Shawarmas have become a classic dish in Indian street food culture. The whole charm of the shawarma is the process of seeing the meat being grilled on a rotisserie. As the server uses his knife skills to cut the chicken to fine pieces you get excited out of anticipation for your shawarma. The thin rumali roti wrapped around the meat accentuates the flavours and the cherry on top is the green chutney and mayonnaise served on the side. Have you wondered what exactly is this meat that is prepared with so much care and effort? What is the star of the shawarma called? It is called doner kebab.
(Also Read: Did Kadir Nurman really invent the doner kebab?)
Doner kebab is a style of preparing meats that use a vertical rotisserie to create this kebab delicacy. Doner kebabs can be made using any meat of your choice but the predominant meat is lamb. The kebab is prepared using seasoned meats that are then stacked in the shape of an inverted cone on the vertical rotisserie. The vertical rotisserie has a cooking element attached to one side. The meat slowly rotates to cook evenly in the vertical rotisserie. This process is time-consuming as this style of cooking is what makes the kebab tastes so delicious and flavourful. As the outer layers are cooked, they are sliced into thin shavings that are later used in popular dishes like the Arabian shawarma, the Greek gyro, the Canadian donair and the Mexican al pastor. The inspiration behind the doner kebab is the vertical rotisserie that is used to make this dish. The vertical rotisserie was invented at the time of the Ottoman empire, and now it is used in all corners of the world.
The doner kebab is rarely eaten as a stand-alone dish and is always served on a plate with various accoutrements like pita bread, fresh salad, rice or sandwiches. While making the traditional doner kebab can be a bit tricky in an Indian household due to the lack of a vertical rotisserie, that doesn’t mean that it is not possible. We have found a fool-proof way to recreate the same doner kebab that is used in shawarmas without heavy equipment!
You can use the doner kebab whichever way you like, you can use it to fill tacos, to create a Mediterranean pizza by using the kebab as a topping, or you can go the classic way and pair it with rumali roti and make shawarma.
Let us know how you liked this recipe!