Chicken Adana Recipe

I had chicken adana for the first time a few weeks ago at a Turkish restaurant and asked the waiter about the ingredients. It’s a habit and hobby of mine to start conversations with waiters especially when I’m at a foreign restaurant. I like to ask them about their country and customs. I like to find out what brought them here and if they’re planning to go back. And of course I like to ask them about the ingredients in the dish that I ate.

At home I tried to recreate chicken adana based on the waiter’s description. I remembered his mention of hand-chopped chicken, minced red bell peppers, tomato paste and Turkish spices. Not wanting to be too obtrusive I had contented myself with his vague answer about the spices. Hand-chopped chicken? I decided I could substitute ground chicken without much harm. Minced red peppers? I could make some in the blink of an eye. Tomato paste? I thought that was a major clue even though I discovered after the fact that he probably mistook Turkish red pepper paste, kirmizi biber salcazi, for tomato paste. As for the spices, I sort of had to fill in the blanks and count on my taste buds to decipher them.

Anyway, I was happy with my version of chicken adana and have no regret that I made it with tomato paste instead because it worked out beautifully and saved me the perhaps fruitless effort I would have put into finding biber.


Chicken Adana Recipe

4 servings

1/2 medium red bell pepper, seeded and stemmed
1/2 small yellow onion, peeled
2 garlic cloves, peeled
8 sprigs parsley

1 pound ground chicken
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste (I used 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano or dried mint

Mince (almost grind) the red bell pepper, onion, garlic and parsley in a food processsor. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Using your hands, mix the ingredients until well combined.

Preheat the grill OR heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Take a small handful of the chicken mixture and shape it into an 8-inch log as you’re placing it on the grill or skillet. If you form the log before placing it on the heat, it might break because the chicken mixture is very moist from the ground vegetables contained in it. Cook the chicken logs, 5 to 6 minutes per side, or until cooked and browned.


28 Responses to “Chicken Adana Recipe”

  1. 1

    Cherine — 02/19/2011 @ 1:24 pm

    This chicken looks so flavorful with all those spices!

  2. 2

    Julia — 02/19/2011 @ 1:28 pm

    This looks gorgeous Nisrine. I've never seen a chicken version before.
    Apparently, a traditional Adana or Urfa kebab is finely chopped meat rather than ground meat – and lots of chillies too. These days, in this part of Turkey, it's difficult to find Adana kebab that hasn't been through the mincer – I guess it's quicker than chopping. Someone told us it sticks on the skewer more easily if it's finely chopped meat…usually with some lamb fat to bind it. Looks as though you made the healthier version! :) I never thought to try it how you've done it. Mine always falls off the skewer so I'll try it like this next time.

  3. 3

    Table Talk — 02/19/2011 @ 1:55 pm

    Would love to serve these as little appetizer bites with some tahini sauce!

  4. 4

    Nisrine Merzouki — 02/19/2011 @ 2:11 pm

    Julia, I made them without skewers. The trick is not to shape them into logs until you're about an inch away from the grill or pan.

  5. 5

    Mich — 02/19/2011 @ 2:36 pm

    Nice! A healthy and flavorful alternative. I haven't much experience with Turkish cuisine but this would seem like a good start. Thanks for sharing. :-)

  6. 6

    Rosa's Yummy Yums — 02/19/2011 @ 3:49 pm

    That dish looks delicious! I really like that spice combo.



  7. 7

    Mary — 02/19/2011 @ 4:05 pm

    This looks wonderfully flavorful and I imagine it's perfectly delicious. It is always nice to be able to recreate a recipe from memory. You did a really nice job with this. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  8. 8

    Lentil Breakdown — 02/19/2011 @ 4:16 pm

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. Am very happy to discover you! I love Moroccan food and Morocco is on my to-go list. Lovely blog. Just put you on my RSS.

  9. 9

    elra — 02/19/2011 @ 4:40 pm

    Such a lovely adaptation Nisrini. They look delicious!

  10. 10

    Fimère — 02/19/2011 @ 6:16 pm

    une façon bien appétissante de préparer du poulet
    un pur régal
    bonne soirée

  11. 11

    Eliana — 02/19/2011 @ 7:31 pm

    Hmmm – this looks so amazingly delicious. All these different flavors make for a fabulous combination.

  12. 12

    lacaffettierarosa — 02/19/2011 @ 10:48 pm

    Chicken adana! Yay! I always have them in Turkish restaurants as well, but I never asked for the recipe – maybe because I always feel clumsy when talking in German. Thanks for this one!

  13. 13

    Velva — 02/20/2011 @ 2:01 am

    I can remember growing up and enjoying many Saturday evenings at the table of Iranian/Armenian friends. The dish chicken Adana was very similar to the ground meat kebabs, I enjoyed so often. I like the idea of using chicken.


  14. 14

    Angela — 02/20/2011 @ 4:31 am

    Looks beautiful and the spices sound wonderful.

  15. 15

    moowiesqrd — 02/20/2011 @ 6:26 am

    Love that you sleuthed the recipe and created your own version. The complex spices involved in Turkish cooking are amazing and I'm dying to visit the spice markets in Turkey someday.

  16. 16

    Barbara — 02/20/2011 @ 12:50 pm

    Fabulous job, Nisrine! And your plating and presentation match your blog background! (Bet you didn't notice that!:) )
    It's a lovely recipe and easy with no difficult-to-find ingredients. Love it!

  17. 17

    Bryan — 02/20/2011 @ 1:34 pm

    Hey it was nice to have you visit! I have been kind of out of it too for a couple of weeks. It was great to come back and see a recipe like this one it looks great!

  18. 18

    Nisrine Merzouki — 02/21/2011 @ 2:29 am

    Barbara, of course I didn't notice. You know I'm too busy cooking to notice these things :)

  19. 19

    Dana — 02/21/2011 @ 5:41 am

    Oh Nisrine! I want some of those right now!

  20. 20

    Sara{OneTribeGourmet} — 02/21/2011 @ 6:01 am

    Nisrine, these Adana Kebabs look so mouthwatering! Love your recipe and the Turkish flavors!

  21. 21

    Chocolate Freckles — 02/21/2011 @ 6:27 am

    This chicken looks pretty good!!! seems to have lots of flavour!!!

  22. 22

    Cara — 02/22/2011 @ 2:49 am

    What an interesting recipe for ground chicken, a nice alternative to burgers! (because that's pretty much all I do with ground chicken)

  23. 23

    Ilke — 02/22/2011 @ 3:03 am

    That is a nice looking adana kebab! You can find some red pepper paste online on Turkish restaurants if you dont want to go into trouble making it…That is what I usually do.
    Lovely blog you have! My first time but it looks like I will come back often :)

  24. 24

    Laura — 02/23/2011 @ 5:32 pm

    I am on a big Mediterranean kick and this looks wonderful. I think tomato paste sounds fabulous in it!

  25. 25

    Mandi — 10/22/2011 @ 6:30 pm

    I LOVE this recipe!!! I am now making it for the second time this year for my family. I form them into a log shape and place them on a cookie sheet lined with wax papaer. I then place the cookie sheet into the deep freeze and let them get firm a bit before I place them onto the grill. This way they dont break at all. :o)

  26. 26

    Nisrine — 10/22/2011 @ 6:48 pm

    Thanks, Mandi. I'm glad you liked my recipe. I love the idea of freezing them before placing them on the grill.

  27. 27

    nive — 02/26/2013 @ 12:22 pm

    going to make this tonight..don’t have red pepper paste but have red pepper…i am thinking to puree the red pepper with some sun dried tomatoes(just because i like sundried tomatoes).

  28. 28

    hina — 08/31/2013 @ 3:39 pm

    forgive me if i’m missing it in the instructions, but i don’t see what you use the butter for? i’m so excited to make these kababs!

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