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JOOJEH KABOB (Persian Grilled Saffron Chicken)

Sabzi 035

Joojeh (or Jujeh) Kabab is a moist, tender and delicious Persian grilled chicken dish. Saffron is in most cases the star ingredient in preparing this dish, and it adds both a depth of flavour and a lovely colour to the chicken. Jojeh kabab is normally served with saffron rice (chelo) or with naan/lavash bread.

Ingredients for Joojeh
1 kg boneless chicken breast, cut into cubes
1/2 cup yoghurt
1 medium onion
2 tbsp. oil
1/2 tsp. garlic paste
1 tsp. saffron (crushed then soaked in 2 tbsp. hot water)
1 tsp. black pepper powder
2 tsp. salt
4 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. turmeric powder
1 tsp. chilli powder (optional)

Ingredients for Basting
2 tbsp. melted butter
1 tbsp. oil
1 tsp. lemon juice
pinch of saffron, crushed and soaked in 1 tbsp. hot water

Instructions
Wash and drain the chicken cubes and set aside in a bowl.

In a blender, add all the other Joojeh ingredients. Blend to a smooth consistency. Pour this marinade over the chicken cubes and mix well. Cover and refrigerate overnight (or at least for serveral hours).

In a small bowl, put all the basting ingredients and whisk them with a fork to combine. This mixture will be used for brushing the chicken as it cooks over the hot grill.

Thread the chicken onto metal skewers and grill over a hot charcoal grill for about 8-15 minutes, turning them regularly and brushing them occasionally with the basting mixture. Do not over cook the chicken as this will toughen it. Joojeh Kabab can also be prepared in the oven. Simply pre-heat the oven grill to a high temperature, and place just under the grill, again basting occasionally and turning the skewers until cooked through.

Serve with naan or over saffron rice (chelo).

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KABOB KOOBIDEH RECIPE

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Ingredients

500gm beef mince
1 medium onion
1 small bunch coriander (leaves with stems)
2 green chillies
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. garlic paste
1 tbsp. sumac powder (optional)
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Instructions
Blend or process the onion, coriander and green chillies to form a paste (try to use little or no water for this).

Sieve and drain away any excess moisture from the paste until it is COMPLETELY dry.

Add this along with all the other ingredients into your mince and then mix well, kneading the dough for about 5 minutes to make sure it’s smooth and soft.

Cover and refrigerate the mince overnight.

When ready to use, turn on your bbq grill. Shape the koobideh on long flat metal skewers (do not grease the skewers). I made mine 12″ long. They normally shrink by a couple of inches as they cook. Got 6 super-large kababs out of the 500gm of mince.

Once all are shaped, place them on the grill and keep turning them often to make sure they do not fall. If they cook too fast on one side and the other side is still raw, they will fall into the fire, so try and keep turning them often until both sides are solid then you can continue cooking them until the kebabs are nice and brown on both sides.

Once done, remove the kebabs from the skewers (with the help of pieces of naan so you don’t burn yourself) and store between the naans to preserve the juices that will drip from.

They can be made in the oven too, just shape them smaller and grill/broil them for about 4-5 minutes per side or until done. The water that gets released when broiling/grilling in the oven can be drizzled over the rice if you are serving these with rice.

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