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Kabab Tabei (Pan-Cooked Kofte Kebabs with Roasted Tomatoes)

These Persian kofte kebabs can be cooked anytime of the year with no need for a BBQ or skewers. They are easy to make and retain all the juiciness you expect from a kebab.

What is Kabab Tabei?

If you have eaten at a Persian restaurant, then you will be familiar with Kabab Koobideh. The long metal skewers of minced lamb cooked to juicy perfection over a charcoal flame. Kabab Tabei is the easy version, cooked in a pan with no skewers required, and accompanied with a side of roasted tomatoes.

Ingredients in Kabab Tabei

With the exception of saffron, the ingredients should be easy to source from your local supermarket. 

  • Minced Lamb or Beef – use mince with a 20% fat content to make the kebabs. This will ensure they are juicy.
  • Onion and Garlic – fresh aromatics for the dish adding to the flavour of the kebabs.
  • Turmeric and Saffron – spices used to flavour the kebabs.
  • Tomato Purée  – my secret ingredient which creates a juicy kebab.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil – used to cook the kebabs and to drizzle over the tomatoes before roasting.
  • Tomatoes – for the accompanying roasted tomatoes. Use small tomatoes on the vine like these.
  • Sumac, Salt and Pepper – used to season the kebabs.

Saffron can be found in most supermarkets nowadays. Remember to always grind the saffron strands to a fine powder after purchase because it makes the saffron go further. Bloom the amount of ground saffron directed in this recipe in water before adding to the Kabab Tabei mixture.

What to Serve with Kabab Tabei

Serve with Kateh or Chelo (Persian rice) and Salad Shirazi as pictured. They can also be eaten with flatbreads, salad, chilli and garlic sauce with a side of chips as part of a fake-away style meal!

Kabab Tabei Instagram Reel

Kabab Tabei

Pan-cooked kofte kebabs with roasted tomatoes
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Persian, Iranian
Keyword: lamb, kebabs, easy recipe
Servings: 4
Author: Mersedeh Prewer


  • 500 g lamb or beef mince (approx. 20% fat)
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp ground saffron (bloomed in 2 tbsp of water)
  • 1 tsp tomato purée
  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • 2 tsp sumac
  • 500 g small or cherry tomatoes (on the vine)
  • Drizzle of olive oil (for the cherry tomatoes)
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)


  • Place mince in a mixing bowl. Grate onion and squeeze most of the juice out. This will ensure the kebab does not fall apart when cooking but will tenderise the meat and be juicy once cooked.
  • Add grated onion, garlic, turmeric, saffron water, tomato purée, salt and pepper to the bowl with mince. Knead mixture well for a few minutes. Cover bowl and leave in fridge for no less than 4 hrs but preferably overnight. Take meat mixture out of fridge about 30 minutes before you want to cook it.
  • Heat oven to 180°C (fan oven). Place tomatoes on a baking dish and drizzle olive oil over them. Season with salt and pepper. Place in oven and roast for 20 minutes.
  • Shape meat mixture into patties of your choice. I shape them into an oval shape about the length and width of my hand (they will shrink a little while cooking).
  • Coat frying pan with oil and place over medium-high heat. After 2 minutes, place kebabs in pan. Sprinkle some sumac on the uncooked side and wait until the meat releases water and the water dries out in the pan before flipping. Sprinkle sumac on the cooked side. Wait until kebabs release further water and it is cooked off. Turn off heat.
  • Serve kebabs with the roasted tomatoes and rice or bread.


If you like your kababs spicy then try my Kabab Tabei-Tond (‘Tond’ means spicy in Farsi). Follow the recipe and method as set out above but at step 3 replace the tomato purée with 1 tsp of Harissa paste or 1 tsp of biber salcasi (Turkish spicy tomato paste), which you can buy from any local supermarket, and 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh coriander.