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The Nomadic Kitchen - Lamb Kofta Kebabs

"Claiming to have been awarded a masters degree in Kebab studies from Oxford University, Kadir took to the craft of Kebab making with an air of consummate professionalism."

Tom Perkins, writer of Spices and Spandex & founder of The Nomadic Kitchen, cycled from South London to Cape Town trailing culinary discovery along the way. 



No trip to Turkey would quite be complete without a healthy consumption of kebabs. They became a solid staple during our time on the road through this fantastic country. Best cooked over open coals, but just as easy to put under the grill on the highest setting.

A kebab done properly - packed with dried and fresh herbs, spices and served with some crunchy citrusy salads, chilled minted yogurt and toasted flatbreads. There’s very little that can beat that. The best we ever had? Without doubt that accolade must be awarded to the magnificent character that is Kadir. Claiming to have been awarded a masters degree in Kebab studies from Oxford University, Kadir took to the craft of Kebab making with an air of consummate professionalism. That’s about where the professionalism ended; every other moment we spent with Kadir he was playing the jester. Wickedly funny, relentlessly up-beat, a true hero along our way.

Serves 4 

  • 500g MINCED LAMB
  • 2 tsp DRIED THYME
  • 2 tsp DRIED MINT
  • 2 tsp SUMAC
  • 1 tsp CUMIN SEEDS {lightly toasted}
  • ½ thumb FRESH GINGER {grated}
  • 2 CLOVES GARLIC {finely chopped}
  • 1 LEMON (zest & juice} 
  • ½ RED ONION {finely sliced}
  • ½ head RED CABBAGE {finely shredded}
  • large handful CORIANDER {roughly chopped}
  • large handful MINT {roughly chopped}
  • 4 large FLATBREADS {substitute with tortilla wraps}
  • plain YOGURT {to serve}


In a large mixing bowl place all of the lamb mince, the dried herbs and spices, the ginger, garlic, lemon zest and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Work all these flavours together with your hands.

Divide the kofta mix into 6 equal portions, and get yourself 6 kebab skewers. With damp hands push and mould the mix around the skewers. Try to keep the width of the kebabs to about an inch – this will help them to hold their shape better and cook evenly throughout. Mould all 6 kebabs (any extra kofta mix can be frozen), and then place on a tray and let them rest in the fridge for 20 minutes. 

Preheat the grill to its highest setting. Place the mixed peppers onto a baking tray, brush with a little olive oil and grill for 10-12 minutes. You want to turn the peppers occasionally so that the skin is nicely blackened and blistered on all sides. Once achieved, set aside in a colander to cool.

Place the kebabs under the grill (on highest heat) or over hot coals, and cook until golden brown on all sides. This should take about 8-10 minutes.

De-seed the now-cooled mixed peppers and remove the worst of the blackened skin (although a little bit of char is great), and cut into 1 cm wide strips. Drizzle with some olive oil and a small pinch of salt and pepper. In another serving bowl place all the cabbage, the red onion, half of the coriander and the mint, a good hit of lemon, a drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of sumac, and season to taste. Mix all together.

Give the flatbreads 30 seconds under the grill or over the coals, and now its time to assemble. In the middle of the flat breads place some of the blackened peppers, then slide the golden kebab off the skewer (you can break the kebab up or leave whole). Then pile on top a generous helping of the tangy slaw, some more fresh mint and coriander leaves, a couple of dollops of plain yogurt, a good squeeze of lemon and a light dusting of more sumac.      

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