Great Kebabs Are Turkey's Largest Export

Wednesday July 31, 2013

By Elizabeth Taviloglu, Guide for Turkish Food

Almost everyone knows shish kebabs come from Turkey. But did you know that in Turkish cuisine, 'shish kebab' is only one variety of kebab in a sea of hundreds?

In the Turkish language, the word 'kebab' is actually a general term that roughly means 'meat marinated in a special sauce that's cooked or grilled over hot embers.' Most people think of lamb when they think of kebabs. Although many kebab dishes are made with lamb, marinated beef, chicken, fish, seafood and vegetables and fruits are just as common in the world of skewers.

A chef in a well-known Istanbul kebab house once told me that 'kebab' more accurately refers to the method of cooking, rather than the ingredients. He went on to explain that this now world-famous grilling method of choice was discovered almost by accident by the central-Asian warriors following Ghengiz Khan across the dry, arid steppes.

For the lack of other utensils, they found that tenderizing chunks of meat then cooking them on their swords over an open fire worked very well. Today, Turkish cuisine boasts hundreds of delectable kebab dishes, many of which come from the southeastern regions of the country.

Here, most like it hot. Cities like Adana and Sanliurfa are famous for their uber-spicy kebabs. It's no wonder. This region's second largest export after great kebabs are products made from hot red pepper!

To learn more about Turkish kebabs, check out my latest article called 'All About Turkish Kebabs. Turkey's Greatest Gift To The World.' They truly are, especially for meat-lovers and barbecue fans.

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