While Kerim Bey tucks into steak tartare in Istanbul’s Spice Bazaar, James Bond enjoys a doner kebab, which Kerim describes as young lamb broiled over charcoal and served with rice and lots of onions. Today the standard fare of the nocturnal post-pub crowd and traditionally deposited half-consumed on the pavement, the doner kebab was, when From Russia, with Love (1957) was published, considered a rather more exotic and sophisticated dish. It is difficult to replicate a doner kebab at home without a vertical rotisserie or gyro, but my recipe should produce a reasonable fascimile of an unfairly devalued dish.
- 500g minced lamb
- 1 tsp chopped thyme
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- 1 tsp olive oil
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of black pepper
- 1 onion, peeled and sliced into rings
- Vegetable oil for frying
In a mortar, grind the garlic and salt into a paste. Put the mince, garlic paste, paprika, thyme, olive oil and a generous pinch of black pepper into a mixing bowl. With your hands, combine all the ingredients and shape the mixture into a fat sausage. Refrigerate the mince for a few hours.
Push a skewer through the centre of the mince lengthwise and place the kebab under or on the grill or on a barbecue. Cook the kebab for about 30 minutes, turning regularly. Meanwhile, gently fry the onions in the vegetable oil.
To serve, shave slivers of meat from the sides of the kebab or slice the kebab thinly. Pile the onions on top.