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Although paling in comparison with genuine döner kebap, shawarma, and the like served in Turkey and other Middle Eastern countries, this Nordic version is prepared with fresh ingredients, unlike some of the döner junk sold in Western European countries, often prepared with dubious ingredients.

Kebab pita bread

kebab-style meat patties:

400 to 500 g of lean beef or lamb roast (topside/top round/inside, silverside/bottom round, knuckle or top sirloin butt) or a couple of boneless chicken breasts or thighs
about 400 g top-quality readily ground meat of any of the above types
black pepper
smoked chilli powder (
eg chipotle)
paprika powder
finely ground cumin
finely ground coriander seeds
finely mashed or pressed garlic cloves to taste
(dash of lemon juice)
light-tasting olive oil
additional ingredients and fillings:
pita breads or good-quality Arab flatbread, lavash, etc
top-quality bought or homemade hummus
tahini diluted with lemon juice and water
lettuce leaves
thinly sliced tomato
thinly sliced red onion
pickled peppers (hot or mild)
fresh, unpasteurised sauerkraut or kimchi
tomato and chilli sauce
tahini-yogurt sauce
Turkish or Greek yogurt flavoured with garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, white pepper, salt and sugar

Trim and grind the meat of your choice following the instructions provided here.

Mix the dry spices in the ground meat, cover and refrigerate. Prepare all the sauces, if you plan to make them yourself. All the former (meat mixture and sauces) can be made on the previous day.

Ingredients for kebab pita bread Prepare the rest of the fillings and additional ingredients. Prepare the pita bread dough and leave the readily-formed breads to wait for baking. Place all the sauces and the sauerkraut/kimchi in suitable serving dishes.

In picture on right: chicken meat patties with other ingredients for filling a kebab pita bread, compiled on a plate.

Rinse and drain the lettuce leaves. Arrange the lettuce, sliced tomatoes and onions and the peppers on a large serving plate.

Press the garlic cloves through a garlic press or grate finely and mix in the meat mixture (along with lemon juice, if using). Divide the meat mixture in small, equal-sized pieces and either using your palms or a meat pounder, flatten them into very thin oval patties on a cutting board. You can cover the meat with a sturdy plastic freezer bag or the like to prevent the pounder from sticking to the meat.

Bake the risen pita breads and cover with foil or a towel to keep warm. Fry the meat patties quickly on both sides in a hot non-stick frying pan or griddle pan until done. Transfer to a serving plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

Fill a pita bread: slit it half-open at one side and spread the inside with hummus or diluted tahini. Add some lettuce, tomato, onion and sauerkraut or kimchi and place one or two meat patties  —  either whole or cut into smaller pieces  —  on top. Drizzle in some tahini-yogurt sauce, flavoured yogurt or tzatziki and tomato-chilli sauce. Eat immediately with some pickled peppers. Keep plenty of paper napkins at hand.

*) Be sure to use "genuine" kimchi, which, like "genuine" sauerkraut, is the result of a slow, natural fermenting process initiated by lactic acid bacteria, and, if sold unpasteurised and raw, contains high amount of vitamin C, probiotics and other components beneficial to human health. Most kimchi mixtures sold in Western stores are basically just shredded cabbage salads doused with vinegar to make them taste "soured", a fact clearly detectable in the inferior flavour of these products compared to natural kimchi. In Finland, one natural kimchi product worth a try is the Hapiskimchi/Kimchi by Rasilainen, a well-known Finnish manufacturer or naturally fermented vegetable products.

Recipe source: adapted from "Dieter's doner kebabs" by The Hairy Bikers,, 2015, accessed 2017.


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