This traditional spicy ground lamb kebab aka Adana kebab is yet another extremely delicious and popular dish in Turkey. With only 4 ingredients, these kebabs are easy to make. Tender, juicy and packed with deep flavors that pair beautifully with any condiment.
Our love of kebabs in Turkish cuisine is no secret. There is a unique kebab recipe almost in each city of Turkey. From döner kebab and beef kofta kebab to iskender kebap and marinated lamb shish kebabs or chicken shish kebab, they are all scrumptious. We love to have them all on homemade lavash bread. And today we are making Adana kebabs, which are made with ground lamb and spices.
These kebabs are relatively quick to make and can even be frozen so prep is much quicker the next time. They have very simplistic yet flavorful ingredients and don't contain anything that is difficult to find.
Today, we will be having a look at exactly how these mouth-watering kebabs are made including making them with different meats and skewers. We will also look at different cooking methods, and what these Adana kebabs can be served with.
What Is Adana Kebab?
Adana kebabs originated in the city of Adana, Turkey. These are very unique kebabs that are made with lamb meat, preferably minced with a special sharp knife called zırh. They are mounted on large skewers, either iron or wooden, and then grilled on charcoal fire. These skewers can sometimes be as long as 2 meters depending on the number of the people ordering it.
These kebabs are traditionally made from lamb meat only, red pepper flakes, paprika, and salt. Today, you will find a wide range of varieties that uses other spices as well, but the traditional recipe doesn’t.
What Meat Is Adana?
Traditionally, an Adana kebab is made from young male lamb meat. The lamb should only be fed in its natural environment. This is the most important key for this delicious kebab. This lamb meat is minced by hand and then combined with tail fat, which is a special fat from the lamb’s tail part.
Today, however, like with most traditional recipes, there are a ton of variants on this recipe. Most people use lamb meat only regardless of its gender, age, or origin. And we are aware that finding tail fat is the world’s easiest thing if you are not in Turkey. So we will be using regular ground lamb in this recipe. It still comes out super tasty with fewer calories.
These ground lamb kebabs are yet another delicious and easy recipe to make. Because the traditional recipe doesn’t contain a ton of ingredients, you can also easily adapt it to your liking by adding some other spices!
First, prepare your equipment. Soak your skewers in water for 30 minutes.
Second, make the lamb mixture. Combine the ground lamb meat, red pepper flakes, paprika, and salt. Mix the ingredients together with your hands until you have an evenly sticky mixture.
Third, skewer the meat. Divide your lamb mixture into 4-6 pieces. Wet your hands before rolling each piece into a ball. Mold the ball around the skewer to form a flattened kebab.
Fourth, cook the kebabs. Heat a cast-iron skillet or grill and brush it with some oil. Cook the kebabs for 8-10 minutes, turning them every 2 minutes. So not overload the skillet to ensure all the kebabs cook evenly.
Optionally, cook the accompaniments. While the kebabs are about to cook, roast the tomatoes and peppers in another cast iron skillet or in the same skillet if it is large enough. They shouldn’t be fully cooked, only be charred. Serve the kebabs with the cooked tomatoes, peppers, and fresh parsley.
Can I Bake These In The Oven?
If you do not have a cast-iron skillet or griddle pan, you can bake your lamb Adana kebab.
Line a baking sheet with non-stick baking paper or a silicone sheet. Add a wire rack or cooling rack over the tray. This allows each Adana kebap to get the maximum amount of heat all around without laying in its own juices and falling apart.
Your oven should be preheated at 400°F (200°C). Lay the kebabs in a single layer on the wire rack and bake them for 20 minutes. Remove them from the oven and turn them around. Place the tomatoes and peppers on the rack as well and bake everything for another 20 minutes.
Remove them from the oven and serve warm. This method is a bit more time-consuming, but a lot less work.
Side Dishes To Serve
- Can I use ground beef instead? You can definitely use ground beef instead of lamb, but keep in mind that the taste will be drastically different and it won’t be traditional.
- How do you keep kebabs from falling apart? When mincing the lamb meat, you shouldn’t grind or mince it too fine. The texture in the meat helps bind it and keep it from falling apart. Also cooking them in the pan helps prevent this.
- Can these kebabs be frozen? Another thing that makes these kebabs so amazing is that they can be frozen! The best way to do so is after they have been shaped (put on a skewer) but before they have been cooked. Place them in an airtight container, placing a sheet of nonstick baking paper between the layers. When you are ready to defrost them, simply remove them from the freezer and defrost them in a single layer in the refrigerator.
- Can I use metal skewers? If you don’t have any wooden skewers, or you prefer using metal ones, you can easily do so with this Adana kebab recipe. Instead of soaking the wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes, you can refrigerate the metal skewers instead. By following this method, it helps the meat stick to the skewer and ultimately prevents the ground lamb kebabs from falling apart.
- Where can I eat the best Adana kebab? If you are planning to visit Turkey some day, keep in mind that the best kebab is in Adana. You can find these Adana kebabs everywhere in the city of Adana, but in our experience, the smaller local restaurants always serve much better kebabs than the more luxurious ones.
More Turkish Recipes
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Turkish Adana Kebab
Spicy ground lamb kebabs on skewers served on lavash with several condiments.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 4
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Cooking
- Cuisine: Turkish
1lb/500 gr ground lamb
1 tablespoon hot red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
Green peppers(chili or jalapeno)
Soak 4 wide wooden skewers in water. Let them sit for 30 minutes.
In a mixing bowl, combine ground lamb, red pepper flakes, paprika and salt together. Use your hand and mix until everything is well combined and you have a sticky mixture.
Divide the meat into 4-6 pieces, depending on the size of the skewers you use.
Wet your hands and roll each piece into a ball and then mold each around a skewer forming a flattened kebab.
Heat a cast iron skillet (or a grill). Brush it with a little oil or use cooking spray. Cook the kebabs, flipping them up every few minutes. They will be cooked within 8-10 minutes. Don’t overload the skillet if it is not large enough.
While you are cooking the kebabs, in another hot skillet, cook tomatoes and peppers halved or whole. Don’t let them fully cook. Just getting some chars on them would be enough.
Serve the kebabs with cooked tomatoes- peppers and fresh parsley.
If you don’t have a grill or cast iron skillet, you can bake your adana kebabs in the oven. To do this, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place a roasting wire rack or a cooling rack on it. Place the kebabs on it and bake for 20 minutes in a preheated oven (200C/400F). Remove it after 20 minutes, flip them up and place tomatoes and peppers on the rack as well. Bake for another 20 minutes and serve.
Keywords: kebab recipe, adana kebab, adana kebab recipe, ground lamb kebab