lamb doner kebab
Thu, 24 September, 2020
⯆ JUMP TO RECIPE
Doner kebab, the elephant leg shavings of random lamb mince replicated to a wonderful home experience – and you actually know what goes into your kebab!
Fast food at home?
It is a universally known fact that true junk food is impossible to reproduce at home. There is no appropriate equipment, no additives available, and we usually have decent quality ingredients we cook with. We don’t produce food industrially and would shudder to pour the amounts of salt and sugar into our pans that are needed for the full McDonalds or KFC experience.
Street food in the kitchen?
But commercial fast food giants aside, it’s equally impossible to get that fried onion from the hot dog stand right, the candy floss or the slushie. Confit onions anytime, spun sugar with an effort and a posh granita – that’s all very well but not their street equivalents.
Of course the question to ask here is: why would you want to? As regards high street fast food, the less, the better. And for the authentic street food experience you need to be out there, in the street – not at home.
That sensible approach takes us nowhere though if we get a craving. In which case isn’t it better to tinker with home ingredients to create THAT salad dressing or THAT chilli sauce? The outcome of course will be ‘meh, not quite the thing’ but by then the crave will be snuffed, the belly full and less salt in the bloodstream.
My guilty fast food secret
There’s one fast food experience I’m secretly partial to and it’s not a MaccyDs or chicken nuggets – it’s a doner kebab. At each rare occasion of visiting a kebab shop (let’s be honest: probably three or four in my entire life) I am invariably fascinated by the slowly spinning lamb offcuts pulped together into an elephant leg.
I obsessively watch the huge Turk shave slivers of fatty matter with an enormous knife. I adore the sight of a pita lasciviously opening to enfold the slivers and the ritual of onions? no, gherkins? yes, sauce? double please.
Doner kebab tradition
I am happy to admit I have never experienced the drunk Saturday night, Sunday morning stumble into the kebab shop, the salvation from a blackout after a night out with the boys since I am not and have never been one of the boys, obviously. That’s the undeserved fame of a doner kebab: in popular middle-class perception something even less palatable than a Burger King Whopper.
Tom Kerridge's home doner kebab
And I appreciate that of all foods fast, a doner is the hardest to replicate at home. How do you set up a spit, a grill and an elephant leg? The answer is you don’t. Tom Kerridge’s brilliant idea of roasting an already thin layer of meat, further scorching it with a blowtorch (or under the grill if blowtorch not at hand) gives you the elusive, inimitable late night doner kebab experience. Now you can go to bed safely, a night out on the tiles or not.
lamb doner kebabServings: 4Time: 20 minutes
- For the lamb doner:
- 500g (over 1 pound) lean lamb mince (20% fat)
- 5 garlic cloves, finely grated
- 1 tsp sea salt flakes
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 3 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp dried chilli flakes
- freshly ground black pepper
- For the yoghurt topping:
- 200ml (scant cup) natural full fat yoghurt
- 4-5 springs of fresh mint
- ½ tsp honey
- ½ tsp sea salt flakes
- To serve:
- 8 corn tortillas (or pitas if preferred)
- ½ iceberg lettuce, shredded
- sliced onion
- a few cherry tomatoes
- pickled jalapeno slices
- sliced gherkin
1. Place the lamb mince and all the other doner ingredients in a bowl. Mix very well with your hands, until smooth and cohesive. Divide into two parts and shape each into a ball.
2. Preheat the oven to 220C fan, if available/425F/gas 7.
3. Prepare the yoghurt topping: chop the mint leaves very finely and place in a bowl with the yoghurt. Add the honey and salt and stir.
4. Roll out each ball of meat between two large sheets of parchment as thinly as possible.
5. Peel off the top sheet and place each portion with the bottom parchment sheet on a large baking tray. Bake on top two shelves of the oven for 6 minutes, until browned.
6. Remove the trays from the oven and scorch the surface in places using a cook’s blowtorch. Alternatively, switch the oven to grill function at the highest heat and return the trays for a minute each to blast the lamb. Rest the meat for a minute.
7. Warm up the tortillas or pitas in the oven while the lamb is resting and prepare the garnishes.
8. Slice the lamb into wide strips, like the doner slivers, and load onto tortillas/pitas with shredded lettuce, onion, pickles and tomatoes. Spoon the yoghurt over the top and tuck in.