Do you know the feeling of missing some food, that you know, you can only get abroad? That is if you want it to be really good and authentic. I have it exactly like this with all kinds of Döner kebab – lamb or chicken meat on rotating spears. And especially with chicken döner kebabs (or chicken shawarma as it is also called in Denmark).
The crisp, lightly smoked flavor, full of mild spices and delicious juicy chicken, you just don’t get in Denmark. So you have to go to Turkey if you want it. In Denmark, it is often just greasy of chicken crumbs, that are not crisp or really have any taste. Or even worse- too spicy with Arabic spices (carnation and coriander primarily), that penetrate everything. It gives me sadness, because it’s not right in my mind.
Now it is so, that even though I have family in Turkey, I do not come there every three months (I wish…). And then you (read: I) build a certain kind of need for different things.
Homemade Chicken döner Kebab:
So, it was all the more urgent to try to find our own solution to a good döner kebab. We have been thinking about it for a long time, but have always delayed and apologized for the fact, that we did not have a rotisserie for the barbecue (and one can certainly not get an upright one as it really requires). And that you have to make relatively large amounts of meat before it works.
But now it should be. Suddenly last Sunday. We were just tired of not being able to get a proper chicken kebab, missed a new challenge on the barbecue and longed to try.
So it would turn out to be a good chicken döner kebab.
Döner mean “rotating” in Turkish, and that is exactly what is important. That the meat rotates and becomes equally grilled on all sides. Normally, the spit should stand up, so that the fat can run down over the meat and add more flavor, before it collects in a tray at the bottom.
For good reason we had to put the spear down and then brush the meat with the collected juice. Otherwise, it is impossible to make for a non professional.
Food projects on the barbecue:
Now you may wonder, that I am writing “we”? Some of these food projects often involve my mother-in-law in some sense. But as soon as a barbecue is involved, it is always my husband standing by. He is much better off than I am …
Well, but is this a “real” recipe, you might want to ask? Yes and no. Yes, in the sense, that I have the habit of investigating everything – in all my cookbooks, on the web, in the family, etc.. And then compiled a recipe, that I think comes as close to the original as I can. But it is undeniably Turkish.
Although it was the first time we made chicken kebabs, I was wildly surprised. It tasted – in my world – quite insanely good (yes it is said and without the slightest bit of self-glorification …). Crispy, juicy, mild – and just delicious.
That the weather was to sit in the garden, with my friend, husband and children as taste judges. Along with freshly baked flatbread (which you get the recipe for here), a little fresh salad and a good homemade dressing, just added it all up.
A simple meal, but just as it should be.
What should you do?
We cut the meat fairly thinly and marinated for 3 hours. Another time I think I will start to marinate it the day before, just to get the best out of it.
We used chicken upper thighs (and a little chicken breast), which we liberated from the bones, marinated and put on two spears. We used the upper thighs, because we really wanted some skin and grease that could give taste and make sure it didn’t get too dry. I could imagine that next time we could only use the upper thigh.
And then I happened to have a bucket of duck fat, which we just added 3 tablespoons to the marinade. If you don’t have that, just mix some olive oil in the marinade. Just so you are sure, there is enough fat in it to drip and add taste. Some places have recommended animal fat, so in my world it becomes duck fat and chicken skin, when it is a chicken döner kebab.
The art on the grill is to turn the meat all the time so it gets browned on all sides. And then remember to brush with the excess grease. And have a sharp knife available, so you can cut off some of the finished meat along the way.
Thus, you get even more of the crispy meat, as new layers are constantly coming. What you cut off, you can pick up and then just heat / flip in the remaining juice for 30 before serving.
Maybe nexttime a kebab with lamb?
Next time we have agreed to try to make a “real” kebab with lamb and calf. Just because it is undisputed our favorite, and then there is a new challenge waiting. For how do you get such a cousin tender? And does it give the right taste without getting too spicy? Yes, it will be the next exciting project.
I really hope you have the courage to try to make homemade chicken döner kebab. For it really isn’t difficult, and it looks more fearful, than what it is. I’m pretty sure you won’t regret it…
This is the recipe for a tasty, juicy homemade chicken döner kebab, that is quite easy to make at home and with a few ingredients.
- 1,5 kg chicken without bone, aprox 1 kg chicken thighs and ½ breast
- 2 tbsp turkish yoghurt
- 3 cloves garlis, grated
- 2 large onions, grated
- 1½ tbsp paprika
- 1½ tsp cayenne pepper
- 2½ tsp salt
- 1½ tsp pepper
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 small tsp coriander
- 100 ml olive oil
- ½ small lemon
- 3 tbsp duck fat, or a little more olive oil
1: First, free the bones from the chicken pieces and cut the chest along the lenght (horizontally)
2: Grate the onion and garlic on a grater – put it in a bowl along with all the other ingredients.
3: Mix well and then pour the chicken and mix well until the marinade is evenly distributed.
4: Cover and place in the refrigerator between 3 and 24 hours. The longer the more flavor.
1. Remove the meat and press it down one at a time over 2 parallel spears. Continue alternately with the breast and upper thigh until everything is used.
2: Put it on a hot barbecue with a drip tray below.
3: Grill for about 45 minutes, brush with the dripped juice and cut a little of the meat along the way, when it's crisp and brown.
4: Cut the salad, onion and parsley, and make the dressing. If you make your own flatbreads, bake them before you start grilling the meat.
5: Serve it all together and make a durum roll with a little salad, onion, chicken and chili. We also got humus in the roll.
It is important that you use chicken meat with skin (and maybe a little breast). The fat from the skin helps to taste and ensure, that the meat does not dry out
Remember to brush with the juice along the way
Make the flatbreads yourself – and before you start roasting the meat.
Have a sharp knife so you can easily cut off the meat without destroying the roll.
Serve possibly along with humus, lettuce, onion and parsley and a little homemade youghurt-garlic-cumin dressing.