Friday, 25 April 2014

Vegetable Kebabs with Za'atar

Less of a standalone recipe, more of a suggested traditional accompaniment to my Turkish chicken shish kebabs and spicy minced lamb kebabs.

Whenever we eat at Turkish restaurants and order chicken shish kebabs (Pilic shish, as they're called in the local-ish, Şiş tavuk or Shish taouk to the rest of the world), or spicy minced lamb kebabs (Adana kebabs) they always serve them with skewers of onions, tomatoes and Turkish green peppers roasted over the grill, which make a delicious side.

Vegetable kebabs recipe

So of course, when I make the meat kebabs myself, I like to serve them with little vegetable kebabs also. Me, being me, I have to meddle with them slightly, by adding a sprinkle of za'ater - a condiment made from dried herbs, sesame seeds and frequently salt, sometimes with sumac in it (coeliacs beware - sometimes this contains wheat / gluten, so check the ingredients) - and a cheeky pickled pepper for a kick sometimes, too! If you wanted to make these into something more substantial as part of a vegetarian meal, you could add cubes of halloumi cheese to them, and other vegetables such as thick courgette slices and mushrooms.

Serves four, 45 calories per serving. [Calories in square brackets, if you're counting]

If you fancy putting together a nice Turkish feast, with a shopping list and preparation plan, then have a look here!
  • 3 tomatoes, quartered (180g) [36]
  • 1 onion (white or red) cut into 8 wedges [41]
  • 2 small green peppers, de-seeded and cut into 8ths (120g, Turkish if you can get them), or 8-12 padron peppers [31]
  • 4 pickled peppers (optional, e.g. Melis brand, about 60g) [21]
  • Oil spray, for ease of use [4 calories per actuation], 11 sprays, or 1 tsp oil [45]
  • Few pinches of Za'atar (optional - check ingredients for wheat if cooking Gluten Free) [4]
  • Four skewers
If using wooden or bamboo skewers, soak for at least an hour, to prevent them burning. Pre-heat the barbecue, grill (USA broiler) or griddle, depending on how you're going to cook your kebabs.

Divide each onion wedge into a couple of pieces of similar thickness (or individual layers if you prefer - but 2-3 layers cooks best, as in the photo on the right)). Divide all your vegetables into four equal piles then thread onto the skewers, alternating - it's best to start and finish with something firm, like a thick piece of onion to make sure nothing else slips on or off.

Put them next to each other, then give them about 5 sprays of oil from a few inches up, to cover evenly and sprinkle with a couple of pinches of za'atar, if desired.

Turn them over and repeat the process on the other side, then cook for a few minutes on each side, until they are cooked to your liking, and serve as a side dish.

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