Classic persian minced lamb kebabs

Classic persian minced lamb kebabs

Kabab Koobideh

Mark Roper

One of the secrets to an outstanding kabab koobideh is to mince the lamb twice; ask your butcher to do this for you, or do it yourself at home. The mince must then be energetically and thoroughly kneaded so that the fat is evenly distributed throughout the meat and it turns into a soft, smooth, sticky paste. You can do this quickly in a food processor, if you like, but chill the bowl and blade in the fridge first.

To make kabab koobideh you really must have 2 centimetre wide metal skewers (which you’ll find in Middle Eastern stores), as it is almost impossible to get the mixture to adhere properly to the skinny variety.


Quantity Ingredient
600g lamb, minced twice, (from the leg)
1 small onion, very finely diced
1 very small garlic clove, very finely diced
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
splash olive oil
60g unsalted butter, melted
1/2 lemon, juiced
rice, to serve
salad onions, to serve
radishes, to serve
lemon wedges, to serve
pickles, to serve
flatbread, to serve


  1. Combine the lamb, onions, garlic, seasonings and oil in a large bowl. Wet your hands with cold water, then knead the mixture very well for up to 10 minutes. Alternatively, whiz it in a food processor.
  2. Divide the mixture into 6 even portions. With wet hands, mould a portion of the mixture around a wide metal skewer, squeezing it out evenly to create a 15 cm long kebab. You might find it easier to shape it into a long sausage on your work surface and then push the skewer lengthways through it. For the traditional pattern, use your index finger to make indentations crosswise along the length of the kebab. Make sure the meat is squeezed tightly around the skewer at either end. Repeat with the remaining meat so you have 6 kebabs, then cover and refrigerate for 1–2 hours before cooking.
  3. When ready to cook, preheat your barbecue or griller to high. Whisk the melted butter with the lemon juice. Grill the kebabs for 2–3 minutes on each side, basting regularly with the butter mixture, until they are golden brown and cooked to your liking.
  4. Pile all the skewers onto a warm platter and cover with a piece of flatbread. Serve with your choice of rice, salad onions, radishes, lemon wedges, pickles and more warm flatbread.
Middle Eastern
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