Let me start with the fact that I love Middle Eastern foods. If you’ve been a reader here for long you’ll know I love to travel and explore other cultures and food. In my Grilled Lamb and Beef Koobideh Kebabs the secret I was missing all these years was the shredded onions that are drained of excess liquid and incorporated into the meat mixture prior to grilling.
Might I say the Saffron Butter I use to baste these as they grill doesn’t hurt either. 🙂
A couple months ago I was at my local middle eastern market, the Balboa International Market here in Clairemont, a suburb in San Diego, and they were out of the Koobideh I wanted. The guy behind the counter knew me as a regular customer and said if I waited a few minutes he would make up a new batch. I decided it was as good a time as any to pick his brain on what actually what went in the mixture and he explained to me about the shredded onions and the turmeric. Two things I wasn’t adding to my Koobideh Kebabs, and I always wondered how I was off the mark. I had used onion powder, but this shredded onion part added a new layer to the taste. Brilliant idea, too.
Kubideh, koobideh or kūbide, however you choose to spell it, is a Persian meat kebab which is made from ground lamb, beef or chicken, often mixed with spices, parsley and shredded onions. I find them better made the day before, refrigerated and grilled after the meat has marinated. Let’s get cooking!
Start off my shredding the onions and place over a bowl in a sieve to drain.
I personally like the combination of beef and lamb mixed together. I add the ground meats, shredded onions, garlic, egg, bread crumbs, parsley, kosher salt, pepper, turmeric, and paprika, and mix well. Divide the meat mixture evenly into eighths and form the meat on to 8 large metal skewers, molding and flattening meat around skewer to make each kebab about 8″ long. If not using skewers, shape meat into eight 8″ hotdog/sausage shapes. Set kebabs aside.
Sometimes it is too warm the meat does not hold it’s shape. If so, refrigerate to firm up and then mold on to skewers.
Heat a small skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Remove the skillet from heat, add saffron threads, and swirl threads around pan for 30 seconds to lightly toast. In a small bowl crush the saffron and then add 1 tablespoon boiling water and stir in butter.
Brush the kebabs with saffron butter and refrigerate for a bit while the grill gets hot.
Place the skewered kebabs on the hot grill and cook until browned on each side and cooked through, 3–4 minutes per side. Brush the kebabs with remaining saffron butter and sprinkle with a little ground sumac.
When finished grilling the kebabs, remove and allow to rest for several minutes. When cool enough to handle slide kebabs off their skewers and serve with steamed rice. Basmati rice is traditional, but use whatever rice you care to use.
A nice squeeze of fresh lemon on top finishes this off and it is delicious served alongside a Shirazi Salad that is quick to put together and is healthy and refreshing.
Grilled Lamb and Beef Koobideh Kebabs
- 1 medium yellow onions peeled and grated
- 1 ⁄2 lb ground lamb
- 1 ⁄2 lb ground sirloin
- 4 cloves garlic peeled and finely chopped
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- 1 ⁄4 cup dry bread crumbs
- 2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 ⁄2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 pinch saffron threads
- 1 tbsp. butter melted
- Ground sumac optional
- 1 lemon optional
- Either use a cheese grater or food processor, but grate the onions and drain in a sieve set over a bowl for at least 2 hours. Squeeze the grated onions to release any leftover juice and place in a large bowl. Discard onion juice or save for soup or other use.
- To the bowl add the ground beef and lamb, shredded onions, garlic, egg, bread crumbs, parsley, kosher salt, pepper, turmeric, and paprika, and mix well. Divide meat mixture evenly into eighths and form the meat into 8 large flat wide metal skewers, molding and flattening meat around skewer to make each kebab about 8" long. If not using skewers, shape meat into eight 8" hotdog/sausages. Set kebabs aside. This can be grilled right away or allowed to marinate overnight.
- Heat a small skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Remove the skillet from heat, add saffron threads, and swirl threads around pan for 30 seconds to lightly toast. In a small bowl crush the saffron and then add 1 tablespoon boiling water and stir in butter.
- Brush the kebabs with saffron butter. At this point you can cover and refrigerate until ready to grill, or place the skewered kebabs on 350°F grill and cook until browned on each side and cooked through, 3–4 minutes per side. Brush the kebabs with remaining saffron butter and sprinkle with a little ground sumac.
- Slide kebabs off skewers and serve with steamed rice and a squeeze of fresh lemon.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.