Persian chicken kebabs with cauli rice and garlic sauce
- ¼ cup 60 ml olive oil
- 3 tbsp 3 tbsp mayonnaise
- 4 4 garlic clove, mincedgarlic cloves, minced
- 2 2 lemon, juice and zestlemons, juice and zest
- 1½ tsp 1½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp ½ tsp ground black pepper
- ¼ cup (½ oz.) 60 ml (15 g) finely chopped, fresh parsley
- ¼ tsp ¼ tsp saffron
- 1 (4 oz.) 1 (110 g) , cut into small wedges, cut into small wedges
- 1¾ lbs 800 g boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1.5" (4 cm) pieces
- 4 (1 lb) 4 (450 g) tomatotomatoes
- 4 4 skewer (metal or wooden)skewers (metal or wooden)
- 2 tbsp 2 tbsp butter or ghee
- 1½ lbs 650 g cauliflower, roughly chopped or cauliflower rice
- ¾ cup 180 ml water
- ¼ tsp ¼ tsp saffron
- salt, to taste
- 2 tbsp 2 tbsp dried barberries (zereshk) (optional)
- fresh parsley, chopped (optional)
- dried barberries (zereshk) (optional)
Marinade and chicken
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the marinade ingredients. Place the onion and chicken into a large glass bowl or a resealable plastic bag, and completely coat with the marinade. Cover or seal, and refrigerate for at least 10 minutes, or overnight for maximum flavor.
- Prepare the kebabs for the grill, or to be baked in the oven; use metal or wooden skewers, and thread the chicken and onions onto the skewers. Place the tomatoes on a separate skewer.
- Grill: Lightly grease the grates with oil, and preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Place the kebabs on the grates for 15-20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes, and brushing with the reserved marinade.
Oven: Preheat at 400°F (200°C). Place the kebabs on a lightly oiled broiler pan, and bake for 25-30 minutes, turning every 5 minutes and brushing with reserved marinade. For extra browning, broil for 1-3 minutes. Kebabs will be done when the internal temperature reaches 160-165°F (71-74°C).
- In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, chopped cucumber, and minced garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
- Add the butter or ghee to a large frying pan, over medium-high heat. Stir in the cauliflower, water, saffron, salt, pepper, and optional barberries. Cook for 8-10 minutes, or until the cauliflower mixture is golden and tender, stirring occasionally.
- Serve the chicken with saffron cauliflower rice, tomatoes, and garlic sauce. Garnish with a sprinkle of parsley and optional barberries, for an extra splash of color and flavor!
Saffron cauliflower rice
Comment from the recipe creator
I've learned a lot of things from my dad, but one thing I will never forget is when he used to make his Persian chicken skewers. Everybody gathered around the "Sofreh", the traditional cloth spread on the table or floor, eating and just enjoying the food. I'm so happy that I can carry on his legacy and share it with you, the Diet Doctor family.
Saffron – the world's most expensive spice
It's important to use good quality saffron. There are several types of "faux saffron" on the market which are inexpensive, but flavorless. Real saffron is pricey, but you only need a little to add a lot of flavor and color.
To get the most flavor out of the saffron as possible, put the saffron threads in a spice mortar together with a pinch of salt. Grind with a pestle to a powdery consistency before adding it to the marinade and cauli rice.
A good tip is to store the saffron in the freezer to keep it fresh for longer.
Different cooking methods
Kebabs can be grilled on either a charcoal or gas grill and even in the oven. But charcoal will give the dish it's authentic flavor. To do so, start a bed of charcoal about 30 minutes before you want to grill and let it burn until the coals glow evenly.
A great tip is to use a hairdryer to speed up the process.
What are barberries?
Barberries are highly nutritious, tart berries, native to Iran, which have been used in traditional medicine for centuries. They contain berberine, which acts as an antioxidant and in research has been showing to be effective at lowering blood sugar.
Dried barberries are often used in Persian cooking. The taste is reminiscent of cranberries but less sweet. They can be found in the International section of some supermarkets or in specialty shops, but are very easy to buy online.
This dish tastes great combined with the acidity from pickled vegetables, such as pickled beans, radishes, cabbage, or carrots.