There are several spellings of this word, which has come to mean chunks of meat grilled on skewers over an open flame. The skewers are usually of metal or wood, and the meat is traditionally lamb, mutton or buffalo. The idea is believed to have originated in the Caucasus where the mountain people speared pieces of meat on the points of their swords and cooked them over open fires.

The dish spread to Turkey, other countries of the Middle East and Greece, Pakistan, India and South East Asia, where it became popular and was served under many guises. Beef kebabs, kebabs with fruit and vegetables – even chicken and fish kebabs are now prepared. But perhaps the most famous is the TCHEVIR ME KEBAB, also called the doner kebab. Long strips of lamb are coiled around a central spit so that the result resembles a giant meat cone. The spit is rotated vertically by the side of a fire, and the meat is sliced off and served as it cooks.

In the East and in Greece, kebabs are most commonly served with bread, chapattis, naan or pitha, otherwise known as Arab or Greek bread, but in the west it has become more usual to serve them with rice as this makes a more filling and satisfying meal.

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