Kabab Koobideh recipe | igotitfrommymaman.com
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Kabab Koobideh Recipe

Kabab Koobideh is made from ground lamb or beef or a mix of both. It simply translates to slammed kabab, because of how it was made traditionally in the past. The meat was placed on a large stone and got smashed with a wooden mallet. It is usually served with rice or bread. Both options are also served with grilled tomatoes and sumac on the table for garnishing. I personally love it with bread, fresh basil and sliced onions.

If you go to an Iranian restaurant, Kabab Koobideh is definitely one of the Kabab dishes on the menu. Being inexpensive but at the same time very juicy and tasty makes Kabab Koobideh one of the most ordered in any Persian restaurant or household.


If you’re familiar with Persian cuisine you know there are a few things that make people consider you a good chef. I can tell you, one is definitely knowing how to make a good looking and tasty Kabab Koobideh, which is perfectly cooked without falling off the skewers. This is the thing many people struggle with. I can assure you, if you follow my step-by-step recipe, you will have a positive experience making your first Koobideh and with a little practice go on to become a professional Kabab Koobideh maker, who has a place of honour at any party!

I personally am not a Koobideh expert, which means I haven’t mastered shaping the Koobideh yet. This is something that I would call a true art form. So I encourage you to be like me and give it a go anyway. Getting the hang of making beautiful Koobideh comes with practice! The most important thing is, that it doesn’t fall off the skewers, which can be prevented with a few tricks, that I share with you below.

Kabab Koobideh recipe | igotitfrommymaman.com

Equipment

BBQ

Lumbwood charcoal

10 (ideally) wide flat stainless steel skewers (If you google ‘stainless steel koobideh skewers’ you should be able to find them online)

Food brush

Ingredients for 10 skewers

1 kg / 2.2lbs ground lamb or beef (ideally lamb shoulder or 25% fat beef)

3 onions

4 tbsp butter

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp ground paprika

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground saffron

Tomatoes, basil, sliced red onions, sumac and flat bread or rice to serve with

Time

Prep: 30 min

Cool and rest: 2 h

Cook: 5 min

Total: 2 h 35 min

Method for making Kabab Koobideh

Prepare the meat

Peel and grate the onions using the corse setting. Then squeeze most of the moisture out of the grated onions. Simply take a handful of grated onions and squeeze it with both hands. I weighed the grated and squeezed onions and 3 of them resulted in 300g or 10.5oz.

Combine the ground meat with the grated onions, ground paprika, black pepper, salt and baking soda. The baking soda is an optional ingredient. It is used to make the kabab puff up a little. Knead all the ingredients together until the mixture becomes slightly sticky. You will notice the meat releasing the fat and that’s a sign that you kneaded enough.

Cover the bowl and place it in the fridge for at least 2 hours. This causes the meat to firm up at little, which makes it easier to work with later. Also, the ingredients have some time to get to know each other.

Before starting with the Koobideh in 2 hours, I recommend sorting out all the rest because when it’s time, you need to focus on the Koobideh and the Koobideh only.

Bloom the saffron

If you have saffron threads grind them, using pestle and mortar. Sprinkle the ground saffron over the ice cubes and set them aside until later.

Prep any side dishes

This means, prepare the rice. Chop onions, if you want any. Peel garlic or whatever preparations you want to make, depending on how you serve your Koobideh. Get the barbie going.

Speaking of which, definitely use lumpwood charcoal, not brickets. Lumpwood reaches a higher temperature and doesn’t last long, which is ideal for Koobideh. Brickets last longer but don’t get as hot, so they are more useful for slowly grilled or smoked dishes.

Barbecue the tomatoes beforehand, even if there’s enough space on the bbq. They take way longer than the kababs.

Prep the saffron butter

Melt the butter and combine it with the saffron water. We’ll need it in the end.

Skewer the kababs

Now it’s time to shape the meat around the skewers. Koobideh is usually barbecued on wide flat skewers (around 15mm / 0.6″) but if you only have the regular Persian kabab skewers, you can use those.

There are a few reasons the meat falls off the skewers in the bbq. Most of them are easily prevented. We’ll get to the rest later.

  1. The skewers shouldn’t be hot.
  2. The skewers shouldn’t be wet
  3. If it’s a hot day and the meat has warmed up again, place it in the fridge once more. The meat being too warm and therefore soft can cause it to fall off, even before it gets on the bbq.

Knead the meat mixture until it becomes sticky once more. This shouldn’t take longer than a minute. Divide the meat in about 130g / 4.5oz portions. Have a small bowl of water nearby to wet your hand before working the meat. By the way, I’m still talking about Koobideh.

You need the right place to put the finished skewers. Don’t just put them on a plate! Use a large baking tray for example, so that the meat doesn’t come in touch with any surface.

Take one portion of meat in one hand and a skewer in the other. For some reason holding the meat in the left is much easier for me, although I am right-handed. Try what works best for you.

Form the meat into a sausage shape, about the length of the width of your hand (if you have googooli hands like me). Then push the centre of the skewer sideways in the meat sausage. Close the meat around it and spread it across the skewer by closing and opening your hand in an upward un downward motion. X’D

Make sure the ends are neat.

We will barbecue the Koobideh over very high heat for a short amount of time, so you don’t want them too chunky, which won’t allow them to cook through. You also don’t want them too thin, so that they burn or lose their juiciness. Also, try to get them as even as possible, so one side doesn’t burn while the other stays raw.

When the meat is spread out evenly, make dents into the meat in bitesized intervals. This is the signature look of Koobideh and the part that I haven’t mastered yet. According to my Maman’s feedback I should push more to make the dents. However, not so much that the skewer shows through. If this is something that you’re good at, I’d love to give you a thumbs up! Share your Koobideh photo with me on Instagram or Facebook and tag me with @igotitfrommymaman.

Grill the Kabab Koobideh

Then the moment of truth has come. The bbq should be really hot, so before you get started make sure it’s fired up. Try to place all the skewers on the barbie at once (if they all fit on it, otherwise bbq them in two batches). Get some help from someone sober. And here is where trick number four comes in.

4. After only 10 seconds after all the skewers are on the hot bbq, turn them starting with the one you put on first. Your sober friend may give you a hand again. This prevents one side from fully cooking while the top side is raw, which can cause the cooked side to drop into the flames of hell and never return.

Continue in this rhythm, starting to turn the skewers only a few seconds after you turned the last one.

Don’t worry if flames pop up in the beginning. That’s because of the fat dripping down on the charcoal. As soon as the outer layer of both sides is sealed (which happens in a matter of seconds) there shouldn’t be any flames anymore. If there are any, lower the charcoal, if your bbq allows for that, because this can cause the kababs to burn.

The whole process only takes about 5 minutes. Take them off the bbq as soon as they are done. Kabab Koobideh should be juicy and it shouldn’t be charred like some other types of kabab.

Brush the kababs with the melted saffron butter. Serve the Kabab Koobideh with the grilled tomatoes and any other sides you enjoy!

Kabab Koobideh recipe | igotitfrommymaman.com

I hope you found this recipe helpful! If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments, I’m always happy to help. 

Like I mentioned, I’d love to see your Kabab Koobideh! Feel free to tag me with @igotitfrommymaman on Facebook or Insta so I can take a look and give you a thumbs up!

Want to save this recipe for later? You can print out the printable version above or pin it to your recipe board.

Looking for more recipes? Here are my other Persian classics!

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Thanks for stopping by!


Kabab Koobideh recipe | igotitfrommymaman.com
5 from 2 votes
Print

Kabab Koobideh

Course Main Course
Cuisine Persian
Keyword beef kabab, ground meat kabab, Kabab, Koobideh, lamb kabab
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Cooling time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 35 minutes
Servings 10 skewers

Ingredients

  • 1 kg (2.2lbs) ground lamb or beef (ideally lamb shoulder or 25% fat beef)
  • 3 onions
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground paprika
  • 1 tsp baking soda (optional)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground saffron
  • Tomatoes, basil, sliced red onions, sumac and flat bread or rice to serve with

Instructions

Prepare the meat

  1. Peel and grate the onions using the corse setting. Then squeeze most of the moisture out of the grated onions. Simply take a handful of grated onions and squeeze it with both hands. I weighed the grated and squeezed onions and 3 of them resulted in 300g or 10.5oz.

  2. Combine the ground meat with the grated onions, ground paprika, black pepper, salt and baking soda. The baking soda is an optional ingredient. It is used to make the kabab puff up a little. Knead all the ingredients together until the mixture becomes slightly sticky. You will notice the meat releasing the fat and that’s a sign that you kneaded enough.

  3. Cover the bowl and place it in the fridge for at least 2 hours. This causes the meat to firm up at little, which makes it easier to work with later. Also, the ingredients have some time to get to know each other.

  4. Before starting with the Koobideh in 2 hours, I recommend sorting out all the rest because when it’s time you need to focus on the Koobideh and the Koobideh only.

Bloom the saffron

  1. If you have saffron threads grind them, using pestle and mortar. Sprinkle the ground saffron over the ice cubes and set them aside until later.

Prep any side dishes

  1. This means, prepare the rice. Chop onions, if you want any. Peel garlic or whatever preparations you want to make, depending on how you serve your Koobideh. Get the barbie going. 

  2. Speaking of which, definitely use lumpwood charcoal, not brickets. Lumpwood reaches a higher temperature and doesn’t last long, which is ideal for Koobideh. Brickets last longer but don’t get as hot, so they are more useful for slowly grilled or smoked dishes.

  3. Barbecue the tomatoes beforehand, even if there’s enough space on the bbq. They take way longer than the kababs.

Prep the saffron butter

  1. Melt the butter and combine it with the saffron water. We’ll need it in the end.

Skewer the kababs

  1. Now it’s time to shape the meat around the skewers. Koobideh is usually barbecued on wide flat skewers (around 15mm / 0.6″) but if you only have the regular Persian kabab skewers, you can use those.

  2. There are a few reasons the meat falls off the skewers in the bbq. Most of them are easily prevented. We’ll get to the rest later.

  3. 1. The skewers shouldn’t be hot.

  4. 2. The skewers shouldn’t be wet.

  5. 3. If it’s a hot day and the meat has warmed up again, place it in the fridge once more. The meat being too warm and therefore soft can cause it to fall off, even before it gets on the bbq.

  6. Knead the meat mixture until it becomes sticky once more. This shouldn’t take longer than a minute. Divide the meat in about 130g / 4.5oz portions. Have a small bowl of water nearby to wet your hand before working the meat. By the way, I’m still talking about Koobideh.

  7. You need the right place to put the finished skewers. Don’t just put them on a plate! Use a large baking tray for example, so that the meat doesn’t come in touch with any surface. 

  8. Take one portion of meat in one hand and a skewer in the other. For some reason holding the meat in the left is much easier for me, although I am right-handed. Try what works best for you. 

  9. Form the meat into a sausage shape, about the length of the width of your hand (if you have googooli hands like me). Then push the centre of the skewer sideways in the meat sausage. Close the meat around it and spread it across the skewer by closing and opening your hand in an upward un downward motion. X’D

  10. We will barbecue the Koobideh over very high heat for a short amount of time, so you don’t want them too chunky, which won’t allow them to cook through. You also don’t want them too thin, so that they burn or lose their juiciness. Also, try to get them as even as possible, so one side doesn’t burn while the other stays raw. 

  11. When the meat is spread out evenly, make dents into the meat in bitesized intervals. This is the signature look of Koobideh and the part that I haven’t mastered yet. According to my Maman’s feedback I should push more to make the dents. However, not so much that the skewer shows through. If this is something that you’re good at, I’d love to give you a thumbs up! Share your Koobideh photo with me on Instagram or Facebook and tag me with @igotitfrommymaman.

Grill the Kabab Koobideh 

  1. Then the moment of truth has come. The bbq should be really hot, so before you get started make sure it’s fired up. Try to place all the skewers on the barbie at once (if they all fit on it, otherwise bbq them in two batches). Get some help from someone sober. And here is where trick number four comes in.

  2. 4. After only 10 seconds after all the skewers are on the hot bbq, turn them starting with the one you put on first. Your sober friend may give you a hand again. This prevents one side from fully cooking while the top side is raw, which can cause the cooked side to drop into the flames of hell and never return. 

  3. Continue in this rhythm, starting to turn the skewers only a few seconds after you turned the last one.

  4. Don’t worry if flames pop up in the beginning. That’s because of the fat dripping down on the charcoal. As soon as the outer layer of both sides is sealed (which happens in a matter of seconds) there shouldn’t be any flames anymore. If there are any, lower the charcoal, if your bbq allows for that, because this can cause the kababs to burn.

  5. The whole process only takes about 5 minutes. Take them off the bbq as soon as they are done. Kabab Koobideh should be juicy and it shouldn’t be charred like some other types of kabab.

  6. Brush the kababs with the melted saffron butter. Serve the Kabab Koobideh with the grilled tomatoes and any other sides you enjoy! 

Kabab Koobideh recipe | igotitfrommymaman.com

8 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made the Koobideh Kebab according to the recipe. Unfortunately, I did not have a sword. I did on wooden sticks. The taste turned out delicious. Thanks for the recipe.

  2. Thank you Hami for yet another delicious easy to make dish.Your recipes are very clearly explained snd I love your tip for getting the most out of saffron. I’ve just found you on Pinterest and will be making more of your easy recipes.
    Do you have a chicken recipe similar to Kabab Koobideh?

  3. My ameh has a nice trick — use the onion juice (the one you squeezed out in the beginning) and mix it with the butter and saffron. 🙂

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