Archive | February, 2012

Chicken Kababs and My Vitamix…a Love Story

7 Feb

A desire for grilling and something with veggies had me on a quest to make some chicken kababs (kebabs? kabobs?) . I love Persian style chicken kababs (joojeh kabab) and found a recipe from blogger Tumeric and Saffron and another from I took elements of both and created my own recipe to my tastes. It’s actually pretty simple to prepare and cook and you’re left with really juicy chicken. If you have a Vitamix like I do, then it’s even less time consuming (thanks to my Dude for the awesome Christmas present!).

Marinade recipe:

3 pounds of boneless chicken

1 teaspoon of saffron powder or saffron threads

2 tablespoons of hot water

1 cup of plain yogurt

1/4 cup of olive oil

1 large onion cut coarsely

2 cloves of garlic peeled

Juice of 1 lime

Zest of 1 lime

2 teaspoons of peppercorns or 1 teaspoon of ground pepper

kosher salt to taste (I used about 3 tablespoons)


Cut chicken to kabab sized cubes and set aside. Put saffron threads in hot water and let it steep for 10 minutes or longer. Using the Vitamix, blend the saffron water, saffron, yogurt, olive oil, onion, garlic, lime juice, lime zest, peppercorns, and kosher salt for about 30 seconds or until everything is smoothly blended. I used my Vitamix (thanks, Dude!) which saved me a ton of time not having to chop and grate. The Vitamix even ground all the peppercorns! I blended everything for about 30 seconds, poked around the mixture with my wooden spoon, then blended for another 30 seconds. Marinate the chicken in this mixture for at least 8 hours or up to 2 days. If you don’t have a blender or food processor to do this, you’ll need to grate the onion and garlic and use ground pepper.

Chicken cubes marinating in a ziploc bag.

Baste recipe:

Juice of 1 lime

1/4 cup of butter, melted

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Skewer the chicken and prepare the baste by mixing the lime juice, melted butter, salt, and pepper. Grill the chicken for 8 to 15 minutes and make sure to baste in between. I decided to include bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms on my skewers. Make sure you space everything well on the skewer so it all cooks evenly. Serve with grilled tomatoes and saffron rice.

The marinade is really gloopy and cold. I swear this is worth it.

The Dude basting the kababs. Much love to him for freezing his butt off on our porch in 40-some degree weather to tend the grill. 🙂

Here are the first batch of grilled kababs. We couldn’t help ourselves and promptly started digging in.

This is probably the 3rd or 4th batch of grilled kababs. Good char and color on this one. Major props to The Dude.

Review of recipe:

I’d have to say this came out pretty darn well. I doubled my recipe (I really just bought waaaaay too much chicken) and this came out to over 30 skewers. In all honesty, the marinade recipe produced a LOT of marinade. I would say that you could increase the amount of chicken to 4 pounds with the same amount of marinade. This produced really, really, ridiculously juicy chicken with great flavor. I would add some cayenne pepper powder to the marinade to give it a spicy kick and maybe an extra tablespoon of kosher salt. Another word of advice is to ABSOLUTELY baste the skewers. The baste makes the veggies taste soooo good and brings a sense of cohesiveness to all the elements of the kabab.

Speaking of the veggies, I would definitely splurge and get criminis or baby portabellas. They seem to hold up well on the grill while the regular white mushrooms liked to fall off. I’d also use red onions next time instead of the white just because I think the flavor of the red onion might compliment the rest of the kabab more. For the recipe I posted above 3 bell peppers, 1 very large onion, and 1 pound of mushrooms would suffice. For funsies, I added some broccoli to the skewers and the grilled broccoli with the baste is super yummy! Watch out since the florets like to char.

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