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What’s in Your Lamb Kebab.

Food programmes are always of interest to me and one that caught my attention this week was the new series ‘Rip Off Food on BBC,Presented by Gloria Hunniford.

The programme looks at the tricks of the trade used by food manufacturers and supermarkets, revealing how customers are fooled and misled when chosing what to buy.

Takeaway food was highlighted,in particular the lamb kebab and lamb curry and what concerned me was that some of the lamb dishes tested contained not only lamb but chicken and beef. The food tested on the programme came from food outlets in 4 Warickshire towns and was tested by the local trading Standards Officers. 20 restaurants were visited and 39 dishes were bought for sampling and out of the 19 Donner  kebabs analysed all in addition to lamb contained other meats such as chicken, beef and pork. According to the head of Warickshire Trading Standards this is a nationwide problem so does make you wonder just what is in take away food. The food samples were also tested for artificial colourings and some were found to contain 18 times the permitted limit, quite alarming when you consider the effects on children and people with health problems such as asthma.

Donner kebabs are traditionally made with minced lamb so it is probably once of the easier dishes to disguise with other meats and given the levels of fat, salt and colourings in such takeaway dishes it really does not make for a healthy meal.

I’m sure there are some very good kebab takeaway establishments around and it was listening to my boys talking about how Glasgow had some fantastic kebab houses that got me cooking my own version for them. Apparently they know where the best kebabs in Glasgow can be found and it was that announcement that first led me to ‘Take on the Takeaway’…….a lamb kebab…all the trimmings and the first time I made it I even wrapped it in paper for them.

This version is much healthier and can be made with any meat although I usually use lamb leg steaks, and serve on a large round pitta with salad,red onion, tomatoes, raita and a chili sauce.

Do the boys enjoy the homemade kebab? Yes, they do indeed and it’s been cooking dishes like this that has encouraged them to become more interested in food and to start experimenting with different flavours in the kitchen
Lamb kebab.

Approx 6 lamb leg steak
4 tsp Harissa paste…….I use Belazu Rose Harissa
2 Tbsp oil….I tend to use rapeseed although olive will be fine.

Place the lamb steaks in a plastic bag , mix the Harissa and oil together and add to the lamb, mix well and leave to marinade either overnight or for a few hours.
When ready to cook, heat a griddle or grill and cook steak for approx 4 minutes each side or to your liking. When cooked serve on pita bread with the accompaniments.

Accompaniments.Pitta bread…the large round pitta bread from Warburtons are ideal as you can lay kebab on top and fold.
Chopped tomatoes
Sliced red onion
Shredded lettuce

Chili sauce
250ml Natural yogurt
100 ml tomato ketchup
1 tsp chili powder
1tsp mint sauce

250ml Natural yoghurt
Half a cucumber-chopped
1tbsp chopped fresh mint
Half Tsp ground roasted cumin seeds
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper


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