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The Word Kebab Is Derived From The Persian Word “Kabab” Meaning “Fry”

Kebab Day celebrates this delicious barbecue favorite and its origins, and of course, gives us an excuse to eat all the kebab we want!

  • Kebabs have a long and august history, starting in the Middle East where initially they were simply grilled meat heavily seasoned. There are two particular varieties which those of us in the West are particularly familiar, being shish kebab and doner kebab.
  • Shish kebab is far and away the more commonly known term and refers to a variety that is popular in Asia.  While we usually see these dishes prepared with the vegetables and meat on the same skewer, they were initially done separately.
  • The doner kebab, on the other hand, is most commonly known as the source of the meat for gyros.  The outer layer is slowly sliced as it cooks and served, most commonly in a pita as the famous gyro.
  • Researchers found that the average kebab provided 98 per cent of the daily salt quota for an adult. A typical example also contained nearly 1,000 calories, which is half the daily recommended maximum for women, and 148 per cent of the daily saturated fat limit.
  • The practice of cooking meat on a stick or skewer originates in prehistorical times, possibly as long as a million years ago, when early humans began cooking with fire.
  • Excavations in Santorini, Greece, unearthed stone sets of barbecue for skewers used before the 17th century BC.
  • the word kebab is derived from the Persian word “kabab” meaning “fry”.
  • The word was first mentioned in a Turkish script of Kyssa-i Yusuf in 1377, which is the oldest known source where kebab is mentioned as a food.
  • Persian kebab was served in the royal houses during various Islamic Empires and even commoners would enjoy it for breakfast with naan or pita.
  •  Kebabs in Armenia are prepared of ground meat spiced with pepper, parsley and other herbs and roasted on skewers.
  • Although gyros is unquestionably of Middle Eastern origin, the issue of whether modern-day souvlaki came to Greece via Turkish cuisine, and should be considered a Greek styling of shish kebab, or is a contemporary revival of Greek tradition dating as far back as 17th century BC Minoan civilization is a topic of sometimes heated debate, at least between Greeks and Turks.
  • The German-style döner kebab was supposedly invented by a Turkish immigrant in Berlin in the 1970s and became a popular German take-away food during the 1990s. It is almost exclusively sold by Turks and considered a Turkish specialty in Germany.
  • In France kebabs are usually served with french fries, often stuffed into the bread itself. In Paris, this variation is called Sandwich grec (“Greek sandwich”).
  • Every Turkish cookbook has a chapter called kebaplar, where dozens more recipes exist.
  • In several Asian countries, there’s satay or sate, which is roasted skewered meat, usually chicken served with a dipping sauce that’s often made from peanuts.
  • Japan has yakitori which is grilled skewered fowl.
  • In France, shish kebabs are called brochettes, meaning “skewers.”


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