Çöp Şiş, Turkish Kebabs with Flatbread, are one of the simplest and most delicious of kebabs to make and are my most favourite from the Middle Eastern cuisine. They have very few ingredients and actually get done in a jiffy. The flavours of original ingredients shine through and are reminiscent of basic, healthy, honest food from centuries ago that was not yet tarnished by anything artificial.
The name though is very intriguing ! Everybody knows Şiş (sheesh) refers to chunks of meat put on a skewer (sis) and roasted (kebap). But the word
Çöp ( pronounced chirp) means ‘trash’ which is actually the word for “chaff,” or the part you don’t need from your wheat harvest. In other words, it’s ‘trash’ or ‘trimmings’ of meat turned into most appetising and juicy kebabs.
From being popular as a street food to an essential part of mezze menus, these kebabs have become an icon of Middle Eastern cuisine. Traditionally these are made with lamb meat but since chicken is more liked by my kids so here I have made them with cubed chicken pieces that stayed amazingly moist and succulent in this recipe.
To add creaminess you can also add some thick yogurt to the roll, before serving.
These kebabs are very close in taste to the Afghani Namkeen Boti, that we are more used to eating in Pakistan. Both recipes use minimum spices and are cooked with a piece of animal fat threaded onto the skewer with the meat. Here I have added olive oil to the marinade to keep the kebabs from getting dry, instead of animal fat.
Onion juice and salt are the main ingredients that work both as tenderisers and tastemakers in this dish. Grilled lemons add a big punch of smoky and sour in the end.
For Çöp Şiş, Turkish Kebabs with Flatbread :
1/2 kg boneless lamb or chicken, cut into small cubes
2 teaspoon salt
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 tablespoons olive oil
For Whole Wheat Flatbread :
1+1/2 cup whole wheat flour
A pinch salt
3/4 cup iced water or as required
Extra flour for dusting the work top
For Salad :
I medium onion, sliced
1/4 cup fresh coriander, chopped
1 green chilli pepper, chopped
4-5 green olives, chopped
2 lemons, halved
This Is What You Do :
Grate 1 onion in a bowl or roughly process in a food processor. Add salt to it, cover and set aside till it oozes out it’s juice.
Push the onion pulp through a sieve into another bowl. Add garlic, cumin and olive oil to the salted onion juice.
Pour this mixture over lamb/chicken cubes, leave to marinate 30 minutes for chicken, 1 hour for lamb.
If you want to serve Çöp Şiş in the traditional way, rolled inside flatbreads, then prepare the flatbreads before you start grilling the meat. The best time is to do that while the meat is marinating.
In a big mixing bowl, add flour and salt. Make a well in the centre and start adding a little water at a time, drawing the flour in from the sides.
Knead a few minutes till a firm but pliable dough forms.
You can process all the dough ingredients in a food processor for a quick result.
Cover the dough for ten minutes.
Heat a skillet/Tawa/ griddle on medium heat.
Divide the dough into 4-5 balls, roll out each ball into thin circles.
Cook one at a time over hot griddle till both sides are done. Keep them covered and warm.
Heat the grill.
Thread the marinated meat onto the skewers. Place over hot grill.
Meanwhile mix sliced onions, chopped coriander, olives and green chilli pepper in a bowl. Keep them handy.
Toss the lemon halves onto the grill too, face down.
Meat will take only minutes getting done because it has been marinated and cut into quite small pieces.
Serve over warm flatbread, topped with salad and squeeze some grilled lemon over to finish it off. Roll and enjoy !
Makes 4-5 Çöp Şiş rolls depending on the size of flat breads.