Testi Kebab is a traditional kebab variety of the Cappadocia region of Turkey. This Kebab variety has various names in English such as “Pottery Kebab”, “Clay Kebab” and “Terracotta Kebab”.
Today, the region of Cappadocia is one of the most famous touristic destinations in Turkey. The region of Cappadocia is famous with its distinctive “fairy chimneys” (tall and cone-shaped rock formations), Göreme Open-Air Museum, Hot Air Balloon Tours, Wineries, Pottery production and of course Testi Kebab (Pottery Kebab). Previously, the region was not as famous as it is today. The social media and mouth to mouth marketing increased the Cappadocia’s popularity. Now, countless international tours are coming to see this beautiful region of Turkey.
When you see Cappadocia, you will understand that the special rock formations are the most important feature of the region. These unique rock formations emerged due to a geological process that began millions of years ago.
First, the ancient volcanic eruptions covered the region with thick ash and then this ash layer solidified into a soft rock called ‘tuff’. Once the natural forces of wind and water created erosions, only the harder elements were left behind and this special ‘fairy chimneys’ has been formed. Some of these ‘fairy chimneys’ are reaching up to 35 to 40 meters high.
How to make Testi Kebab (Pottery Kebab)?
To make Testi Kebab, you don’t need many ingredients. It is made with lamb cubes, shallot onions, tomatoes, garlic, long green pepper, black pepper, butter, tomato paste. Back then, the restaurants were cooking Testi Kebab in large clay pots and served directly on the plates. It was later observed that serving equal amounts to everyone was getting difficult. Hence, Avanos pottery producers were started to produce smaller single-serve pots. This also allowed the meat to cook much better.
For me, this is the easiest Kebab variety to make. Once the ingredients are placed into the single-serve clay pots, the head part of the pot is sealed off with a piece of aluminum foil and placed the pot vertically in the tandoor oven or charcoal smoker to cook. Some restaurants prefer to seal off the clay pot with dough. After 30 minutes of cooking, a hole emerges in the middle of aluminum foil to create a pressure-cooker atmosphere inside the pot. The high temperature and pressure inside the clay pot is the secret behind the Testi Kebab (pottery kebab) taste.
Some restaurants make ready Testi Kebab (pottery kebab) orders within 30-45 minutes; however, it needs to cook and simmer for about 90 minutes. In Cappadocia region, some busier restaurants start cooking Testi Kebabs a couple of hours before the peak hours to ensure that the customers enjoy a good-cooked traditional Turkish meal.
Where to eat?
When it comes to Testi Kebab, Dibek Restaurant comes first to our mind. Dibek restaurant is one of these restaurants that receive pre-orders to prepare this magnificent pottery kebab in advance for the customers. It is one of the famous restaurants in the region located in Göreme village. The restaurant has a unique and traditional atmosphere. Once your Testi Kebab (pottery kebab) ready, it will be brought to you in a special red clay pot with a mini hammer to crack and open your pot. By using the mini hammer, the waiter cracks and opens your pot and pour the delicious kebab onto your plate.
- 500 g boneless lamb meat cube cut
- 4 tbsp butter
- 5 tomatoes dice cut
- 8 garlic clove peeled
- 12 shallot peeled
- 10 long green pepper dice cut
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Prepare the base of the vertical charcoal smoker with plenty of charcoals and light it up. Until the smoker heat comes up to 300F, prepare the clay pots as follows.
As the Vertical Charcoal smokers are not big enough, we need to fit 4 Servings into 2 Clay Pots. So, divide all ingredients into 2 equal portions and set aside.
In a big bowl, mix all ingredients (except butter) and divide the mix into two portions. Then fill the clay pots equally.
Once all clay pots are filled, add 2 tablespoons of butter to each pot and close the top of the clay pot with aluminum foil. Make sure you cover the top of clay pots very well.
Place the clay pots to the center of Vertical Charcoal Smoker and close the smoker door and let it cook 1 hour straight. After one hour, open the smoker door and make a small hole to the aluminum foil center to create a pressure-cooker atmosphere and cook an additional 30 minutes more.
Take out the clay pots from the vertical charcoal smoker and remove the aluminum foil.