How To Make Iskender At Your Home

Winters are here and just like me I know there are others who are extremely lazy to get out of their warm and cozy beds, however guys I have the […]

Winters are here and just like me I know there are others who are extremely lazy to get out of their warm and cozy beds, however guys I have the perfect warm hearty winter satisfier for you. Living in turkey I know that Iskender is something that is very difficult to resist.  Being a doner dish that is cooked vertically on a steel rod I know it would be extremely difficult for one to do that at home. No one wants to go through the hassle of rotating the piece of meat again and again and then slicing it so Ladies and gentlemen here is the solution to the difficulties we all have been facing.

Ingredients: (Döner) (Serves 4)

  • Half a kilo of tenderloin divided into two pieces
  • 200 grams of minced ground meat
  • Flat bread or Pita bread cut into cubes
  • Basic seasoning


  • Süzme yoghurt ( quantity that one prefers)
  • Pureed garlic ( one to one and a half teaspoon or more if you prefer more intensity)
  • Salt

Tomato Sauce:

  • 500 grams of ripe tomatoes
  • 2-3 Small shallots
  • 2 tablespoons of butter


  • 200-250 grams of butter
  • Dried chili flakes ( pul biber)
  • Dried mint
  • Dried oregano
  • Half a pinch of cumin

(In the doner recipe I have written meat, therefore it can be made from lamb or beef which ever meat suits ones pallet)

We will start off with the making of the doner first as it will take time to set as we will have to keep it in the fridge before we carve it out.


Take the two pieces of tenderloin season well with salt and black pepper. Take the ground meat and repeat the seasoning procedure. Next take a cling film and spread it out on a flat surface enough to cover the meat. I would recommend layering it at least twice or thrice. Once the meat is well seasoned take both the pieces of tenderloin and place them on the left and right of the sheet keeping a gap in the middle. Now take the minced meat and place it in the middle of the two pieces of tenderloin and make sure they are stuck closely together without any gaps. Next roll the meat in cling film giving it a cylindrical shape. Tie knots on both the ends and keep it in the freezer until it is hard and set. (The freezing process takes some time for the meat to set so it’s best to do it a couple of hours in advance)

While your meat is resting in the fridge we can start on with the garnishes of our Iskender kebab.

Let’s start with yogurt and go on to our tomato sauce. So for the yogurt we will put our desired quantity in a bowl and beat it until its smooth, if you think that the yogurt is too dry and not at the correct consistency you can add a few drops of milk to give it that correct consistency. Once the yogurt is smooth and silky we add the garlic and salt to it and give it a taste. If it lacks garlic or salt we can adjust the seasoning. Leave it aside while we prepare the tomato sauce.

Tomato Sauce
Tomato Sauce

For the tomato sauce, finely chop the shallots, in a pan add the butter and sweat the onions on a low flame. While the onions are sweating keep on giving it a stir while chopping the tomatoes. Add the tomatoes to the pan and cover the pan and let the tomatoes dissolve on a medium heat. It should not be too thick or to thin the best way to check the tomato sauces consistency is to stir it and see the back of your spoon run your finger through the middle of the spoon if the tomato sauce is dripping once you tilt the spoon that means you need to reduce the sauce a little more. I would recommend to season at end because if we season in the beginning it might get too salty when the water evaporates. Once the sauce is ready season with some salt, black pepper, red chili flakes (pul biber), a pinch of cumin if you want to.

Now that everything is almost complete lets prepare our butter sauce. In a pan add butter on a medium heat and let it melt. Once the butter has melted it will soon start to foam as the heat starts to increase, during this stage add half a teaspoon of each ingredients mentioned about except the cumin add half a pinch of cumin to it. When the butter is foaming it’s a very crucial state therefore be careful not to burn the butter as soon as the foam starts to disappear that means the butter is ready to be poured on top so keep it aside.

Ready Made Doner
Ready Made Doner

Now that all our ingredients are prepared all we need to do is take the meat out of the freezer and carve it with a very sharp knife in order to make this process a bit easy it’s better to take the meat out about 45 mins before you start to carve the meat. Take those carvings add them to the pan and fry them off. While the meat is frying in the pan toast the pita bread in a dry pan and add a spoon or two of the butter sauce to it (optional)

Now that we have all the condiments ready it is time to layer, plate up and enjoy our meal so start by placing the pita bread at the base of the dish, next add the tomato sauce on top of it. Add the fried meat on top with a scoop of our garlic yogurt on the side. To give it the restaurant feel you can add a grilled green chili and petal of grilled tomato on the side. Heat the butter again and pour about 2-3 tablespoons of the butter sauce on the lamb. Our dish is not ready to satisfy our hungry little stomachs. Afiyet olsun.

Photo Credits: , Iain Tait

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