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.