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Roasted Lamb Cubes With Yogurt, Roasted Tomato Sauce, Peppers, and Frothy Butter

(Yogurtlu Kebap)

From Ayla Algar, Classic Turkish Cooking

Serves: 4


  • 1.5-2 lbs. lamb sirloin or boned lamb from leg or shoulder, free of fat and sinew, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • Marinade:
    • 1 c. light olive oil
    • 1/4 c. yogurt
    • 2 tbs. onion liquid
    • 1 tbs. lemon juice
    • 1 tbs. thyme
    • salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 recipe pide, or store-bought flat bread or pita
  • Roasted Tomato Sauce:
    • 2 or 3 large tomatoes
    • 2 tender long green peppers, Hungarian green peppers, or 1 poblano
    • 1 tbs. olive oil
    • 2 sprigs thyme
    • 2 tsp. minced garlic
    • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
    • splash of vinegar
    • a few parsley leaves
    • salt
  • 2 c. drained plain yogurt, at room temperature
  • salt
  • 8 tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • pepper
  • 4 tender long green peppers, or 2 poblanos


  1. Mix ingredients for the marinade, and marinate the lamb overnight in refrigerator, or for 3-4 hours at room temperature. If refrigerated, allow to return to room temperature before cooking.
  2. Make tomato sauce: put tomatoes in a hot dry cast-iron skillet over medium heat and roast on all sides until light brown blisters appear on the skin. Peel, chop, and put in a bowl.
  3. Roast peppers directly over a gas burner until black and charred. Top and seed, chop finely, and set aside in bowl (poblanos must be peeled).
  4. Heat oil in saucepan; stir in tomatoes, thyme, and peppers; cook, mashing tomatoes with a fork until they form a sauce. Stir in garlic, pepper blakes, splash of vinegar, parsley, and salt. Taste and adjust with salt and/or vinegar and set aside.
  5. Beat yogurt with a wooden sppon, adding a little salt until it is smooth and creamy.
  6. Make charcoal fire. Thread lamb on skewers. Just before cooking lamb, toast bread so that it is barely crisp. Cut into bite-sized pieces and keep warm, wrapped in foil, in a low oven. Put butter in a small saucepan and keep warm ready to heat. If using poblanos, roast them first before the lamb; top, seed, and peel. When everything is ready, sprinkle the lamb cubes with salt and pepper, and grill them and the peppers 2-3 inches above the fire. (Should take no more than 2-3 minutes. Do not overcook.)
  7. Heat the tomato sauce. Heat the butter until frothy. Assemble the final dish on warm plates or a large serving platter. Start with bread cubes. Spread yogurt over the bread. Spoon the tomato sauce over the yogurt. Place the lamb cubes and roasted peppers on top of the yogurt. Pour the butter on top. Serve.


  • I've used an Italian Rustico bread as well as various flatbreads. Turkish pide is a flatish loaf, about 3/4-inch thick, and is ideal. I've never used foccacia, but it's much the same idea.
  • The recipe calls for assembling on plates. I've always assembled on a platter, which I usually pop back under the broiler for a couple of minutes.

Keywords: Turkish, Lamb.