...of my posts on Turkey will be on food. And specifically kebaps. And deservingly so.
The Turks claim to be the people to have invented kababs (kaybobs, kebaps, whatever). I'm not into this concept of 'inventing' something like the kabab. People were probably grilling marinated meat in many places since forever. Anyhow, the word's Turkish, so we'll bow to them in respect. I (cholesterol notwithstanding) did many varieties, while missing out on just as many (Patlichan (aubergine) Kabab comes readily to mind).
I'll keep my analysis to a minimum and let the pictures say a thousand words. Also, pointer towards Madman (Aadisht, not the other one)'s Flickr set on Food, which is a nice thing for similar reasons.
1. Doner Kebap: This is the quintessentialest of the Turkish kebaps, Doner came in three varieties: Lamb (the default option), Chicken and Beef (least common, I felt). The simple visual below explains all that you need to know. The desi 'showarmas' are poor cousins of the Doner, basically. There's no end to the breads or rices that this is served with.
2. Adana Kebap: My personal favourite, this one's among the spiciest I had on my trip. It's quite popular all over. Recipe here. It's usually served with Anatolian Rice, as pictured here. Thumbs up to the Efes Restuarant in Selcuk, one of the best places we ate at during the trip. Both Lonely Planet recommendations for that town that we went to couldn't hold a candle to this fine place. More about Lonely Planet tips later.
3. Pottery Kebap: This one gets points for, well, packaging. Simply put, this is meat cooked in a pot. This is popular in Cappadocia, especially in the pottery-centric town of Avanos. We had this in Goreme, a small distance from there. The first pic shows him breaking the pot, the second one pouring it, and the last one is the result. The beef one is far better than the chicken one.
4. Ottoman Kabab: This is less kebap, more curry, and most scrumptious. We had this on one of the three expensive 'dinners' that we had, in a place called Anatolian Taste.
5. Chop Shish: Shish kebap really, but the small pieces that they cut it into is interesting, and of course the texture and flavour of the meat simply rocks. This one was at one of the disappointing Lonely Planet picks called Tat in Selcuk.
While Chop Shish is a Selcuk speciality, Shish variants are popular all over. The pic below is from an assortment I had in Goreme. The photograph also contains a pair of Kofte, described next.
6. Koftesi, or Turkish Meatballs: Similar to the Indian concept of a kofta, Turkish meatballs are the best accompaniment to rice that they have, in my opinion. The photograph below has a picture of what kofte would look like before they cook it.
And to top off the first post, a snapshot of a kebap cabinet, which one can choose one's meat from. This is in one of the nicest places we went to, in Istanbul, miles into the sprawl behind the touristy Misir Bazaar (Egyptian Spice Market). The place had small stools, and a huge platter for a table-top, and was called Durum, which is the bread similarest to our roti.
Appendix. Galauti Kababs: Nope, not Turkish ones, but very deserving of a shout-out nevertheless. Big thank-you to young Dhoomketu, who sent us off on our adventures in the most appropriate way possible - Galauti Kababs and Mutton Biriyani. This is at the Vasant Vihar pad where Dhoomketu is holed up with his beloved for the length of his sabbatical, while posting weekend entertainment on his blog (What does he know of weekends now?)
That's it for now. Many more posts await your kind perusal, such as More Food, Strange People and Quirky Turkey. As and when time will permit.