In theory, a shish kebab in itself is a plain dish, and if sometime long ago homo was actually sapiens, then regardless of its geographical location, he could guess to string meat on a stick and fry over the fire. On the historical homeland of shish kebab there are endless disputes. The disputants converge in one thing – this is clearly the East, but more precise data are not known.
There is one more indisputable fact – a shish kebab must be prepared by a man. There is nothing surprising. The famous French structuralist anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss contrasts the ideology of roast and boiled. Fried meat, he says, “it’s more wild, natural, hunting, man’s food.” Cooked meat is associated with a woman, a house and a sedentary life.
Crimea and the Caucasus
Despite the persistent association of shish kebab with black-eyed Caucasians, this meat dish has only an indirect relation to them. The famous culinary expert William Pohlebkin claims that the word “shashlik” was invented by the Zaporozhye Ukrainians, and that this is just a distorted Crimean-Tatar “shish kebab”, which meant “something on a spit”.
Until the XVII century in Russia, too, “rotated” meat. It was called – verified: in the course was not only game, but also domestic ducks and chickens. And in the XVII century, Russian soldiers brought shish kebab from the Crimean campaigns.
Then he was also a “shish-khik”, but already in Pushkin’s “Journey to Arzrum” writing became customary: “We drank Asian shish kebab with English beer”. Alexander Dumas, famous not only for his novels, but also for gourmets, was so imbued with love for shish kebab that he brought his recipe to France and opened the first shish kebab. They say his experiments went so far that he made barbecue even from crows.
The shish kebabs, which we call Georgian, Armenian and Azerbaijani, the Caucasians themselves call it differently. Georgian shish kebab – mtsvadi – is traditionally made from beef, and not from pieces, but from a single piece of beef tenderloin, strung on a skewer. Armenian chorovats are made from lamb, marinated in cognac (Armenian, of course), and a lot of greenery. For the Azerbaijani shish-kebab, pieces of lamb with ribs will fit, most importantly – do not spare spices and greens. Crimean shish kebab is pre-marinated in sour milk, and Turkish – in yoghurt. The opposite of it is Japanese yakitori. Japanese minimalism manifests itself in food – shish kebabs of Lenten (from vegetables and poultry) and miniature (small pieces are strung on bamboo skewers).
Shashlik-fans can finally quarrel, figuring out what meat is better for shish kebab. There is no consensus on this, as you know. I still venture to say: for its shepherd nature, the shish kebab is quite organic from lamb, which most recently peacefully pinched the grass nearby in the mountains.
Mutton is poorly combined with Slavic traditions, that is, with pickled cucumbers, sauerkraut and vodka.
She gets cold in our unkempt throats and lays in her stomach until her next lunch. And all because we do not drink it with hot green tea or cold red wine. “
“The cow – for milk, lamb – for a shish kebab,” says Alexander Genis, who is also a journalist and also a writer, rhymed. “Living in America, a worshiper of neutral beef, I do not cease to be puzzled. If you already have meat, then first of all mutton. It has its own smell, distinct taste and independent character. It can not be confused with anything, and it is not necessary. However, lamb is not jealous: knowing the strength of its spirit, it tolerates any neighborhood. ”
The Case of Technology
If the sheep’s own smell does not delight you, but frightens off, you can, if not eliminate it, then obviously weaken it. To do this, it is necessary to cut the leg of the sheep into cubes so as to cut off all unnecessary ones. “About the same way did Michelangelo with a marble block,” observes Peter Weill. “And the result is immortality.” If there are no films left on the meat, no excess fat, no veins, then there will not be a specific mutton taste that spoils the memory of the feast. The taste will remain, but the aftertaste will not. “
Whichever meat you choose, in Pokhlebkin’s opinion, the main thing is that it should be young. In this case, pieces of meat should be accompanied by adhering to them fat. But since such ideal pieces are difficult to find, fat, taken from another part, is sometimes added to skimmed meat pieces. “Many people think that this is necessary for beauty,” complains the culinary classic, “and therefore they have pieces of meat and fat one by one on the spit or skewer, sometimes at some distance. Salo, fat should be placed only OVER baked meat, so that fat, melting, soaked it. Only then does such an artificial connection make sense. ” For extra juiciness, Pokhlebkin recommends before dipping dipping meat in vegetable oil, and fatty pieces – in cold water. With the same purpose, the meat is sprinkled with water during cooking.
As a marinade you can use many products, but beware of vinegar – it kills the natural smell and taste of meat. As for mayonnaise, wine and other yoghurts, this is a matter of personal preference.
If the meat is young and good, experienced shashlykodels do without marinade at all: “When I start a shish kebab, I, incidentally, confine myself to a bow and car,” writes Alexander Genis. “The longer the meat shakes in the trunk, the more delicious it is.”
William Pokhlebkin did not see the need not only in marinating meat, but also in pre-salting it: “Meat intended for shish kebab is not salted either before or in the process, as this increases the flow of juice and makes the shish kebab stiff and tasteless.” You can believe the classics and be content with sauces vprikusku, and you can salt the meat before stringing on the skewers – just before the frying. By the way, about the frying. Pohlebkin was attentive not only to cooking, but also to culinary terms: “We often say that” shish kebab is fried, “he writes. – This is not true.
The shish kebab is baked or, more precisely, baked (hence the French culinary term “grilling” – “burn”). So burn to the fullest.
And yet about marinades. The meat needs to be marinated for 6-8 hours, you can leave it for the night. From the spices are suitable bay leaf, coriander, zira, black and red pepper, garlic and onions. Fill all this fragrant rioting with white or red wine, lemon juice with pepper. Carbonated water is able to soften harsh meat for a short time. Pomegranate juice and beer will give the meat a special taste. For dry meat (beef, chicken breast), marinade from butter and dry herbs is suitable.
If the fear of bad weather and awakened insects prevents you from getting to the bosom of nature, then go to a restaurant. Let it not be a real “flight from culture to nature”, but you will eat a shish kebab. In the restaurant “White Sun” for 200 grams of lamb shish kebab, please lay out 299 rubles. For 340 grams of pork – 319 rubles., 800-gram assortment of several types of meat will cost 895 rubles. In the Beerman restaurant, portions are the same – 200 g of meat, to which garnish and sauce relies. Shashlik from lamb costs 265 rubles there, 245 from the pig’s neck, and 225 from the chicken.
According to the author, except for tiny islands of the Caucasian civilization (as, for example, in the Planova), Beerman’e is “burned” the most delicious shish kebab. Bon Appetit!