Kebab is a food originally from Arab countries like Turkey or Iran and means grilled meat. What has this fast food that attracts both young and not so young?
It is said that in its origin, it was the food of the Persian kings and in ancient times it was only eaten once a year, during the celebration of Nowrūz. It is currently one of the best known fast foods in the world, being consumed daily in both the Arab and Western world.
The Kebab is made with a special bread called pita and stuffed with meat (veal, chicken or mixed) and lettuce or tomato. All of this is accompanied by sauces and cheese (optional).
The main ingredient is meat. This can be veal, chicken or lamb. The meat is skewered on a vertical support and rotates roasting homogeneously.
There are differences between chicken or veal meat for example. Chicken meat is observed whole (marinated meat) in the vertical support, that is because it is cheaper than veal meat and, in addition, this meat is dedicated only for that purpose (below picture, left).
While the more expensive veal comes from meat cuts that are not used during filleting in other factories. These pieces of meat, as they are very variable in terms of size, have to be minced and emulsified. The dough formed will later be skewered in the form of pancakes and packaged (below picture, right).
Apart from the main ingredient, which is meat, there are also other ingredients such as sauces, spices and cheeses used.
For instance, the sauces most used are: ketchup, mayonnaise and special Turkish sauce (mixture of pomegranate and blackberry sauce). The most commonly used spices are parsley, oregano, spicy (Spicy powder for sauce and kebab Baktat ) and lemon powder for salad.
What does the Kebab contribute?
Kebab is rich in carbohydrates, especially for pita bread, proteins of high biological value from meat, fiber from vegetables and minerals.
Veal kebab is not 100% beef but it carries a small percentage of turkey. The ingredients are:
Veal (80%) and turkey (5%).
Thickener (5%), Milk (3%), water (3%), Salt, Spices, E621 flavor enhancer, Acidulant (E331, E262, E334, E575), Glucose, E450 Stabilizer, E472 Emulsifier, E301 Antioxidant.
Chicken kebab is composed of 100% meat fillets although it may contain some additives. The ingredients are:
Chicken meat (94%).
Milk, Salt, Spices, E621 flavor enhancer, Acidulant (E331, E262, E334, E575), Glucose, Emulsifier E472, Antioxidant E301.
Looking at the ingredients between one and the other, it is easy to see how chicken has less additives, apart from the fact that the manufacturing process is less aggressive than that of veal.
The caloric bomb
In UK, officers from 76 councils sampled 494 kebabs to test their nutritional value, during the Local Authority Coordinators of Regulatory Services (Lacors) study.
This study concludes that kebabs outrageously exceed salt, fat and calorie levels.
It has been reported that kebabs alone exceed the recommended amount of salt for a person in one day, 150% of the amount of daily saturated fats and, only one kebab covers half of the calories that a person should take a day.
The study reveals that on average the kebab contains nothing more and nothing less than about 1000 Kcal, almost the double of a Big Mac hamburger (570 Kcal).
All these data are before adding sauces, Coca Cola's light and other yogurt desserts, so the caloric value soars much more.
Concluding, it is a fast food that, although it has more vegetables and fewer fritters among its ingredients, it is full of calories and its quality is not always what it seems, so it must be made clear that the kebab should be consumed in moderation and occasionally.