Kebab Koobideh (کباب کوبیده) is made with ground lamb or beef or a combination of the two. This is one of the most popular kebabs you can find on the streets of Iran. This Kebab is usually grilled over hot coals and is served in fancy restaurants and clubs, as well as in the little shacks scattered in any given recreation park.
Traditionally Kebab Koobideh is served with hot Persian Steamed Rice tossed with cubes of butter (room temperature) and sprinkled with Sumac. The drink of choice is usually Doogh(Persian Yogurt Drink) sprinkled with dried Persian Kakooti (an herb with a taste similar to Greek oregano or thyme that grows wild in the foothills of some areas of Iran). Persians love their CheloKebab (Rice and Kebab) with slices of raw onions (red or white) and fresh herbs (Sabzi Khordan). The golden beauties on the top right corner are pieces of TahDig which is the beloved crispy Lavash bread toasted in the bottom of the pot of Persian Rice.
- 1 ½ pounds ground beef (80-85% lean)
- 1 pound ground lamb (80-85% lean)
- 1 ½ medium yellow onions, quartered
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sumac (sold at the Middle Eastern markets)
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- ¼ cup butter, melted (for brushing over the Kebabs after grilling)
- FOR THE GRILLED VEGETABLES
- 4 ripe but firm Roma tomatoes
- 1 large green bell pepper, stem removed, deseeded and quartered
- Olive oil to brush the vegetables with before grilling
Serves for 4 Persons
How to Cook :
1- You will need ten 1-inch metal skewers.
2- For best results the meat should be fresh (not previously frozen) and at room temperature.
3- Finely chop the onion pieces in a food processor until very juicy. Place a fine metal mesh over a bowl and strain the processed onion by pressing it with a spatula. Discard the juice.
4- Add the remaining onion pulp to a medium bowl.
5- Add the ground beef and lamb, minced garlic, salt, spices and egg to the bowl. Knead all of the ingredients for several minutes until the mixture is paste like and sticks together without falling apart.
6- Fill up a small bowl with tap water, this is for wetting your fingers so the meat does not stick to them when you are making the Kebabs.
7- Divide the meat into 10 equal balls.
8- Get one of the balls of meat in the palm of your hand, place the skewer on top of it and squeeze the meat around the skewer. Once you make sure that meat is not going to fall off, start squeezing it from top to bottom and cover the middle section of the skewer. Leave the top and bottom of the skewer clear. Wet your fingers with the tap water and keep squeezing and spreading the meat evenly around the skewer. The meat should be about ½ inch thick all around the skewer.
9- Set the skewer gently on a shallow baking sheet with sides, so the meat does not touch the floor of the baking sheet. Continue making the rest of the Kebabs. At this point the uncooked Kebabs can sit over the counter while you get the grill ready.
10- To Grill Kebab Koobideh: You will need two square metal pipes that you will place parallel to each other on top and bottom of the cooking grate of your grill lengthwise. The top pipe is for placing the tip of the skewers and the bottom one is for the handles. This is so the skewers are raised and the meat does not touch the hot grate, otherwise it will stick and fall right off.
11- The coals are ready when they are gray and covered with ash.
12- If you’re grilling vegetables it is always better to skewer them separate from the Kebabs. I use thinner skewers for the vegetables because if the skewers are too wide the turgid vegetables such as green peppers will tear and fall apart.
13- The vegetables take longer to grill than the meat, so if the space is limited, grill the vegetables first and keep them warm under an aluminum foil. If there is enough grilling surface start grilling the veggies first and halfway through grilling, start the Kebabs.
14- Place as many Kebab skewers as you can fit on the grill, leave some space between them. As soon as you are done arranging all the skewers, start turning the first skewer and keep turning the rest in the order that you have placed them on the grill. The reason for this quick turning is to cook both sides of the Kebabs for a short time so the meat cooks and firms up all around and does not fall off the skewer. Do not overcook the Kebabs because they are thin and tend to dry out. Turn the Kebabs again until you get the doneness you desire. The Kebabs should have a nice grilled color on the outside and no longer pink inside, but still very juicy.
15- When the Kebabs are ready, remove them from the heat and into a container lined with a large aluminum foil. Keep the Kebabs covered with the foil until ready to serve.
16- To serve, use a piece of flat bread (Sangak, soft lavash, or pita bread) larger than the palm of your hand. Start at the end with handle, grab the Kebab and slide it off the skewer onto the serving platter. This is the easiest and safest way to pull the Kebabs off the skewer. The flavorful Kebab juices make the bread so delicious that everyone will want a piece.
17- Brush melted butter over the Kebabs.
18- Enjoy Kebab Koobideh with Persian rice that has been tossed with cubed softened butter and a sprinkle of sumac. Serve it with a side of grilled vegetables, a slice of raw red or white onion and Sabzi Khordan (fresh herbs). The drink of choice is usually Doogh (Persian yogurt drink)
This Kebab is equally delicious served with grilled vegetables over Sangak or Lavash, which are both Persian flat breads.