Yogurtlu Kebab

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Back to Square One

By Joyce Goldstein

Published 1992

  • About

Most of us have eaten shish kebab served with pilaf. This classic Turkish kebab is served on top a bed of warm pita bread, then drizzled with a cumin-flavored tomato sauce and one with yogurt and garlic. It’s a really wonderful combination, the textures very complex and the flavors quite rich. You may come to prefer this to the more restrained conventional kebab. As a summer variation, try adding fresh peeled and diced tomatoes, sprinkled with cumin, to the yogurt sauce and omit the cooked cumin tomato sauce entirely.


  • ½ cup white wine
  • 14 garlic cloves
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh or 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 boneless loins of lamb, well trimmed, about 1 pound each, or 2 pounds boneless leg of lamb, well trimmed and cut into 1½-inch cubes for brochettes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or unsalted butter
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 large rounds pita bread
  • 1 cup Basic Tomato Sauce seasoned with 2 teaspoons ground cumin



Combine the wine. 12 of the garlic cloves, the onion, and oregano in the container of a food processor or blender and pulse to purée. Pour over the lamb in a nonaluminum container. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or let stand at room temperature for a few hours.

Finely mince the remaining 2 garlic cloves. Heat the oil or butter in a small skillet over low heat. Add the garlic and cook a few minutes to soften. Scrape into a bowl with the yogurt, season with salt and pepper, and refrigerate until serving time.

Bring the lamb to room temperature, if necessary. Heat a grill or broiler.

Wrap the pita bread in foil and warm in a 375-degree oven, or in the top of a double boiler or steamer. Or place directly on the grill to warm for a minute or two on each side. Bring the tomato sauce to a simmer and keep warm. Bring the yogurt sauce to room temperature.

Remove the lamb from the marinade and, if making brochettes, thread the cubes onto 4 skewers. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and grill 4 to 5 minutes on each side, until rare, for loins, or 8 to 12 minutes total for brochettes. Slice the loin meat across the grain or remove the lamb cubes from the skewers.

Cut the warmed pita breads into quarters and place on 4 hot serving plates. Top with the lamb slices or cubes. Drizzle with tomato sauce and then the yogurt sauce. Serve with grilled eggplant and/or zucchini.