top of page

Lamb kebabs

Meat in Turkish cuisine, is usuallyreffers to lamb. It can be cut into chunks and roasted, braised, or grilled, or ground and mixed with spices to make kofte. Almost every city in Turkey has its own style kofta, and Adana kebab, named after Adana, the most famous fifth largest city in Turkey. Long, hand-minced meat kebab are mounted on a wide iron skewer and grilled on an open charcoal fire. The grilled meat is typically served as a platter with rice and salad, or inside a tightly rolled wrap made with Turkish lavash, along with ezme salata, a spicy tomato salad and the most common side dish in kebab restaurants. Red onions with sumac is also a great pairing. Before rolling up the bread, the grilled meat is sprinkled with a mixture of cumin, sumac, salt, and roasted chilies.


For the Kebabs:

•  2 pounds ground lamb

•  Kosher salt

•  1 tablespoon ground cumin, divided

•  3 tablespoons ground sumac, divided

•  3 tablespoons ground urfa pepper flakes, divided

•  3 ½ tablespoons ice-cold water

For Serving:

•  1 red onion, thinly sliced

•  8 pieces pita or lavash

•  ½ cup picked fresh parsley leaves

•  ½ cup picked fresh mint leaves

•  Enzme salata (see recipe)

•  Pepperoncini peppers



  1. Combine lamb with 1 tablespoon plus ½ teaspoon kosher salt, 1½ teaspoons cumin, 3½  teaspoons sumac, and 1½  tablespoons urfa pepper flakes. Knead by hand or in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until mixture turns tacky and starts sticking to the side of the bowl. Add water and continue kneading until incorporated. Place in refrigerator and chill well.

  2. Combine remaining 1½ teaspoons cumin, 3½ teaspoons sumac, remaining 1½  tablespoons pepper flakes, and one tablespoon salt in a small bowl. Set spice mixture aside. Place the red onion slices in a small bowl, season with salt and squeeze them a few times with your fingers to extract some of the juice; mix in the remaining 2 teaspoons sumac and set aside.

  3. Using wet hands, divide lamb mixture into 20 even balls. Using wet hands, form each ball into a long, flat kebab around a skewer.

  4. Set burners of a gas grill to the highest heat setting, cover, and preheat for 10 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Place kebabs directly over hot side of grill, cover, and cook, turning occasionally and sprinkling with spice mixture until well charred on both sides and kebabs are cooked through, about 12 minutes total.

  5. During last few minutes of cooking, place bread directly on top of kebabs in batches until heated through.

  6. Serve kebabs with warm bread, sumac onions, parsley, mint leaves, ezme salata, and pepperoncini.


•  1 cup finely chopped onion

•  1 ½ tsp sumac, 1 ½ tsp salt, 1 ½ tsp Aleppo pepper

•  ½ teaspoon Salca (Turkish pepper paste)

•  3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

•  1 ½ cups finely diced fresh tomato

•  2 TBS lemon juice

•  ½  cup finely chopped mint, ½  cup finely chopped parsley

Combine the onion, and all spices, and olive oil. Stir well to combine. Add the tomato (leave the juices aside), lemon juice, parsley, and mint and stir again. Place in a bowl and serve with the kebabs.

bottom of page