One of my favorite places to grab lunch during the week is this little hole in the wall Turkish spot a couple blocks from my office. Several of my coworkers had raved about it, so one day I tagged along.
“What would you like, sweetie?” the cashier asked
“Chicken kabab, please.” That was the only thing I really recognized on the menu.
“Shish or doner?” Apparently there is more than one variety of a chicken kebab.
“Uh. Uh. Doner?” I responded, even thought I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
When I opened the container back at the office I was certain that they gave me the wrong order. It wasn’t chicken skewered on a wooden dowel with some vegetables. It was just some chunks of chicken covered in some sort of red sauce (I wrongfully assumed tomato), over a bed of rice. Sure it looked edible, but it wasn’t what I ordered. My coworkers had never ordered the chicken doner off the menu, so they couldn’t provide any assurance that what I ended up with was actually good. Despite all that, I decided to dig in.
“Oh, this is pretty good!” I thought to myself after the first bite. Then I proceeded to clean my entire plate in a matter of minutes. It wasn’t just good, it was freaking fantastic!
A few months later, my husband and I went on our trip to Berlin and find out doner kabab is actually one of the most popular fast food dishes in the city. There is practically a doner kabab place on every corner. (I knew these were my kind of people!) Once we returned home from our trip, I made it one of my goals to try to recreate my favorite recipe.
I started by perfecting the marinade. Really, it’s all in the marinade. I combined some olive oil, lemon juice, paprika, garlic, coriander, and a bit of cumin in a shallow dish and gave it a good whisking. I tossed in about a pound of chicken thighs, making sure every nook and cranny of the chicken was covered in the marinade.
Side note: I prefer chicken thighs in this particular recipe because the meat stays nice and juicy. You could make it with chicken breast, but it might become too dry.
I let the chicken sit in the oil and spices for about 6 hours (overnight would be preferred), then I seared them in a cast iron skillet over high heat, and transferred them to the oven to continue cooking.
Once the chicken was cooked through and has rested for a bit, I chopped it up into chunks and plated it along with some lavash (flatbread), hummus, and a yogurt sauce (pretty much a tzaziki sauce).
The first bite was just about as good as my very first bite of chicken doner all those months ago. My husband and I piled the chicken onto the lavash and topped it with the hummus and yogurt to make a delicious gyro-esqu wrap. No matter how you eat it – in a wrap, on rice, on lettuce, and by itself. It is always delicious!
Tiffany M. says
Hi, I would really like to try this Chicken Donner recipe, but not all the ingredients are listed with there amounts. You have not put how much garlic, coriander, or cumin in the recipe list. or the seafood add is covering it. I tried to print the recipe also, and the ingredient amounts also were not there. Thanks
Tiffany! Thank you so much for pointing that out! Not sure how I overlooked that, but I have fixed the recipe. Thank goodness for you!
Amalia Miller says
Thank you for this recipe! I’ve been searching for a good kebab recipe, and I didn’t even realize they were called doner kebabs! I ate them a lot in Vienna this summer, and we just saw them as “Kebaps” or “Kebap boxes”. So excited to try it!!
Amalia Miller says
How long (apx.) should the chicken cook?
It depends on your oven and the size of the chicken. The internal temperature should reach 165 degrees, which can take 5-10 minutes for smaller pieces of chicken, or longer for larger pieces.