There used to be a time when no one in the U.S. heard of “kabobs.” When I grew up in Houston, for example, the nearest Persian restaurant was an hour away. No bamboo skewers were to be found at the grocery store. Making kabob at home was a lot of work. Especially without skewers! But today, everyone is making kabob and making kabob their own. Stick any food on a stick, call it kabob and enjoy.
My grandmother was an amazing cook. She also made amazing kabob, the old fashion way: stooped over a small charcoal stove, fanning the flames by hand. My mother-in-law is equally talented as a cook and I have learned even more about Persian cooking from her. And since my kids love kabob so much, my husband and I team up and make it often and at home.
Although everyone loves Ground Beef Kabob (Kabob-e Koobideh), I tend to prefer Chicken Kabob, Kabob-eh Morgh, for quick everyday meals. It is easier to make, quicker to prepare and definitely lighter in calories!
Traditionally, Persian Chicken Kabob begins with marinating chicken breast in a yogurt, onion, saffron mixture. Yogurt makes a terrific marinade, as it tenderizes the meat as lemon juice or vinegar would do.
Traditionally Persian Chicken Kabob is served with grilled tomatoes, onions and any other grilled vegetables you like with a big bed of basmati rice. We always enjoy our Chicken Kabob with Shirazi Salad or Mast-o Khiar (Persian Yogurt with Cucumbers) and a plate of fresh herbs, onions and radishes. I’m getting hungry just typing about it!
A little phonetics lesson is also included in this post. It’s a minor pet peeve of mine. Kabob is pronounced: ka (like the ‘a’ in ‘at’) bob (like your pal named ‘Bob’). It’s not kay-bab or kuh-bab or whatever.
Americans might slur it together and say kuh-bob, and spell it kebab, but that’s wrong, too.
Learn it. Love it. Lesson over.