Sunday, 15 February 2015

Recipe - Fakeaway - Chicken Doner Kebab... Round TWO!

Ding ding!  Round two...

One of my most popular posts of late is my Chicken Doner Kebab Fakeaway (find that post here).  I don't know if anyone is making it, but you're certainly looking at it.  It was a relative success.  I say that because it was nice... But it didn't taste quite like I wanted (needed?) it to.  So, a nice meal, a very nice meal, but not an exact copycat, like for example, the Chinese curries are.  If I want a Chinese curry, I now know that I can make it at home and be satisfied.  If I want a Chicken Doner, I know I have to buy it.

It was my curiosity about the popularity of my post that led me to this recipe retry today.  I looked on Google, to see where my post ranked; I looked on Google images.  And I found something.  Think Friends. Think Janice happening across Chandler Bing.  Think - Oh.  My.  Gawwwwwwwwd.  This is the blog post that I found, specifically scroll down to the picture of the cooked meat being sliced.  I looked at this, and - in addition to drooling - something clicked.  Of course! 

If you've never seen an uncooked Chicken Doner, then you'll be none the wiser.  If you have, you'll know that it's a humongous mound of chicken, proper skinless, boneless seasoned chicken pieces, on a huge spit.  Chicken upon chicken upon chicken, about two feet tall.  Cooked vertically, rotating, as is a Lamb Doner, then sliced.  And the sliced meat is... bitty?  Small?  But OMG tasty.  Now, I'm a breast kinda girl.  If you know me, you can laugh at the irony, but I am talking chicken here now, mmmmkay?   I'm breast for two main reasons.  I don't like skin (fat) and I don't like meat on the bone.  Can't eat it.  Chicken wings. Drumsticks. Quarters. Thighs.  No.  I like my chicken to be as clean looking and ready prepped as possible, if I have to start taking skin and bone away... This recipe uses thighs.  And I think back to every Chicken Doner I have ever had, from Platt Bridge, to Tamworth, to Llangefni and places in between.  And I realise that mistake number one has been to use chicken breast for this recipe.  It's not chicken breast - or at least, not solely chicken breast.  It's too tasty to be breast meat, it's not pure 'white' meat and it's not breast meat texture either, which has a tendency to be a bit dry.  Financially, it's not going to be breast meat alone, the dearest part of the bird?  You can pay more in some places for two chicken breasts than you would a whole chicken.  So this huge chicken kebab is going to use all the so-called 'cheaper' cuts.  And as I'm sure most people know, that doesn't necessarily mean the least tasty where chicken is concerned.  So, I reckon, this is going to be skinless and boneless legs, thighs and possibly, but not definitely, chicken breast.   This blog post, or rather the pictorial evidence of the meat being sliced was a huge lightbulb moment for me.  It probably isn't for everyone, you could be reading this thinking 'Well, duh!'.  But in my search for the Holy Grail of Chicken Doner, this is a big moment for me.  I was never, ever going to come close to replicating this recipe with chicken breast.  Yes I'm stupid.  No, I don't know how I've survived on this planet for so long either. Yes, that is four children with my thinking that I'm releasing into the next generation.  You're welcome. Humour me.  

The next issue I have is the taste.  Just what the heck is that seasoning on the chicken?  It's tasty, but not spicy.  Is it just herby?  Does the taste simply come from the way it's cooked?  Is it just that simple?  Olive oil, oregano, salt, pepper and the charring of a kebab spit?  Or is there cumin, or paprika or... WHAT? What is it?  I have searched and searched online.  I've searched recipe forums.  I've viewed blog posts.  I've searched question and answer sites, other desperate people wanting to know the same thing.  And believe me, we are desperate too.  Plenty of well meaning people post Chicken Kebab recipes, which are quite often Tandoori chicken, but they don't seem to grasp - this is not kebab shop Chicken Kebab, this is Chicken DONER kebab.  There is a huge difference.  I have even searched kebab shop suppliers in the hope that their website state the ingredients in the product.  Foiled there as well.  What do they think, that we're going to try and replicate it at home or something?  Oh... yeah, anyway.   So, this new recipe.  I think the cooking method is fab!  Basically making a miniature version of the doner, cooking it in the oven, rotating occasionally.  This, my fellow cheapskate takeaway loving fakeawayers, is how I got on.  I won't give the ingredients, blah, blah... they can be found on the original site (click here), but here is how mine ended up.  Not quite as 'foodporn' as the other one, but still...

Marinated and ready to cook


...and sliced

Admittedly, I know enough about herbs and spices to realise before I made this that it wasn't going to be 'The One'.  The inclusion of cinnamon and allspice let me to the conclusion that this would have almost a Jamaican Jerk type taste to it, and it did, however, not overpoweringly so.  Was it lovely?  Definitely.  It was bloody gorgeous!  Was it well received?  Not a scrap left over.  Would I eat this over the takeaway version?  No...  The quest goes on for the perfect Fakeaway Chicken Doner.  Although the cooking method, and using the chicken thighs has taken me a tiny step closer.  That was something that I gratefully takeaway (pardon the pun) from this little experiment.  

We ate this on naan bread, with salad and Sriracha sauce drizzled over.

M x

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