These kabobs with Persian rice are so simple to make, yet taste simply amazing with both chicken and beef, especially with traditional mast-o-khiar (yogurt dip). The key to its aromatic taste is good quality saffron. I usually fry them in a skillet but feel free to skewer them and grill them if that's what you prefer. Serve the kabobs with the rice and mast-o-khiar.


Recipe Summary

40 mins
1 hr 10 mins
30 mins
12 kabobs


Original recipe yields 6 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Combine chicken, diced onion, black pepper, salt, 1/4 teaspoon turmeric, 1/4 teaspoon saffron, and cayenne in a bowl. Shape mixture into long, sausage-like kabob shapes, or shape around skewers and put aside in the refrigerator.

  • Put the leftover saffron minus a pinch in 2 tablespoons warm water so that it lets out its color.

  • Bring 3 cups water and cardamom pods to a boil; add rice, reduce heat, and let simmer until tender and water has been absorbed, 20 to 25 minutes, making sure not to overcook or undercook. Drain out any remaining starch water.

  • Place a pot over low heat. Add 1 tablespoon butter, remaining turmeric, and reserved pinch of saffron; saute a bit then add the rice on top to dry out the excess water. Drizzle the saffron water on top and add 1 tablespoon butter. Cover and let simmer until the rice is fluffy, about 5 minutes.

  • Melt remaining butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Fry kabobs in the hot oil until they are no longer pink in the centers, 5 to 7 minutes, flipping as needed. Place tomatoes and chopped onion on top and cover. Cook until tomatoes soften and release their juices (this helps it from getting too dry), about 5 minutes. Serve with rice.

Cook's Notes:

You can use ground beef instead of chicken, oil instead of butter, and either saffron powder or dried threads.

If you plan on cooking them later you can also freeze them after shaping.

The shape determines the quantity but you should be able to make at least a dozen if not more.

Nutrition Facts

469 calories; protein 40.9g; carbohydrates 56g; fat 8.7g; cholesterol 103mg; sodium 536.4mg. Full Nutrition