Recipe: Somer Sivrioglu's ali nazik with smoked eggplant


Chilli and Capsicum butter

75 g (22/3 oz) butter
1 red capsicum (pepper), chopped
50 g (13⁄4 oz) chilli flakes
1-piece pita bread, for holding the skewer

METHOD To make the chilli and capsicum butter, melt the butter in a frying pan over low heat. Add the capsicum and chilli flakes. Cook for 2 minutes. Set aside.

Lamb kebab with smoked eggplant 

1 red capsicum (pepper)
700 g (1 lb 9 oz) lamb (at least 25 per cent fat), coarsely minced (ground)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon chilli flakes
500 g (1 lb 2 oz/2 cups) plain yoğurt
4 large eggplants (aubergines)
Juice of 1 lemon
4 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons salt
75 g (22/3 oz) butter

METHOD Cut the capsicum in half and remove the stalk and seeds. Chop into quarters and pulse in a blender until finely minced. Transfer the capsicum to a mixing bowl and add the lamb, salt, paprika and chilli flakes. Knead the mixture for 5 minutes with wet hands to make a smooth paste. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, transfer to the fridge and leave to marinate overnight.

Place the yoğurt on a sheet of muslin (cheesecloth) and tie up the corners. Hang the muslin over a pot overnight to allow the yoğurt to thicken.

In the morning, take the meat mixture out of the fridge and divide it into four balls, each about 180 g (61⁄2 oz). Wrap the meat around four flat metal skewers (ideally 2 cm/3⁄4 in thick). Squash each ball around the skewer, pressing the mixture so it spreads 5 cm (2 in) from the top to 10 cm (4 in) from the bottom. Once all four skewers are firmly covered, put them back in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

If you’re using a charcoal grill, you should light it 1 hour before you want to cook. Burn the charcoal for at least 45 minutes and when the flames have died down, and the coals are glowing with a covering of white ash, the barbecue is ready. (If you’re using a gas barbecue, turn it onto medium heat about 5 minutes before you’re ready to cook.)

Char the eggplants on an open flame until the skin is blackened (see page 21). When they are cool, scoop out the flesh and put the pieces in a colander for 10

minutes to lose some of their water. Drizzle on the lemon juice to help them retain their colour. Roughly chop the eggplant into a chunky purée. Crush the garlic with 1 teaspoon of the salt. Mix the strained yoğurt with the crushed garlic. Set aside.

Melt the butter in a frying pan. Add the chopped eggplants and the remaining salt. Heat the mixture for 1 minute then divide onto four plates. Spread the garlic yoğurt over the eggplant.

Put the kebaps on the charcoal grill or barbecue. Cook for 2 minutes, until the meat on one side has seared, then turn over and cook the other side for 2 minutes. Turn again, and cook for 2 minutes on each side. The fat will drip on the charcoal and burn, but that smoke adds to the flavour.

Constantly check to see if the meat is at risk of falling off the skewer, and if so, turn it over.
Use the piece of pita bread as a mitten to grip the meat and pull it off the skewer. Cut the meat from each skewer into three and place the three pieces on the yoğurt. Pour the chilli and capsicum butter into a jug (pitcher) for people to help themselves and serve immediately.

 Somer Sivrioglu is the co-owner and executive chef of Sydney restaurants Efendy and Anason.