THE HEALTH SNOB'S GUIDE TO KEBABS
Think outside the Styrofoam box. Done right, kebabs have handfuls of health benefits all wrapped up. It’s time to skewer the kofte’s bad rep
01 ELEPHANT’S LEG IN THE ROOM
Those greasy post-pub pittas are a poor relation of true Middle Eastern cuisine. “The dubious meat and limp veg at the average late-night kebab joint lead you to compensate for the lack of flavour with sugary sauces,” says Ed Brunet of Le Bab ( eatlebab.com). Fire up your flatbread with quality, healthy ingredients instead.
Organic, high-welfare lamb, as opposed to the questionable cuts in a standard high-street doner, contains up to 50% more omega 3, which aids production of sleep hormone melatonin according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. No need to count sheep.
This lean source of protein also doles out niacin. Critical for liver health, this vitamin is useful when ditching the post-pub pit stop, but not the booze itself. By preparing it with fenugreek, you score extra iron, which helps your body turn protein into muscle mass.
Out of the deep-fat fryer and onto the grill: cooking squid on a skewer means it packs roughly half the calories of breaded rings, with a higher proportion of protein – 70%, to be exact. It’s also packed with prostate cancer-fighter nutrient selenium. An impressive haul.
The Indian cheese is full of conjugated linoleic acid, which has been found to reduce body fat, especially around your abdomen, according to the International Society of Sports Nutrition. If you crave meat-free, hunger-busting protein, stick with this.
02 ALL UP ON YOUR GRILL
The beauty of giving your food a good grilling is that excess fat drains away during cooking. Plus, use the best charcoal and you can also impart extra flavour without reaching for an industrial-sized squeezy bottle of garlic mayo. Brunet advises avoiding standard supermarket briquettes: “It’s normally the broken-up pieces left over after the good bits have been taken out,” he says. “Good charcoal will burn longer with a steadier heat, for more precise cooking and a beautiful smoky flavour.” Opt for pro-grade hardwood lumpwood charcoal. Meanwhile, your skewers don’t have to be pricey, but they do need to hold their cargo in place. Choose flat, wide ones over the spindly kind. And to avoid wheeling out a BBQ set every time, try a Prakti stove ( praktidesign.com). You’ll be grilling in style within minutes.
02 GO WITH THE GRAIN
Fillings taken care of, there are further #gains to be made by switching up the carby base. By trading a white pitta or wrap for a wholegrain, multiseed version, you stand to win an extra gram of protein, triple the fibre, and twice the energising manganese. Now get stuck in to the recipes below.
CLASSIC LAMB ADANA KOFTE SERVES 2
Lamb mince, 360g Ground cumin, ½tsp Onion, 1tbsp, finely diced Soy sauce, 1tbsp A garlic clove, grated Coriander, bunch Lemon, ½, juiced Extra-virgin olive oil Gyros-style flatbread, 2 A cucumber, sliced A tomato, sliced
Combine the mince, cumin, onion, soy sauce and half the garlic (for an anti-cancer kick). Divide in two, pop it on your skewers, and grill until just pink in the middle. Meanwhile, blitz the coriander, garlic and lemon with enough oil to form a paste. Once the meat is cooked, slide it off and stuff your bread with your salsa, cucumber and vitamin-rich tomato.
CHICKEN SHISH & HARISSA MAYO SERVES 2
Skinless, boneless chicken thigh, 400g, diced Ground coriander, ¼tsp Ground fenugreek, ¼tsp Ground black pepper, ½tsp Tenderstem broccoli, 100g Light agave syrup, ½tsp White wine vinegar, 100g Belazu rose harissa, 1tbsp Mayonnaise, 2tbsp Wholegrain wraps, 2
Mix the chicken with the spices, and thread onto two skewers. Char the broccoli – its folate is a proven fertility-booster – over hot coals, then bring the syrup and vinegar to a boil and pour it on top. Cover and leave to cool in a small bowl. Mix the harissa and mayo. Grill the skewers over medium coals, then stuff the meat into a wrap with the broccoli stalks and harissa mayo.
SQUID KEBAB WITH CHERMOULA SERVES 2
A red bell pepper Parsley, bunch Coriander, bunch Ground cumin, ½tsp Smoked paprika, ½tsp A lemon, juiced Extra-virgin olive oil Squid, 2 tubes Watercress, bunch
Dice the pepper – the red variety are ultra-rich in vitamin C. For the chermoula, blitz the herbs, spices, lemon juice and oil. Rub the squid tubes with a little oil, then grill over a high heat until cooked; slice into 1cm rings. Plate up on a bed of watercress – it’s packed with bonestrengthening phosphorous – and top with chermoula and pepper.
TANDOORI- STYLE PANEER & CURRY MAYO SERVES 2
Greek yoghurt, 2tbsp Tomato paste, 1tsp Garam masala, ½tsp Turmeric, ¼tsp Paneer, 300g, diced White wine vinegar, 100g Light agave syrup, ½tsp Chilli flakes, ½tsp Baby beetroot, 6, cooked Flatbreads, 2
Mix the yoghurt, tomato, masala and antioxidant-rich turmeric; then marinate the paneer for two hours. Grill on two skewers until slightly charred. Bring the vinegar, agave and chilli flakes to a boil, and pour over the beetroot, shown to boost muscle efficiency. Serve with the paneer in flatbread with a dollop of curry mayo, and enjoy!