- 2 red banana chillies, halved, seeds removed, coarsely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1.1 kg lamb belly (flap), fat cap discarded
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- 1 tsp Aleppo pepper flakes (see note)
- 6 pita breads, to serve
- 75 gm butter, diced
- 1 small red banana chilli, finely chopped
- 20 gm Aleppo pepper flakes
- 500 gm natural pot-set yoghurt
- 4 large eggplant
- Juice of ½-1 lemon, to taste
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1For smoked eggplant purée, place yoghurt in a sieve lined\ with muslin, place over a bowl and refrigerate overnight to thicken.
- 2Meanwhile, process banana chillies in a blender to a purée. Place in muslin and squeeze juice into a bowl. Reserve pulp. Add garlic and ½ cup water to the juice, and set aside (this is for wetting your hands when working with the meat).
- 3Dice, then finely chop lamb belly using a large knife or cleaver.
- 4Place mince in a bowl and add chilli pulp, paprika, chilli flakes and 1 tsp salt. Knead the mixture, occasionally wetting your hands with the chilli water, until smooth and thoroughly combined. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate to marinate (4 hours).
- 5Divide meat mixture evenly into 6 balls, or 18 small balls if you're making köfte (see note).
- 6Press each ball of meat around a skewer, wetting your hands with the chilli water and leaving space at the ends where the skewers can be rested on the grill. It's important to press the meat particularly tightly at the top and bottom to create a seal to help prevent the meat from falling off while cooking. Refrigerate the skewers to rest for 1½-2 hours.
- 7Meanwhile, light a charcoal barbecue and allow charcoal to burn down to embers (about 1 hour) and make the Aleppo pepper butter. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, add chilli and Aleppo pepper and heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and chilli softens (3-4 minutes). Keep warm.
- 8For smoked eggplant purée, char eggplants directly on coals or on a grill, turning occasionally, until collapsed and blackened (20-25 minutes). Cut a slit in each eggplant and stand them upright in a colander to drain (5 minutes), then scoop out flesh, drizzle with lemon juice to coat and drain in colander again (10 minutes). Chop eggplant and add garlic and 1 tsp salt, then mix in the strained yoghurt.
- 9Grill kebaps, gently turning when the meat starts to lift from skewers, then every 2 minutes, until charred and cooked (10-12 minutes). A little flame from dripping fat is okay, adding extra smoky flavour; to reduce flame, scatter embers with salt. When the kebaps are done, use a piece of pita bread to gently grip the meat and pull kebaps from the skewers, retaining their shape, then serve with eggplant purée and Aleppo pepper butter.
Note Aleppo pepper is available from Turkish grocers and Herbie's Spices (herbies.com.au); if it's unavailable substitute another ground chilli. Large flat skewers, ideally 2cm wide, are available from Turkish grocers. If you're making köfte, roll the meatballs into small sausages in the palm of your hand and flatten slightly; grill on a rack or the flat-top of your barbecue. Small rectangular barbecues, available from Turkish and Middle Eastern grocers, are designed for holding skewers on the sides; if you have a large conventional barbecue, place bricks on the sides as rests for the skewers.