Despite being thought of as a Turkish dish, there are no doner-kabab stands in Istanbul, because they’re a Berlin invention. In 1971, Kreuzberg resident Kadir Nurman, an employee at the Zoo train station’s City-Imbiss, found a way to turn the Turkish dish “Döner Kebap,” usually served on a plate, into a handheld meal, by packing it into flatbread for Berliners on the go. His great idea soon enabled him to go into business for himself. Since then, the doner-kabab Berliners can eat on their way home, has become just as much a part of the snack-stand scene as Currywurst. “The doner-kabab is Berlin’s favorite snack,” Kadir Nurman has observed. Berliners would probably never think of making doner-kababs in their own homes, but it’s relatively easy. This recipe is calculated generously because, as those who’ve had a doner-kebab from a Turkish grill know, just one fills you up for the whole day.
- 1-1/2 lbs lean veal
- freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin or a prepared doner-kabab seasoning
- 2 small onions
- 5 Tbsp olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic
- 3/4 cup sheep-milk yogurt
- 1 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley
- 4 flatbreads the size of your hand
- 1 cup red cabbage
- 1 cup cucumber grated
- 1 onion
- 4 grill skewers
- Preheat the oven to 430 degrees (grill setting). Cut the veal into thin slices and season with salt, pepper, and cumin. Place the seasoned meat on the four skewers
- Peel the onions and grate finely. Stir half of the resulting onion paste with the olive oil and brush onto the skewered meat, coating all sides.
- Place the skewers on a grid on the middle rack of the preheated oven. Grill for about 20 minutes, turning several times.
- In the meantime, peel and press the garlic into the yogurt, using a garlic press. Stir in the parsley, and season with salt and pepper. Set sauce aside.
- Slice the flatbreads in half, but not all the way through, to form pockets. Drizzle a little olive oil into the pockets. Wash and dice the tomatoes.
- Wash the red cabbage and cut into thin strips. Wash the cucumber and grate finely. Peel and halve the onion, and cut into very thin strips.
- Arrange the prepared ingredients on a serving platter.
- During the meat's last 5 to 8 minutes under the grill, warm the flatbread on the oven floor.
- Remove the skewers and the flatbread from the oven. Remove the meat from each skewer and place in a bread pocket. Add all of the remaining ingredients or just some, according to taste, and dribble the garlic sauce over the top. Doner-kebabs can also be served on plates, with rice and a salad.