About Kebab, History of Kebab, Kebab in Turkish Cuisine


When doing researches about kebab, it’s required to start from ”kebab” word first of all. Root, meaning and definitions within the word kebab will guide us.

Looking at the definitions of the word ”kebab” and meanings it takes in historical periods, it can be said that kebab exists since the moment fire was found.

Kebap means meat cooked drily directly on fire or within a pot according to the Turkish Language Association. (However, what we understand from today’s definition kebab is that it includes tomato and pepper). According to the comments of the experts, people’s waiting for the meat to be cooked around the fire when fire was found and used to cook meat, i.e. when the kebab was being cooked for the first time formed a basis for table culture.

In Sumerian language, the word kebab is derived from ”kabuba” word meaning roasting. According to the some of the sources, kebab is a general definition for the Arabic-origin meat dishes. From these explanations, it’s told that kebab comes to Anatolia from peasants who immigrated to Adana from Arabic countries to cultivate.

In addition to all these, some of the history books includes the information that Darius, king of Persia, used to make show of strength to his soldiers by spitting the roasted meat to a skewer before going to war. In that period, kebab, in other words roasted meat, was meant to be indicator for force and wealth. And kebab is used as pieces of meat spitted to the skewer. Through the human history, eating and drinking culture was developed by multi-staged transitions and kebab was also developed in that parallel.

In first nomadic societies, it’s seen that people were collecting things and particularly the women tried to survive with the herbs they collected from the nature until they learned how to hunt. Men started hunting when their physical strength increased and they started to eat the meats they hunted without cooking and after the fire was found they begin to cook the meat with trial-and-error method. Accordingly, it can be said that usage of the spices was started before kebab.

When human began to sacrifice animals for god according to the beliefs of communities, techniques to eat and cook meats were started to increase. Technique for meat tenderizing and cutting into small pieces, as we call mince today, was also developed in that period. History of mince kebab is also dates back to ancient times…

It won’t be wrong to say that kebab cooking technique was started in that period. Kebab within today’s eating and drinking culture was started after the fire was found in the history of humanity and developed as usage of spices and meat cooking techniques increased. Mince type kebabs and vegetable kebabs were emerged in those periods and developed to take its form today. Existence of spices within the kebab dates back to older times as mentioned above.

When kebab is handled according to the historical periods, we see that it took its shape according to the conditions in that period.


Although kebab has an important place in Turkish cuisine, it has earned the position it deserves yet in recent years. Self-development of kebab restaurants and transformation into elegant restaurants in recent years and changes in presentation of kebabs had undoubtedly an impact on this. Kebab attracts the attention of important chiefs of world cuisines with its presentation besides its historical past and taste.

While arguments about red meat are still ongoing in recent times, experts tell that red meat is a very important food product if it’s eaten continently, a very important food product thanks to its strengthening nature and serious problem can occur in case of its deficiency. Kebab becomes more healthily with accompanying vegetables and lettuces considering its presentation. Especially, onion and garlic accompanying the kebabs are used as natural antibiotics throughout four seasons recently. When we individually examine pomegranate syrup, fruits, vegetables used in other kebab types, kebab combination seems to be healthy.