The History of the Kebab

May 11, 2018

In the UK we have become more attuned to the types of different kebabs from around the world. Gone are the days of thinking the slowly rotating donner kebab in the takeaway window was the only kebab in the world. With the boom in UK restaurants opened by Asian owners, we are now starting to understand more clearly, the sheer amount of different types of kebab available.

But where did the kebab actually come from?

The kebab is now a perfect end to a fun night out, but it’s history actually goes back a long way. The story of the kebab traces back to myriads of both Asian and African cuisines. The word ‘kebab’ itself actually means ‘to roast’ but can also be referred to as a meat patty mixed with spices.

They are thought to have originated in Turkey when soldiers used to grill chunks of freshly hunted animals skewered on swords over open field fires. This origin is backed up by a Turkish script of Kyssa-I Yusuf in 1377 and is now the oldest known source where kebab is stated as a food item.

Kebabs are most commonly eaten throughout the world with rice and salad but the most popular form in the UK is now served with different forms of bread. Kebabs have been integrated in societies all around the globe, all taking on different styles: Orman kebabi is made up of roasted lamb, coban kebabi is a Shepard’s style roast of meat.

In Arabia, shish kebab or lahm mishwy is an essential part of the people’s diet. True shish is made from marinated lamb attached to a metal bladed skewer that is four sided and sits flat to the grill.

Marination techniques are the most important part of creating the flavour of the kebab and they vary culture to culture. They mainly revolve around a concoction of lemon juice, olive oil, milk and yoghurt, onion juice, cinnamon, wild marjoram, tomato juice and spices.

Pakistan cuisine is full of a spicy range of kebabs. Some of the most famous are the Seekh, Shami, Reshmi, Chapli, Bihari, Tikka, Chicken, Fish, Dhags, Doner, Pasanday, Peshawari, Qeema, and many more.

If you have a taste for true Pakistani cuisine, head over to Royal Nawaab’s halal restaurant in Manchester for an authentic Asian experience.