Kebab koobidehPosted: 15 October 2011
Kebab Koobideh is probably the most renowned Iranian dish and certainly one of the most popular ones both on tables and in Persian cooking sites. Like kebab barg, koobideh is a restaurant dish; however it is more commonly made at home. Why? I really don’t know because to me barg is less tricky and more difficult to spoil. Ok, let’s get started and I’ll explain what I mean:
- Ingredients: (serving 2-3): Fresh ground beef or veal, 450 grams (never use defrosted meat).
- Onion, 1 small to medium, grated.
- Salt, 1 tsp.
- Saffron and black pepper a pinch each.
- Tomatoes, 4 medium.
Method: Mix meat, grated onion, salt, pepper and saffron well. And I mean really well! You should use your fingers to knead the kebab mix for a good 5-7 minutes. Form the mix into a big meat ball and let it rest in a cool place for half an hour. Some people leave it in refrigerator overnight. Not necessary really! But do not keep the meatball outside the fridge for too long though. And remember, the texture of this mass should be airy, not too solid. It should be moist, but it should not be too soft or have too much water.
NOTE: The essential thing about kebab koobideh is to make it so that it holds while being grilled over fire. People use different techniques to make this happen, such as adding flour, eggs, even baking powder to the meat/onion mix. While employing these tricks work, the downside is that they change kebab’s texture and taste. To prepare a moist, tasty and still perfectly holding kebab without using Kotlet’s ingredients (egg or flour), all you need to do is: 1) make sure the meat mix does not have too much water (too much onion and too little salt makes it watery), 2) make sure it is skewered and grilled properly (more below)
Divide your big meatball into four small ones. Then press each patty around the middle part of a skewer and shape evenly. This is difficult in the beginning but will come with practice. If the solidness is right, it will easily hold, which means if you have great difficulty making the little meat bowl stick around the skewer, it most probably will not hold over fire! Your kebab mix should have some elasticity and it should not be sticking to your hands. Use a little water to moist your hand while squeezing the meat around the skewer. And don’t leave skewered kebabs for more than ten minutes.
When your charcoal grill is hot and ready, place the skewers over the flames and make sure they are not touching the coals. Grill one side for one minute, just enough for that side to turn whitish and hold itself a little. Then, turn and grill the other side for one minute. Once both sides are fairly stable on the skewers you could turn every 2-3 minutes, until both sides are nicely grilled and done. The important thing is that in the beginning, if you wait too long and cook one side completely before turning the skewer, the meat will fall off.
Tuck the skewers between one big piece of Iranian flat bread (or pita bread). With one hand, press gently over the skewer, and with the other hand pull the skewer out so the kebab stays in there. Do the same for all skewers. Serve hot, it smells charcoal and drives you crazy! Beautiful with plain rice, but equally delicious with bread.