg - a short form of this name - are fillets of beef tenderloin, lamb shank or chicken breast, onions and olive oil.

Marinade is prepared by the mixture of half a cup of olive oil, three onions, garlic, half teaspoon saffron, salt and black pepper. One kilogram of lamb is cut into 1 cm thick and 4–5 cm long pieces. It should be marinated overnight in refrigerator, and the container should be covered. The next day, the lamb is threaded on long, thin metal skewers. It is brushed with marinade and is barbecued for 5–10 minutes on each side. Kabab-e Barg

Sultan's Feast

At Persian restaurants, the combination of one Kabab Barg and one Kabab Koobideh is typically called Soltani, meaning 'Sultan's Feast.'

Joujeh Kabab

Juje kabab one of kabab kinds

Jūje-kabāb (Persian: جوجه‌کباب) consists of pieces of chicken first marinated in minced onion and lemon juice with saffron then grilled over a fire. It is sometimes served with grilled tomato and pepper. Jujeh kabab is one of the most popular Persian dishes.

Kabab Bakhtiari

Combination of Jujeh Kabab and Kabab Barg in a decussate form.

National varieties of Kebab

In Afghanistan

The main varieties include kabob e chopan, chapli kabob, teka kabob, shaami kabob, and rudi kabob.

In Azerbaijan

Tika kabab and lyula kabab from mutton, as served in Qəçrəş, Quba Rayon, north-eastern Azerbaijan.

The main varieties include tika kabab, lyula kabab (doyma kabab in some places), tas kababy and tava kabab. The meat for tika kabab is sometimes prepared in basdirma (an onion gravy and thyme) and then goes onto the ramrods. When served, it could be adorned with sauce-like pomegranate addon (narsharab) and other condiments, and may also be served wrapped in Lavash.

In Bulgaria

In Bulgaria, the word кебап (kebap) refers to meat stews with relatively few or no vegetables. Dishes which are known in English as different kinds of "kebab" are not perceived as a distinct group of dishes.

In China

Chuan-style lamb kebab sticks sold by a street vendor.

Chuanr 串 called "chuàn" in Mandarin or often referred to as "Chua'r" in Pekingese throughout the North, is a variation of kebab originating from the Western Chinese province of Xinjiang and a popular dish in Chinese Islamic cuisine.

It has since spread across the rest of the country and become a popular street food.

Small pieces of meat are skewered and either roasted or deep-fried. Common spices and condiments include Chinese style of cumin called "ziran", pepper, sesame, and sesame oil.

Although the most traditional form of chuanr uses lamb or mutton, other types of meat, such as chicken, beef, pork, and seafood, can be used as well.

During Chinese New Year, it is common to find fruit kebabs candied and covered with a hard candy sugar coating. At the famous Wángfǔjǐng in Beijing, it is very common to find many kinds of fruit kebabs of everything from bananas, strawberries, and seasonal Chinese fruits, as well as scorpions, squids, and various Japanese flavored kebabs all year long.

In India

Kalmi Kebab served with onions and cabbage in Delhi, India.

Kebabs in India are more or less similar to most other kebab preparations along with their distinct taste which can be credited to the spices native to the sub-continent. All the varieties such as Sheekh, Doner (known as Shawarma), Shammi Tikka, and other forms of roasted and grilled meats are savoured in this part of the world. Some popular kababs are:

  • Kakori Kebab
  • Shami Kabab
  • Kalmi Kebab
  • Galawati Kebab
  • Boti Kebab
  • Hara Bhara Kabab
  • Kathi Kabab
  • Reshmi Kabab
  • Lasoni Kabab
  • Chicken Malai Kabab
  • Tikka Kabab
  • Tangdi Kabab ( Tangdi meaning leg of the chicken)
  • Kaleji Kabab
  • Hariali Chicken Kabab
  • Bihari Kabab

In Pakistan

File:Pakistani Food Cow Beef Kabobs.jpg
Seekh Kababs served in a Pakistani restaurant.

Pakistani cuisine is rich with different kebabs. Meat including Cow beef, chicken, lamb and fish is used in kababs. Some popular Kebabs are:

  • Seekh Kebab (Urdu: سيخ کباب)
  • Shami Kebab (Urdu: شامی کباب)
  • Chapli Kebab (Urdu: چپلی کباب)
  • Chicken Kebab (Urdu: مرغ کباب)
  • Lamb Kebab (Urdu: کبابِ برہ گوشت)
  • Bun Kebab (Urdu: بن کباب)
  • Tikka Kebab (Urdu: تکہ کباب)
  • Reshmi Kebab (Urdu: ریشمی کباب)
  • Bihari Kebab (Urdu: بهاری کباب)
  • Pasinday (Urdu: پسندے)
  • Kache Qeema Kebab
  • Fish Kebab
  • Sajji
  • Chargha

In Malaysia

Kebabs in Malaysia are generally sold at pasar malam (night markets) and in shopping mall food courts. Normally the meat, after being cut from the spit is pan fried with onions and chilli sauce then placed into a pita bread pocket before being filled with condiments such as tomatoes, mayonnaise, onion and lettuce.[citation needed]

In the Netherlands

Doner kebab is very popular in the Netherlands among all populations. As a snack, it is usually served in or with a pita as a "broodje döner" (doner sandwich) with lettuce, onion, tomato slices and sauces, mainly garlic and sambal. It is widely available.

One of the most popular Kebab recipe is:

  • kapsalon

Steam kebab

Steam kebab (Turkish Buğu kebabı) is a Turkish kebab dish which is prepared in an earthenware casserole. The casserole's lid is sealed with dough in order to cook the meat in its own juices. The dish is prepared with pearl onions, garlic, thyme, and other spices. In Tekirdağ, it is served with cumin; in Izmir, it is served with mastic.[26]

Similar dishes

Anticuchos (Andean) · Banderilla (México) · Brochette (French) · Ćevapi (Balkan) · Chuanr (Chinese) · Kawap (Uygur) ·City Chicken (Ohio Valley-Upstate New York) ·Donair (Canadian) · Espetada (Portuguese) · Espetinho (Brazilian) · Frigărui and Mititei (Romanian) · Kebakko (Finland) · Khorovatz (Armenian) · Mtsvadi (მწვადი -Georgian) · Pinchitos (Spanish Andalusian) · Rablóhús (Hungarian) · Satay (Southeast Asia) · Shashlik (Russian) · Sosatie (South African) · Souvlaki (Σουβλάκι- Greek) · Spiedies (New York State) · Spiedino (Italian) · Suya (Nigerian) · Kkochi (Korean) · Kushiyaki and Yakitori (Japanese).

See also


  1. ^ Celia Hawkesworth, Ivana Jović (2005). Colloquial Croatian: the complete course for beginners. Psychology Press. pp. 102. 
  2. ^ Wright, Clifford A. (1999). A Mediterranean Feast. New York: William Morrow. pp. 333.
  3. ^ a b Gil Marks (2010). Encyclopedia of Jewish Food. John Wiley and Sons. pp. 296. 
  4. ^ a b c Davidson, Alan (1999). Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 429. 
  5. ^ a b Wright, Clifford A. (1999). A Mediterranean Feast. New York: William Morrow. pp. 333. 
  6. ^ Achaya, K. T. (1998). A Historical Dictionary of Indian Food. Delhi: Oxford University Press. pp. 115. 
  7. ^ ὀβελίσκος, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
  8. ^ Homer, "Iliad" 1.465
  9. ^ Aristophanes, "Acharnians" 1007, "Clouds" 178, "Wasps" 354, "Birds" 388, 672
  10. ^ Xenophon, "Hellenica" HG3.3.7
  11. ^ Aristotle, "Politics" 1324b19
  12. ^ κρατευταί, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
  13. ^ Prehistoric souvlaki of Santorini, To Vima (in Greek), 6-2-2011 (picture 2 of 7)
  14. ^ Thera’s Akrotiri site soon to get shade ekathimerini
  15. ^ Krateutai from Santorini in the form of dogs
  16. ^ Glenn Randall Mack, Asele Surina (2005). Food culture in Russia and Central Asia. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 83–84. 
  17. ^ Prosper Montagne, ed (2001). Larousse Gastronomique. New York: Clarkson Potter. pp. 646. ISBN 0-609-60971-8. 
  18. ^ Kenneth F. Kiple, Kriemhild Coneè Ornelas, eds., Cambridge World History of Food, Cambridge, 2000. ISBN 0-521-40216-6. Vol. 2, p. 1147.
  19. ^ Guardian Health — Kebab anyone?, The Guardian.
  20. ^ How unhealthy is a doner kebab?, BBC News Magazine, 21 January 2009
  21. ^ UK study reveals 'shocking' kebabs, BBC News, 27 January 2009
  22. ^ Classic Cooking of Avadh - Google Books. Retrieved 2010-01-02. 
  23. ^ The multicultural cookbook for students - Google Books. Retrieved 2010-01-02. 
  24. ^ Testi kebab: a general description. Retrieved on 22 May 2009
  25. ^ Testi kebab: a specialty of Cappadocia. Retrieved on 22 May 2009 (scroll to the bottom of the page)
  26. ^ Kebab aux petits oignons, Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism


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  • Kébab — Kebab Un kebab avec du pain pita …   Wikipédia en Français

  • kébab — ou kebab [ kebab ] n. m. • 1789; mot turc ♦ Viande coupée en morceaux et rôtie à la broche. « je demandai du pain et du kébab » (Istrati). Brochette de kébabs. ⇒ chiche kebab. ● kebab nom masculin (mot turc) Synonyme de chiche kebab. ● …   Encyclopédie Universelle

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  • Kebab — (auch: Kebap; türkisch für „gegrilltes oder gebratenes Fleisch“ von gleichbedeutend arabisch ‏كَباب‎ kabāb) steht für: ursprünglich Kalbfleisch in rechteckige Stücke geschnitten und gegrillt im Deutschen eine Kurzbezeichnung für den… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Kebab — (del ár. «kabāb») m. Comida de origen árabe que consiste en trozos de carne asados a la brasa en una varilla. * * * kebab. (Del ár. kabāb). m. Masa de carne picada que, ensartada en una varilla, se asa haciéndose girar ante una fuente de calor. * …   Enciclopedia Universal

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  • kebab — pieces of meat roasted on a skewer, 1813 (Cf. SHISH KEBAB (Cf. shish kebab)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • kebab — or kebob [kə bäb′] n. [Ar kabāb] 1. a small piece of marinated meat used as for shish kebab 2. [often pl.] SHISH KEBAB …   English World dictionary

  • kebab — kebab, kebob kebob, n. See {kabab} and {kabob}. [PJC] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Kebāb — Kebāb, türk. Lammbraten mit Zwiebeln, Pfeffer, Eiern und Reis. Schisch K. (»Spießbraten«) ist Hammelfleisch, das in kleinen Würfeln mit Salz und Pfeffer gerieben, auf kleinen Spießen über glühenden Kohlen langsam gebraten und kurz vor dem… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • kebab — ‘Plato típico de Turquía y otras zonas de Oriente Próximo, consistente en carne asada en brocheta’. Su plural es kebabs (→ plural, 1h) …   Diccionario panhispánico de dudas

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