Kebab: A few interesting facts on the sensational Middle-Eastern appetizer

“There will not be peace until access to the kebab is universal.”

– Kofi Annan

From the expression of the former Secretary General of the United Nations we can easily perceive the eminence of kebabs. It is indeed very difficult to find a foodie who hasn’t relished the ineffaceable taste of kebabs. A taste so profound that the way towards the restaurants across the world became smoother for this middle-eastern cuisine. More than thousand years of history of kebabs traversed various phases in different parts of the planet. So it is quite obvious that there must be several compelling narratives on kebabs in the various chapters of their evolution across the world. Let me highlight some of the interesting facts about the kebabs.

Food photo created by timolina –


The word “kebab” arrived for the first time in 1377 in a Turkish book known as Kyssa-i Yusuf. The meaning of the word “kebab” is “to roast”. The word is also analogous to the meat patty added with spices. It is considered that the kebabs were actually originated from Turkey during the Ottoman regime. In the ancient Turkey, soldiers were habituated to broil the chunk of freshly hunted animals on open field fires using their swords. Though the practice of cooking in this way is quite familiar since the discovery of fire in the human civilization. During an excavation in the island of Santorini in Greece some stone-based barbecues for skewers of 17th century BC were exhumed.

Image by Никита Лазоренко from Pixabay

The conquest of the world

The kebab is considered as the symbol of immigration of the middle-eastern culture and tradition in Europe. Food-historians often mention that the route followed by the troops of Genghis Khan traversing Mongolia to Spain through the Middle-East, experienced the evolution of kebabs in several forms. As per the eminent Moroccan explorer Ibn Battuta the kebab was a constituent part of the daily menu of Indian Royal families in 1200 AD. Long before the Mughals ventured in kebab the Afghan invaders brought it to the Indian carte du jour. The kebabs achieved its popularity in Germany in the post-world war II scenario while the Turkish people were immigrating to Germany in huge numbers. Germany earnestly embraced the kebabs specifically the doner kebabs. Surprisingly in the Germany alone, there are more than 17000 kebab restaurants, making it the ultimate fast-food of the country. The sensational platter has gained equal admiration in USA and UK. It is one of the important members among Pakistani cuisines.

Photo by Kishor on Unsplash


Apart from the mainstream variants such as Shish, Doner and Chappali there are numerous regional variants of kebab. The shish kebab is a part of the daily diet in Arabia from where it originated. The traditional shish kebabs are slices of marinated lamb grilled using metal skewers over the hot wood or coals. Doner kebab features chopped lamb, chicken or beef roasted on a slowly rotating vertical spit. This variant is hugely popular in Europe, America and United Kingdom. Chappali is a fried kebab originated in Afghanistan and in the North-west frontier province of Pakistan. Galawati, Tunde, Bihari, Kakori, Kalmi, Reshmi, Shami, Seekh, Tikka and Shikampuri are among very popular Indian and Pakistani variants of kebabs.

Food photo created by stockking –

Cooking procedure

Although the most common cooking procedure of kebab utilizes a skewer, there are several exceptions. Kebab platters can consist of ground or cut up meat or even seafood served with vegetables and fruits. Sometimes it is cooked on a grill like hamburger whereas some recipes bake it in an oven or in a pan. Even some kebabs are served as a stew. Accompaniments for the servings vary with the recipes. In France kebabs are often stuffed inside bread and served with french fries. Each of the Turkish cookbooks features a page known as kebaplar which consists of several different recipes for kebabs.

Are you craving for the savory meat chunks? Just order your favorite kebab platter and enjoy!!


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