The poet Celaleddin Rumi left his mark in Konya. In Turkey the people named him Mevlana – it could be translated as “our priest”. The former monastry is now a museum near a huge mosque. The whirling derwish are known all over the world.
The museum is on a little “island” surrounded by busy roads, but the noise seems to be shy to go inside and glides just along the walls and away into nowhere. Within the monastry walls you will find a beautiful rose garden and a few fountains. In the museum there are the graves of high decorated Sufis. The graves are covered with lovely ornamented fabrics.
At the entrance you read one of my favourite rhymes: Whoever you are, wherever you come from, our doors are open for you!
Within the monastry walls in small surrounded buildings you can admire pages of ancient books, musical instruments and daily tools.
Whenever I visit my family there I also visit Mevlana and afterwards we feast kebabs. The two dishes you must try in Konya are “Etli Ekmek (long thin pita bread with meat filling, a larger variation of the Turkish pizza “Lahmacun”) and Tandır/Fırın Kebab (Lamb baked in a special stone oven)”. The last ist our favourite in Konya. The best adress for this is a small restaurant in a side street near Mevlana. The restaurant is called “Kebabci Haci Sükrü” and has now a second restaurant in another destrict called Meram.
The pationate cook “Hacı Şükrü” created this kebab and opened his restaurant in 1907. The restaurant is now successfully in the hands of his grandchildren and great grandchildren who continue the old tradition. The family restaurant is very simple and cosy.
The meat melts in your mouth and is only served on thin pita. The guests decide how much meat they want on their pita; the price depends on the weight of the portions. The kebab is served with seasonal salads and pickles and raw onions of course. The last is a must with meat dishes.
We went to the restaurant last time in January and got a winter salad and pickled chilis.
Of course, I’ve been trying to learn the secrets of this dish. The manager was very friendly and sat down and explained to me how they proceed. Very important is of course the quality of the meat. They use only “Merinos sheep” from the region. Other animals are not allowed into their pots. They also use mostly only the shoulder and filet of male lambs !!! They marinate the meat simply and season with salt and pepper and cook the meat slowly in copper pans in a stone oven that is heated with oak wood. Depending on the age of the animal the meat needs about 3-3.5 hours, male sheep about 4-5 hours and female sheep about 6-7 hours until nicely cooked and tender. The meat is cooked only in its own juice and fat. The cook pours from time to time some of the roast fat over the meat and turns over the meat occasionally during the cooking process. To serve the meat the cook pulls the roast apart and places the meat on bread and lightly sprinkles with its own fat or with the gravy from the pot to prevent the meat from drying out. From 3 kg raw meat they get only 1 kg roast for serving. The chefs start preparing this dish very early in the morning, so at 11 am they can serve the first portions for lunch time.
Simplicity is the secret! Enjoy your meal! Afiyet olsun!
Address: HACI ŞÜKRÜ FIRIN KEBAP SALONU, Devricedid mahallesi Cemsultan caddesi No:327/A (Maliye Sarayı civarı, Adalhan Karşısı) Selçuklu / KONYA, Telefon: +90-332 352 76 23 oder im Stadtteil Meram: Yorgancı Mah, Dutlu Cad. 42090 Meram-Konya, Telefon +90 332 325 2829
For the recipe:
Since I do not get this particular meat here, I marinate the lamb in a spice paste and roast the lamb in a clay pot slowly in a normal oven over several hours.
Ingredients for 4–6 people
For the marinade:
2 onions, finely grated
2–3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped and pressed in a mortar to a fine paste
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoon of lemon juice
150 g plain yogurt (3,5% fat) (optional)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon paprika
For the meat:
1 leg or shoulder of a lamb with bones
2 onions, quartered
1 leek, cut into circles
2 carrots, sliced
1/4 celery root, peeled and cubed
1 small parsley root, peeled and cubed
1 bay leaf
1/2 cinnamon stick
4 sprigs of thyme
2 sprigs of rosmary
1 large clay pot
- For the marinade press the grated onions through a muslin into a bowl to get the juice of the onions. Discard the remainings of the grated onions, we don’t need them anymore. Add the other ingredients for the marinade into the bowl with the onions juice and stir well.
- In a large bowl place the lamb and cover completely with the marinade. Put the lid on and marinade the lamb in the fridge for at least 2 hours, but best to marinade over night.
- Soak the clay pot for 30 minutes in cold water.
- Take lamb out of the marinade and place into the clay pot. Discard the marinade. Place the cut vegetables around the lamb into the clay pot. Add the herbs and spices. Salt and pepper the meat.
- Cover the clay pot with a lid and place it into the cold oven on lower rack. Turn on the oven to 160°C normal heat and bake for 4-6 hours. Test and taste the meat after 3 hours if the heat is ok and the meat is cooking tenderly.
- After the cooking time, take out the lamb and keep it warm in the oven covered with tin foil.
- For the gravy sieve the roast fluid, discard the vegetables and bring the gravy to a boil. If needed reduce the gravy until creamy and season to taste.
- Serve lamb with gravy and pita, pickled vegetables and salad. You can also serve the lamb with rice, sautéed vegetables with tomatoes and salad. Enjoy it! Afiyet olsun!