Almost Turkish Recipes

Bowl Kebap (Tas Kebabı)

Bowl kebap is one of my mom's specialties, the kind that you request every time you go back home. It is family favorite in our house as well; even the picky ones love this dish. 

Bowl kebap is a very simple recipe. Preparation time is approximately 15 minutes, but you need to cook the meat between 1-2 hours for tenderness and deliciousness. 

Some people find how this dish is cooked confusing and because of that shy away from trying it. I assure you, it is very easy. All you need to do before getting your ingredients ready is (1) to find a bowl with a flat rim that can hold ~2 lb of meat; (2) and a wide pot that the bowl can fit in when it's upside down. Voila! You're ready.

 serves 4-6 people

~2 lb stew beef or lamb
1-1 1/2 cup diced onions
1 tsp or more black ground pepper
1-1 1/2 tsp salt
2-3 tbsp tomato or red pepper paste
2 tbsp olive oil 
1 tbsp butter
2 cups of boiling water
(optional: 2-3 potatoes, peeled and diced. Traditionally bowl kebap is made simply with meat, no vegetable is used. However, sometimes I do like the addition of potatoes in this dish. Potatoes simmered in meat juice makes a wonderful baby food when mashed.) 

-For this dish find a bowl with flat, even rim that is resistant to heat and would hold all the ingredients. Next find a pot that the bowl would fit upside down, as in the picture.
-If you're using potatoes, place them at the bottom of the bowl.
-In a different bowl mix meat, onion, salt, pepper, olive oil, and tomato or red pepper paste with your hands. Get in there and make sure meat gets coated with all.
-Add this meat mix to the bowl, on top of the potatoes. If you're not using potatoes, just place the meat in the bowl. Depending on the size of the bowl, meat may or may not go all the way up, either way is fine. 
-Scatter small pieces of butter on top.
-Put the pot on top of the bowl. Securing both the pot and the bowl with your hands, turn the pot upside down so that the bowl will be sitting in it upside down as in the picture above.
-Since this is how we will be cooking the bowl kebap and we don't want the bowl to move, place a heavy container on top to seal or stabilize the bowl in the pot: a full pitcher, teapot, or a kettle filled with water like I did.
-Pour 2 cups of boiling water in the pot to fill between the bowl and the pot.
-Start cooking on high. Once you see bubbles on the sides of the bowl, turn it down to low or low medium and cook between 1 1/2 to 2 hours. With really good meat, 1 1/2 hours would suffice, however, if you're using a less expensive cut I would recommend cooking for 2 hours. Regardless, anything will come out scrumptious cooked for two hours in this method. 
-When you turn it off, you need to move the pitcher, teapot or whatever you placed on top, and slowly remove the bowl leaving the ingredients in the pot to mix with the water which has turned in to delicious juice now. If you do not remove the bowl when it's still hot, it might get sucked in and sealed to the pot. If this happens, don't panic, just reheat the bowl kebap. When it warms up, it will allow you to take the bowl back. 
-Serve bowl kebap with any kind of rice or grain, but I have to say it's best with buttery white rice and a hearty red wine. 

If you try this recipe, I guarantee it will become a favorite for you as well. 


  1. Cok leziz gorunuyor. Bu kadar detayli bir tarif bulmusken denemek lazim.

  2. This sounds delicious, but how do you remove the hot bowl without getting burnt? I am pretty clumsy, so have pictures of scalding myself whilst removing the bowl. Any suggestions or hints? I definitely would make this with lamb or mutton, as I love the flavour. Thanks for any response.

  3. Caroline, I use tongs and an oven mitt to remove the bowl form the pot. I lift the bowl with tongs and grasp it with the mitt. Hope this helps.

  4. That does sound easy, Burcu. I'd love it on top of some rice for a nourishing dinner.

  5. Green plums! Thank you for solving a minor mystery for me - I am on my way home from a trip to Turkey where I ate and enjoyed some small, somewhat unripe-tasting green fruit which I now realize must have been green plums. And while I'm posting, thanks so much for this very enjoyable and useful blog!

  6. If there is one thing I have not got used to in Turkey is these green unripe plums!!! I really cannot eat them!
    I hope that you had a nice time with your family in Turkey.

  7. Mmmm mmm mmm! I'm speechless...looks really good. Thanks for sharing. If you don't mind I'd love to direct Foodista readers to your blog. Just add your choice of widget to this post and you're all set!

  8. Wow! A trip back home will definitely do you good!

    This is a very interesting cooking method!

  9. Hey!! that bowl kebap looks scrumptious. It must the great to taste too. Yummm..I love bowl kebap. I am going to try this tonight. thank for shearing post.

  10. Tas kebabinda patates olmadigina dair esimle iddialastik, ilk defa sizin tarifinizde patatese rastladim, su anda pisiyor, bakalim esim begenecek mi istedigi gibi patatesle tas kebabini?

  11. Nuray, hic oturup dusunmemistim, yorumunu okuduktan sonra hayatim boyunca yedigim tas kebaplari gecti gozumun onunden:) ama bu isin bir standardi var mi yok mu emin olmadim. Ben patatesli de yedim, patatessiz de. Bu tarif annemin ve o hep patatesli yapar. Tek kurali biber olmamasidir. Umarim esin de sen de begenirsiniz.

  12. Your instructions were perfect! thanks for the photos too they really helped. At one stage all the water drained down (i thought there was a hole in the pot!!!) then when i pused it down all the water came back around the edges.
    1.5 hours later turned it off, when i lifted it it bubbled and hissed. few meats were burnt but omg what a delicious recipe!!! ive been in Turkey for 1 year now and this is the best site i found with proper instructions and its in english!!!!

  13. I've been making this for a year, and it has become a favorite of my family! I live in New Mexico (USA) and Green Chiles are popular here -- I put some green chiles in with the meat too, just because we are used to hot and spicy, but I leave the chiles out for my Minnesota mother. BEST RECIPE ON THE SITE!!!!!

  14. Green Chiles, mmmm yum! I love this recipe,too. I should try it with green chiles when I visit Arizona.

  15. Bahar4:46 AM

    What a great and simple recipe. I did not wanna deal with the whole process of bowls and stuff, so I used my crockpot. Do you use a crockpot for Turkish recipes too?

    Tesekkurler ve eline saglik :)


  16. Anonymous6:10 PM

    Simple and delicious, thank you!

  17. Merhaba :) I love your site! I'm an American living in Istanbul and my Turkish husband is happy that I found this! I'm just wondering: can this be cooked in an unglazed earthenware güveç pot or would the potatoes become too soft?

    Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Renee, I'm glad to hear that the site is useful. If you cook the dish in a guvec, it won't be bowl kebap. It will be just guvec. But if you're asking if the upside down bowl could be an earthenware, then yes.