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

Men's Health (Malaysia) - - Food & Nutrition -

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.

LAMB

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.

CHICKEN

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.

SQUID

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.

PANEER

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

METHOD

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

METHOD

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

METHOD

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

METHOD

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!

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