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Persian Chicken Koobideh Kebab

Printed From: Foods of the World Forum
Category: Asia
Forum Name: The Middle East
Forum Discription: From Turkey and the Arabic Peninsula to Pakistan and the far corners of Alexander's Empire.
Printed Date: 27 May 2020 at 07:13

Topic: Persian Chicken Koobideh Kebab
Posted By: gracoman
Subject: Persian Chicken Koobideh Kebab
Date Posted: 03 March 2018 at 10:32
This dish took me down a road I'm glad I followed.  I changed it up a bit to suit my tastes but not by much.  The kebabs are only a part of this Middle Eastern feast and each element deserves a thread of its own.  These elements being the Middle Eastern flat bread, the kebab, the Mast-o-Khiar, and the Persian Rice or Chelo with TahDig.  TahDig also deserves its own thread.  It can be made from several different ingredients.  Or can be left out altogether.  I used thinly sliced russet potato.

One of the reasons I don't post here more often is the effort it takes to properly present all of the information I find when researching dishes from around the world.  I fully appreciate and understand why folks here do that but I just don't have the time.  It's easier to post links to sites that I have found with techniques and recipes that I usually combine into what I think will work best. The other reason is the number of times I have written up a post only to see it disappear when I hit the Post New Topic button.  I always forget to save my thread before posting it.  When it disappears I'm done and move on. If this thread posts you'll know I remembered to save it before hitting the "post" button. Please bear with me on this.

I began by looking for a Syrian or Pita bread recipe.  But I came upon an interesting recipe for something called - Lebanese Mountain Bread which looked and sounded more like something I would want to make.

It begins with a simple yeasted dough that completes a rise and is then refrigerated overnight to develop better flavor and texture.  It is much like a good pizza dough in this respect except pizza dough hangs longer in the fridge.

Stretch the dough over an inverted mixing bown as thin as possible without tearing">

The method calls for cooking this flat bread on a very hot cast iron skillet but I own a Lefse baker which is also capable of high temps so I used that.">

Some good sized bubbles should appear">

Flip and stack on a dinner plate">">

Cover the plate with an inverted plate so the residual heat from the finished flat breads will gently steam adding moisture and keep them stretchy and pliable.">

Next I made the ubiquitous Persian yogurt cucumber dip - Mast-o-Khiar . Similar to tzatziki but not as involved.  It is the prettiest condiment I have ever seen. Plain Greek yogurt, finely chopped cucumber, fresh mint, dried rose petals, salt and pepper.">

Next up, Persian Rice with potato TahDig.  I didn't take any photos of this while I was making it because I was thinking why bother.  Rice is rice right?  Oh boy oh boy how wrong could I be.  If you do a search for Persian rice you will fine accolade after accolade on the method and finished rice.  The method quick soaking in salted water, of boiling, draining, and then steaming long grain rice (I used Basmati) makes for the lightest, fluffiest, most perfectly seasoned rice I have ever had the pleasure to sit down to. Each grain is separate from the rest.  It is remarkable.  The addition of a small portion of the finished rice colored a beautiful yellow with a small amount of saffron water poured over the top makes this just outstanding.  There are pics of the finished rice below.  I combined a few methods I found during my search.  I did a half hour soak in salted water and added oil to the boil water.  The easiest one can be viewed - here.

Time to skewer and grill the kebabs.  These can be made from lamb, beef or a combination of the two but I went with chicken.  All Persian chicken kebabs call for thigh or leg meat.  I ground a little bit more than 4 pounds of boneless, skinless thigh meat trimmed of any excess fat or garbage parts and thoroughly mixed it with chopped onion and spices.  I was familiar with all of the spices called for with the exception of red sumac.  This has an interesting lite lemony flavor.  The addition of saffron water to the chicken mixture elevates this dish.  The recipe and skewering method I used can be found - here.

A note on skewers.  Thin American style skewers are useless junk.  I've tried them all.  Fire wire included.  They do not help turning anything but are great at spinning around by themselves while whatever foods they are supposed to be holding together fall off.  I've been using wide skewers for years now but not as wide as these.  I've been eyeballing these 27" long x 1" wide stainless steel skewers, seen below, for a very long time.  When I decided to make these kebabs I pulled the trigger.  Shipping is almost as expensive as the products themselves. I paid something like $30.00 for eight of these.  If there is a Persian mkt in your neighborhood they will run about half that.  The closest Persian Market to me was not worth the drive so I went with the skewers I found online.  These skewers are well worth the money if you cook with skewers like I do.  They are heavy duty and will not bend easily.

Place the kebebs over a hot fire, flipping every 30 seconds or so, until they are cooked through.  This doesn't take long.  Just a few minutes. Move the finished kebabs to the cool side to rest.">">

Blackened tomatoes and grilled onions are standard fare with cook like these.  Whole Roma tomatoes on one skewer.">">

The cover can be lowered on these flat skewers to prevent flair ups with other types of fatty meats">

Persian Chicken Koobideh Kebabs with Persian Rice, Mast-o-Khiar, Blackened Tomatoes, Raw Onion, and Lebanese Mountain Bread">">

We chose to make gyro-like sandwiches out of what we had here and they were absolutely delicious.  I wish I had taken a photo or two of them.  Ahhhhh phooey! 

Posted By: Melissa Mead
Date Posted: 03 March 2018 at 10:52
That looks so good!

Melissa -

Posted By: gracoman
Date Posted: 03 March 2018 at 22:18
Originally posted by Melissa Mead Melissa Mead wrote:

That looks so good!
Thanks Melissa.  It was very good.  This was a happy find on my part.  Especially the rice.  While I really enjoyed the entire cook, the rice and flat bread will be made again, and again.  Did I mention how much I like this rice Smile

Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 05 March 2018 at 10:18
gMan - you keep setting the bar beautifully high! Great job on everything.

The Maast-o-Khiar is indeed beautiful; I remember seeing it before and wanting to try it - hopefully this summer.

Everything else simply looks wonderful...a perfect Persian feast!

If you are a visitor and like what you see, please" rel="nofollow - click here and join the discussions in our community!

Posted By: Hoser
Date Posted: 06 March 2018 at 02:54
Reminiscent of the Greek of my all time favorites. 

Well done G-man....well done!ClapClapClapClapClapClap

Go with your food!

Posted By: gracoman
Date Posted: 06 March 2018 at 09:50
You're reading my mind.

The meat spices are different and there is no slow vertical rotisserie spit slow roasting involved here but the texture is pretty darned close although not as dense on account of, you know, chicken. But it's close enough so I'm thinking these wide skewers will work well for the gyro starved home cook.  And the pliable flatbread is some of the best I've tasted.

By George, I believe we've got it Smile

Posted By: Margi Cintrano
Date Posted: 20 May 2019 at 15:17

Absolutely extraordinary !  

Truly amazing labors.   

Volamos a Mediterraneo, un paraiso que conquista su gente u su cocina.

Posted By: Margi Cintrano
Date Posted: 30 June 2019 at 13:48

Thank you for the link to your flat bread. 

When I return from my professional trips, I shall definitely embark on it ..

Have a fabulous summer.

Volamos a Mediterraneo, un paraiso que conquista su gente u su cocina.

Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 02 July 2019 at 01:36
The Persian bread Taftoon is very similar, except it incorporates whole wheat flour. But the procedure (even to the pillow) is the same.

I imagine many regional flatbreads use the same, or a similar, method. 

I do have a problem with Chef John implying that overnight in the fridge is unique to this bread.  All bread doughs benefit from such retarded fermentation.

All that aside, a great job, G-man. Ground meat kababs ain't quite as simple as some food-travel sites would have us believe. But it looks like you nailed it.

Those wide skewers sure enough help, don't they!

But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket

Posted By: gracoman
Date Posted: 02 July 2019 at 08:04
Originally posted by HistoricFoodie HistoricFoodie wrote:

I do have a problem with Chef John implying that overnight in the fridge is unique to this bread.  All bread doughs benefit from such retarded fermentation......

....Those wide skewers sure enough help, don't they!
Pizza dough included.  And, yes, wide skewers are awesome.  I have no idea why Americans use those pitiful, needle-like, poor excuses for skewers.  Or even that awful Fire Wire thing that was all the rage a few years ago.  

Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 02 July 2019 at 21:50
Or even worse, those silly round skewers.  Thin, subtle wire, bad is good. Wink

My widest skewers are only 1/2 inch. I'd gotten them years ago at a Mid-Eastern market.  I had toyed with ordering the 1-inch size, but erroneously thought they"d only be good for chopped meat kababs. What I overlooked is the fact that the wide mass helps cook the meat from the inside.  So stuff is over the coals for relatively short periods.  I might still order a set when the budget allows. 

What truly amuses me is the idea that kababs originated by people skewering meat on a sword. Yeah, right! Let's take an expensive, precision tool and ruin the temper by holding it in a fire!  Second biggest laugh: the idea that soaking bamboo and wood skewers in water prevents the exposed ends from charring and burning.  Sure it does---if you don'e put them over a fire!

How do these things get started? And hang on, despite all the observable evidence to the contrary. 

But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket

Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 17 September 2019 at 21:53
Finally got around to making this bread.  Well, sort of.  I used the recipe, and retarded fermentation. But didn't go through the inverted bowl etc. process.  Instead, I rolled out balls of the dough into disks about 5 or six inches wide, and "baked" them on a hot cast iron griddle.

Took two tries. The first time I didn't roll the dough thin enough. Which means it had to sit on the griddle longer. That, combined with the high heat, caused burned patches, particularly on the flip side, where the blisters had formed.

Second time I corrected those errors. I rolled the dough to half the thickness of the first batch, and cooked in on medium heat.  They came out perfectly.

Thanks, G-man, for linking to this bread.

I also bit the bullet and bought a set of 1-inch skewers.  There's a definite learning curve involved, particularly when using ground meat.  But I can fully understand why they're so popular in the Mid-East.

Only down side is cost.  Good ones are expensive.  And cheap ones aren't worth having.  

But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket

Posted By: gracoman
Date Posted: 18 September 2019 at 09:30 - I have the Alpine Cuisine set of 1" flat skewers - Wood handle option

Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 23 September 2019 at 21:39
I had ordered the GoutiMe ones, primarily because I prefer them with wood handles.  While I was at it, I also ordered a set of 5/8-inch skewers, in the same design, cuz I only had four of the half-inch that's I gotten years ago at a local Mid-Eastern store.

So far, my only criticism about the 1-inch version is that I don't understand the marketing concept of only including 7 in the set. 

Quality is top-notch. These are stainless blades, rivited to hardwood handles.  They do the job nicely, and clean up easily.  

In the description, I was unimpressed with the stress put on the cloth storage bag.  But, once I had the two sets I really appreciated the convenience.  Perhaps my original thought was colored by the reviews of the Chichic set, which didn't have one.  I was surprised at the number of reviewers who saw this as a negative, particularly as the Chicchic skewers have sharpened points, likely to punch through fabric.  Me, I just store them in their original box.

The GoutiMe bags are heavy duty. There's no data on the material, but it looks like ballistic cloth, or heavy-duty canvas. Either was, they're perfect for the job. 

There's a definite learning curve involved with the 1-inch skewers. But, once you get the hang of it, Bob's yer uncle. I've made several batches of ground-meat kababs with them, including beef, lamb, and a combination of the two, with great success (although the first batch were less successful than the last---that learning curve thing.") Next up will be chicken, which doesn't set up as tightly as red meat, so is the ultimate test when it comes to sticking to the skewer.  We'll see.

I reckon I'm done, now, acquiring any more skewers. There's no question that flat metal makes much more sense that the pointy-wire things so common.  Food doesn't twist and turn on them, there is enough metal mass so the skewers actually contribute to the cooking process, and, with the wooden handles, you're fingers are protected.

My "collection" now includes the 4 original 1/2-inchers, the 6 new 5/8-inchers, and the 7 1-inch version.  Frankly, I would prefer a dozen of the 1-inch, but sufficient unto the day the skewers thereof. Or something like that. 

But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket

Posted By: Margi Cintrano
Date Posted: 24 September 2019 at 04:25

Historic Foodie,

Seven 1"  skewers is a weird marketing strategy for sure.

Cannot quite understand why the number seven and not  6 or 8 or even 1 dozen !

If we think about it, most upper middle class  families have 2 kids today.  
So, seven is odd !!!! That would be 5 kids and 2 adults !  Not too common on my side of the Blue Pond.  
Spain and Italy have very very low child birth rates.   

Found the post quite humorous.  

Volamos a Mediterraneo, un paraiso que conquista su gente u su cocina.

Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 24 September 2019 at 22:17
I can understand not having 12 in the set, Margi.  The bulk and weight would be excessive.  But 6 or 8 in a set seems more logical.  

I don't think it's so much how many you're feeding, but how much meat you have to cook at one time.  Most ground-meat kabab recipes call for 2 pounds of meat.  Which, at a minimum, makes 8 good sized kababs.  

My last batch I used 3 oz of meat per kabab.  So quickly used up the 7 1-inch skewers, and had to use some of the 5/8th as well.  It worked out OK, but I would have preferred the consistency of the same-sized skewers. 

But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket

Posted By: Margi Cintrano
Date Posted: 25 September 2019 at 02:30

Historic Foodie,  Good morning Brook,

Surely. You know alot more about this than I do.

I have never made kebabs of this type. I have done chicken and fish kebabs in oven.  

Exceptionally extraordinary  !!!

Have a lovely day.

Volamos a Mediterraneo, un paraiso que conquista su gente u su cocina.

Posted By: HistoricFoodie
Date Posted: 25 September 2019 at 21:12
"Kabab" can be a misleading label, Margi, because the American introduction to them was Shish Kabab, which is always done a skewer.  Because of that, we tend to think of kababs as meat on a stick.

Fact is, although skewered versions are probably the more common in the MidEast, particularly among street vendors, "kabab" actually means to cook without adding additional liquid. Thus, in addition to skewers over a live fire, they can be made in the oven, or even on the range top.  

What fish did you use for yours?  I've done several varieties of swordfish kababs, but haven't gone past that. 

But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket

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