“Iskender kebab” or “Iskender döner” is one of the famous kebab dishes of Bursa province. “İskender kebab” started to be cooked in Kayhan Bazaar in 1867 for the first time. In fact, even though its base material is Döner, we can say that the most important elements of İskender are butter on top, tomato sauce, yogurt next to it and fatty pita pieces on the bottom. Also, the meat used in İskender is different from the meat of any doner. The meat from which İskender’s kebab is made is obtained from the rams fed Uludağ thyme. Iskender meat will be less fat. The tomato sauce and yogurt used also determine the quality of “İskender”.
History of Iskender Kebab
The family, which started with the Mehmet Efendi Restaurant in the 1850s, is doing the lamb turning and tandoori business that was common in Bursa at that time. “Iskender”, the family’s entrepreneur son, “Iskender”, where the cooked meat (turning tandir or lamb) was sold in the fixed place as well as in the overhead tables, “How can we present the meat differently to people?” And “What can we do to be the best?” she thinks. He tries to realize the idea of ”İskender Kebap” with the support he received from his uncle “Sabit Dede”. Upon his father’s negative words, he first tells the subject to his mother and then he persuades his father. After all, he proposes to his father, “Cooking lamb meat, which has been cooked in parallel with the fire on the ground for centuries, by standing up and upright!” Thus, he becomes the first person to realize the idea of vertical kebab in Bursa. With the support of his father Mehmet Efendi, his business continues to develop.
Iskender Efendi, who started to work for this purpose, boned meat in time; He cleans his bones and nerves and wears a bottle. After cooking it by rotating it against the fire, it makes a presentation by cutting it thinly. This different presentation attracts a lot of attention in Bursa. This presentation is now known as İskender Efendi’s “doner kebab”. Because the meat is boneless and unlimited, it is cooked vertically on the stove and cut in a different way. However, today it is not in the form of kebab. It has become a delightful local food plate by adding yogurt to the edge of the meat put on pita, which is simpler, without a fork and knife, called the Turkish name of that day, and flavoring with tomato paste and butter. Now, when İskender is mentioned in Bursa, the first dish comes to mind. In these years, the population of Bursa is very low. It consists of the whole Bursa Kayhan-Tahtakale-Reyhan triangle and districts such as Maksem and Tophane. All people know each other. The restaurant, where İskender Döner Kebab, which started to be known with Mehmet son of İskender Efendi at that time, was served, is a shop of only 20-30 square meters.
Cooking “İskender” and preparing it for serving
Meats prepared in advance and lined on skewers are placed in front of the fire, which is 10 to 15 centimeters away from the burnt doner stove. The doner cooks slowly and slowly over this fire. After cooking thinly with a knife from top to bottom carefully cut. Thus, doner kebabs are ready to be served.
Pita bread is nicely tempered on the grill. The plates where the pita will be placed must be hot. This is very important for the İskender Kebap presentation. For this reason, the plates are well heated on the grill. Pita bread is cut into small bites and immediately put into a hot plate. Spread the sauce over the pita. Very quickly, the pita is covered with doner. While these processes are happening, butter is thrown in the pan. As soon as the kebab is prepared, butter is prepared by melting. Plenty of butter is poured over the finished kebab. All operations must be done at the same time. Otherwise, if the kebab is prepared and waited before the butter is poured, the kebab cools quickly. Therefore, it is necessary to pay attention to these processes while preparing kebab. When the kebab is prepared, if the sauce waits, the kebab will lose its flavor.
Bon Appetit 🙂