Obviously I was a hypocritical vegetarian or just not very good at it. That said I did live there in total for nearly three years and only ate meat a few times – mainly by accident. I spoke Turkish and would always explain I didn’t eat meat, but a few times I would be assured that there was ‘no meat’ in a dish only to find very small bits of mince or tiny cubes of meat. When I mentioned it, I was told that it was “only a tiny bit” and the dish was mainly vegetables so thus it presumably didn’t count. Vegetarianism wasn’t really a widely embraced concept in Turkey in the 1990s.
Anyway, I did consciously choose the chicken kebabs and they were good and I wanted to make something similar again.
These aren’t Turkish-style kebabs though, the marinade that Dana suggests has Thai influences and is delicious. She adds garlic and this would be lovely, but I didn’t have any – still waiting for mine to be ready as I planted it late. I also didn’t have any hoisin sauce so I used a bit of ketchap manis which worked OK.
Dana has a brilliant story about finding and buying a good free-range chicken – we just stroll round the garden with an axe! To be honest though, although we did kill a chicken on Thursday we didn’t eat it, I chopped it up for the dog – it was a young one that as it had got older had an obviously deformed leg and we didn’t want it to suffer. For our dinner we used Naked Neck chicken breasts from the freezer that were left over from last autumn’s slaughter Sundays
Chicken Kebabs: chicken breasts, olive oil, seasoning; and for the marinade, 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar, 3tbs fish sauce, 3tbs soy sauce, 2tbs ketchap manis, 2-3 tbs Sriracha chilli sauce, 2tbs honey.
Mix all the marinade ingredients together and heat gently.
Cut the chicken into small pieces, season and drizzle with olive oil.
Put onto skewers, baste with marinade and grill. Keep basting as you grill and turn the kebabs regularly. It doesn’t take too long to cook.
I wanted to serve this with a salad with a slightly oriental dressing to match the marinade so I made a dressing from yuzu juice, toasted sesame oil, honey and a bit of soy sauce.
I am currently using up the last of my pickled cucumbers as the cucumber greenhouse is filling up with flowers and baby cucurbits!
Thanks Dana, brilliant recipe.
N.B. I went to Turkey in the early 1990s to teach English and then went back again in the late 1990s to do research in the archives for my PhD. I loved it there and if I wasn’t here, I think I would be there.