Kebab, wonderful pieces of meat that are typically grilled over a nice sizzling charcoal fire. In recent years, kebabs have become extremely popular all over the world, with many variants available. When you think kebab, you think the Middle East, but many won’t know exactly where in the Middle East it has originated from. The word kebab (کباب) has originated from Persian, meaning grilling. It is said that the dish was invented by medieval soldiers using their swords to grill meat on an open fire.
Getting the Rice Right
If you want to have an amazing kebab indulging experience, you must consider all the other elements that make it whole. White rice is typically (almost always) an important element of the whole dish, but it’s best to have it with a longer grain of rice that is not mushy. Basmati rice would probably be your best bet.
Grilled Tomatoes and Onions
Grilled tomatoes and onions are also important elements. The tomatoes and onions are cut in halves or grilled whole alongside the kebabs. The onions are served on the side as a garnish, while the tomatoes are mashed on the side or into the rice with a sprinkle of salt, pepper, and sumac.
Sumac is a seasoning made from the fruit of a sumac shrub. The red fruit is dried and ground into a powder which is used as a spice and provides a tangy flavour note. This red powder of greatness is what’s used to season rice, tomato, and kebab, but be careful, you don’t want to go overboard with this seasoning and overpower all the beautiful flavours of a kebab dish.
A very delicious companion that ties all the elements together is a nice, cold and refreshing glass of doogh. This yoghurt beverage is an acquired taste for some, but I would highly recommend to try it at least once. Just a little tip is to also have water since doogh is a salted beverage and you can be pretty thirsty by the end of your meal.
My Top 3 Persian Kebab Choices
Kebab Koobideh (کباب کوبیده)
This kebab is by far the most popular around the world, but it’s very difficult to get it right. Now I won’t get into great details of how to make the dish, everyone has their own style. What I can talk about is the basics of the dish, what you need to know before considering to try it. Kebab Koobideh is a mixture of ground beef and finely chopped onions that is grilled over a fire. The mixture should not be too moist since it will slip off the skewer, so make sure you get the consistency and application right. The dish is easy to eat and can be simply cut with just a spoon and fork.
Kebab Barg (کباب برگ)
Typically, kebab barg is a fillet of beef or lamb shank, but you can have the more uncommon version, the fillet of chicken. I must say, this kebab is definitely my favourite. The fillet is sliced into pieces and marinated in oil and seasonings, typically salt, pepper, onion, garlic, and wonderful saffron. I’m salivating as I write this blog. It’s very important, regardless of the kind of kebab, to keep rotating the skewers while grilling them, otherwise, you’ll be left with burned pieces of meat and an empty stomach.
Joojeh Kebab (جوجه کباب)
Joojeh kebab is chunks of chicken marinated in onions, lemon juice, and sometimes saffron, grilled over a charcoal fire. This particular kebab is one of the most common kebabs in Iran. In most Persian restaurants, you can find dishes on the menu consisting of 2 skewers of different kebabs if you’re really hungry. Commonly you’ll find one of the 2 skewers to be joojeh kebab, for a good reason too.
Have you tried these kebabs? If so, let me know in the comments which one is your favourite. If not, let me know which one interests you the most.