Berlin Doner Kabab, the German Taco

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.

Döner Kababs and Coke
Berliner Döner aus Kreuzberg
Much like America has adopted the Mexican Taco, Germany has adopted Turkey's Döner Kebab and made it its own! German Döner contain a shredded meat mixture with sauce and chopped veggies, wrapped in a warm pita. The Döner is Germany's multicultural portable food trend. Like the taco, once you eat it, it will have you captivated by its delicious flavor!
Course Entree, Snack
Cuisine Berlin
Keyword Doner, Flat bread, Grill, Kebab, Street food, Turkish
Region Berlin
Servings 4


  • 1-1/2 lbs lean veal
  • salt
  • 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.
Recipe from Berlin Cookbook by Rose Marie Donhauser, used with permission from Berlinica Publishing,LLC, available on