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Advieh Kabab

Grilled Beef Kebabs with Persian Spices

This is a recipe inspired by Persian flavours and one I developed by throwing various things together as a marinade for some cubed rump steak. With echoes of the Levantine shawarma, by using the Persian mixed spice advieh (a mix of nutmeg, rose petals, cardamom, cumin, black pepper, coriander, cinnamon), this kabab will not disappoint. You can use lamb or chicken as an alternative and you can cook it under your grill as opposed to on a BBQ.

The marinade combines yoghurt, garlic, olive oil, onion, lime juice, advieh, saffron, turmeric, sumac and chilli sauce. The meat is marinated for a minimum of 12 hrs to let the flavours fully intensify and be absorbed into the meat. You can get your hands on saffron from most supermarkets and advieh can be bought from most Middle-Eastern food shops – I buy mine online from Freshly Spiced on  Etsy.

I serve this kabab as pictured with flatbreads filled with the meat; lettuce; chopped tomatoes with Thai basil; chopped onion and parsley; pickled chillies; bbq/grilled peppers; and a dollop of Greek yoghurt mixed with dried mint, Aleppo pepper, garlic, a squeeze of lime and a little sea salt. On the side we have home-made fried chips and bbq corn-on-the-cob with a butter, chilli and chive drizzle.


Advieh Kabab

Grilled Beef Kebabs with Persian Spices
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
(Marinating Time)12 hrs
Total Time12 hrs 35 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Persian, Iranian, Middle-Eastern
Keyword: kebabs, advieh, bbq
Servings: 4
Author: Mersedeh Prewer

Ingredients

  • 1 - 1.2 kg cubed lamb or beef (I've used beef rump steak)

Marinade

  • 1 large brown onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp Greek yoghurt
  • 1/8 tsp ground saffron (bloomed in 50 ml of water)
  • 2 tbsp advieh
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp chilli sauce ( I use habanero)
  • Salt and Pepper (to taste)

To baste while cooking

  • 2 tbsp butter (melted)

Instructions

  • Place the beef (or any other cubed meat you fancy) into a large bowl or tupperware box.
  • Place all the ingredients for the marinade in a blender and blitz until all the onion and garlic is blended. Pour over the meat and rub in until evenly coated. Cover and place in the fridge to marinate for a minimum of 12 hrs.
  • Remove the meat from the fridge about 30 mins before cooking to bring to room temperature.
  • Divide the meat on to about 4 skewers and cook on your BBQ or under your grill (on the highest setting). Baste with the melted butter, turning the skewers until the meat is a little charred. It takes roughly 15 to 25 minutes on a bbq (depending on how hot your bbq is).
  • For serving inspiration either serve alongside rice and grilled tomatoes or with flatbreads; lettuce; chopped tomatoes with Thai basil; chopped onion and parsley; pickled chillies; bbq/grilled peppers; Greek yoghurt mixed with dried mint, Aleppo pepper, garlic and a little sea salt; chips; and bbq corn with a butter, chilli and chive drizzle.

Khoresh Karafs – sabz (Lamb, Herby and Celery Stew)

This traditional Persian stew is made with lamb, slow-cooked with celery, mint and parsley resulting in a deliciously light yet comforting stew. 

Winter is the season of stews and Khoresh Karafs is a lovely introduction if you are new to Persian cuisine. Persian stews are relatively low maintenance to cook. They just need time to cook and for the flavours to fall into place.

What is Khoresh Karafs?

Khoresh Karafs is a Persian stew made with lamb, celery and fresh herbs (mint and parsley). ‘Karafs’ translated from Persian is ‘celery.’ And ‘Khoresh’ means ‘stew.’

We have two versions of Khoresh Karafs. The first one, the subject of this recipe and the better known version, is cooked with herbs. The second one is cooked with tomatoes and usually chicken. We refer to them by their colour: Khoresh Karafs-e-Sabz (‘sabz’ means green in Farsi); and Khoresh Karafs-e-Ghermez (‘ghermez’ means red in Farsi).

Ingredients In Khoresh Karafs

The ingredients for this khoresh (stew) are simple and easy to source with most items available at your local supermarket.

You will need:
  • Lamb – the best cut of lamb to use for this recipe is from the leg and from a butcher. Ask for the leg to be trimmed of the outer layers of fat and to be cut into stew size pieces with the bone.
  • Celery – use fresh celery to ensure you get the delicious peppery and savoury flavour profile  from this amazing vegetable.
  • Parsley & Mint – use fresh herbs. As a guide 2 large bunches or 250 grams of parlsey to 1 large bunch or 150 grams of mint.
  • Onion, Garlic, Turmeric, Saffron and Fresh Lime Juice – the aromatics and flavour enhancing elements of the stew.
  • Vegetable Oil – or any other neutral flavoured oil for cooking elements of the stew prior to adding the cooking liquid.
  • Water or Vegetable Stock – the cooking liquid for the stew.
  • Salt and Pepper – to season the stew.

Variations Khoresh Karafs

  • Some add dried limes (Limoo Amani) to their khoresh while cooking but I prefer it without.
  • You can use beef but make sure it is the cut of beef best for stewing i.e. braising beef such as skirt, chuck or blade.
  • You can also use chicken instead of red meat.

How to Serve Khoresh Karafs

As with all Persian stews, the flavour continues to mature and intensify if you leave it for a day before you reheat and serve. This is, therefore, a dish you can make on a Sunday evening and tuck into later in the week reducing the time spent in the kitchen and washing up afterwards. Serve it with Persian rice – Chelow and a lime dressed chopped salad like Salad Shirazi.

Leftovers

Store in an airtight container in the fridge up to 3 days. Khoresh Karafs can also be frozen up to 4 months. Defrost thoroughly before reheating. Gently reheat khoresh in a saucepan or in a microwave.


Khoresh Karafs

Lamb, herb and celery stew
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr 30 mins
Total Time2 hrs
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Persian, Iranian
Keyword: mint, parsley, lamb, celery
Servings: 4 to 6
Author: Mersedeh Prewer

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 250 g fresh parsley
  • 150 g fresh mint
  • 1 large head of celery (about 7 to 10 stalks cut into 2 to 3 inch chunks)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 0.6 to 1 kg lamb on the bone (preferably leg, portioned into chunks approx. 2 to 3 inches width)
  • 600 ml water or vegetable stock
  • 1/8 tsp ground saffron (bloomed in 2 tbsp of water)
  • Juice of 1 to 2 fresh limes
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)

Instructions

Gather and Prepare the Ingredients

  • Remove woody stems from herbs and discard. Wash herbs and place on a tea towel and dab them dry.
  • Finely chop herbs either by hand or using a food processor and set to one side until ready to use.
  • Finely dice your onion. Take the celery and chop into 2 inch chunks.

Prepare the Stew

  • Take a casserole dish / saucepan which has a lid and a minimum capacity of 3.5 litres and place over medium-high heat. Add 2 tbsp of oil and brown lamb and remove from pan.
  • Add diced onions to pan and cook until they turn golden. Add crushed garlic cloves and stir, being careful that the garlic does not turn brown or burn.
  • Add lamb, then turmeric and stir until distributed evenly.
  • Add water or vegetable stock and bloomed saffron (the liquid should just cover the meat so adjust if necessary). Place lid on pan and turn down heat to low and let simmer.

Saute the Celery and Herbs

  • Take a frying pan and add 1 tbsp of oil and place over medium-low heat. Add chopped herbs and stir until the herb mix has softened, being careful not to burn it. A few minutes will suffice. Then add the herb mix to the lamb and stir. Replace the lid.
  • Sauté celery over medium heat in frying pan used for the herbs with the remaining 1 tbsp of oil for no more than a few minutes. Just enough for the celery to take on some heat from the pan but not soften. Turn the heat off under your frying pan and add celery to the lamb and herb mixture.

Cook and Season the Stew

  • After 5 minutes of simmering, add the fresh lime juice (start with half the lime and then add more), salt and pepper and adjust according to taste.
  • Continue simmering the stew for a minimum of an hour, stirring gently every 15 minutes and checking the softness of the meat - ideally you want the meat to be falling off the bone.

Serve the Khoresh Karafs

  • When ready, turn off the heat and serve with chelow and either torshi or a salad with a citrus dressing.

 

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 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Persian, Iranian
Keyword: lamb, kebabs, easy recipe
Servings: 4
Author: Mersedeh Prewer

Ingredients

  • 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)

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

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.