Persian kebab kubideh with rice (Chelow kebab)

Kebab is an absolute favourite, the most popular and delicious dish in Iran. In Iranian cuisine, there are different types of kebab with ground meat or diced meat and believe me all are super tasty and you will be over the moon when you have kebab for lunch or dinner.
Kebab is usually grilled over hot coals or in the oven if you have no barbecue.
Chelow kebab means a dish with rice and kebab. Kebabs are various cooked meat dishes.


In this recipe I am going to present ‘ kebab kubidhe ‘ or minced kebab which is made with ground beef/lamb. Other kind of kebab is ‘kebab barg’ with diced beef, lamb or chicken. Still, there is more different types of kebabs.
Chelow or pilaf (pilau) is  a kind of plain steamed rice topped with butter, saffron and kebab.
Making a good kebab firstly requires quality fresh meat. sometimes it is combination of lamb with beef ( mixed minced). The meat should be around 20% fat which will keep the kebab juicy and moist. If use ground mutton only, the meat should be 30
% fat.
Secondly, when you buy minced meat, you should ask your butcher to grind the meat 2-3 times or do it at home by using your food processor.
Thirdly, you need to marinate the kebab meat earlier and leave the meat to rest in the fridge overnight.

Once kebab is ready serve it with pilaf/polow, fresh herbs, sumac powder  and doogh ( that is an Iranian yogurt based drink).

Ingredients for kebab

  • 600 g ground lamb
  • 400 g beef
  • 3 medium onions, grated and remove excess juice
  • 1/2 lime/lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

Ingredients for accompaniment

  • A bunch of cherry tomatoes
  • 4-5 potatoes
  • 3-4 red-yellow bell peppers

Ingredients for mint sauce ( optional)

  • Handful fresh leaves of mint and coriander
  • 3 tbsp Greek yogurt
  • 1 small bell pepper
  • Salt to taste

Grind finely the meat 2-3 times or ask butcher do it for you. Grate the onion and remove the juice. In a big bowl, add grated onion, salt, pepper, baking soda, lime juice and meat. Mix well and knead the meat mixture for 5-6 minutes and  until  well combined… Kneading the meat mixture for few minutes will make the meat like a paste that will stick together and not fall apart when you thread it on skewers. Then refrigerate the meat for 3-4 hours or overnight.

For threading the kebab you can use either  metal skewers or wooden ones. If you are using wooden skewers, you need to soak them in water overnight as well to prevent of burning in the oven.
Next day, divide the  meat into seven or eight pieces and thread on the wooden skewers by pressing the meat and shaping it evenly. Preheat the oven to 180C for grilling the kebabs.

 Place a flat bread or  (tortilla bread) on the baking  tray and place the kebabs skewers on it. Grill the kebab for 20-25   minutes.The juice from the kebab will soak into the flat bread as the kebab cooks.

Thread the potatoes and peppers on the skewers as well. Grill them in oven 200C for 20-30 minutes. You can do grill  the tomatoes too  but I just fried them in a pan

For refreshing mint sauce you need to blend all ingredients in a blender and make a puree.
Once kebab and accompaniments are grilled, remove from the oven. Traditionally kebab kubideh is served  with steamed saffron rice ( chelow/polow), cubes of butter on top of the rice, fresh herbs such as basil, chives, mint, onions.

Sprinkle sumac powder on kebab. If you serve the kebab with rice, you can sprinkle sumac powder on the rice as well.


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