Joojeh Kabab

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 7 hr 5 min (includes blooming and marinating times)
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 8 servings
A classic Iranian recipe, joojeh kababs are boneless chicken pieces marinated in a saffron-lemon mixture, then grilled to tender and juicy perfection, thanks to the yogurt in the marinade. It’s common for Iranians to enjoy them on the thirteenth day of Nowruz--also known as Sizdah Bedar--at picnics to end the Nowruz festivities, or on weekends, served with rice, grilled tomatoes and peppers.



Special equipment:
long metal skewers
  1. Sprinkle the saffron on 4 ice cubes in a small bowl and let it melt, about 35 minutes. This will be your bloomed saffron.
  2. Mix the yogurt, olive oil, onion, lemon juice, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and 2 tablespoons of the bloomed saffron in a large bowl. Add the chicken pieces and toss with tongs to coat in the mixture. Cover the chicken and refrigerate for at least 6 hours and up to overnight. Reserve the remaining bloomed saffron, covered, at room temperature or refrigerated.
  3. Prepare a grill for medium-high heat.
  4. Alternate threading the tomatoes pieces with the green pepper pieces on metal skewers. Season with salt and pepper. Thread the chicken pieces onto separate metal skewers. Set aside.
  5. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, then mix in the remaining bloomed saffron (pour off any remaining water first).
  6. Grill the chicken and vegetable skewers until grill marks form and the skewers can be moved easily without sticking to the grill, 5 to 7 minutes. Brush with the saffron butter. Flip the skewers and continue to grill until the tomatoes and peppers are charred in some spots and the chicken is fully cooked, 10 to 12 minutes. Serve with white rice.

Cook’s Note

To make sure the chicken is cooked through, remove a piece from a skewer and cut into it; if the juices run clear and it’s not pink inside, it’s fully cooked.