Week 28. Iran. Kabab Koobideh and Saffron Rice.

How appropriate that on Sunday this week I drew Iran. The previous day I-ran in The Grim Challenge. “The Grim” is a race on Military Ground used for testing Army Vehicles (tanks and stuff). I knew the race would be tough, but not as tough as it actually was. 8.8 miles long we had to run through 30 water filled pits which were mostly in-between knee and chest deep, and there were two of the steepest hills I have ever run up. Rarely were we running on anything but thick mud – all I remember thinking is:

“How much bloody longer?
My ankle hurts.
Seriously, how many more water dips?
There is a bloke beating me wearing a full Business Suit.
That lady half a mile in front of me is over 60.
We have to run up that?!
I’m going to puke.
Whose idea was this?”

I’m not quite sure how, as I can’t think of any positives, but I think I loved doing it. I also think I will do it again but I don’t know why. Is this how everyone thinks?
Food wise I was, as usual, very excited to get a country such as Iran. Iran – the beautiful country which is presided over by the unstable lunatic Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who, according to many scholars could be the guy who begins the nuclear war which ends the world. How lovely. Putting that to the back of our minds we need to remember that Iran used to be Persia (until 1935) and Persian food is fabulous.
Iranians tend to cook food which is in season and fresh, but I chose to cook a typically Persian dish which would work in any season. Kebab Koobideh is a highly popular dish usually eaten in the middle of the day. It is a beef kebab (you can use Lamb), and doesn’t have a huge depth of flavour but I served it with Saffron rice which introduced the typically floral Persian flavour.
I thought overall the dish was delicious. The meat was….well meaty, but the rice was delicious. The saffron of course made it paella like and with the sesame flavour from the humus and the sweet roast tomatoes, the flavours blended magically – as you would expect from a dish which is over 1000 years old!

Cook time in total is 45 mins to 1 hour. Ideally cook the kebabs on a BBQ, but when I tried it was 3 degrees outside, dark and the gas ran out after a minute. I grilled them on a high heat instead.

2 Tbsp Butter
2 Bayleaves
Pinch Saffron
400ml Vegetable Stock
500g Beef. 20% Fat or it will fall apart
1 Large Grated Onion
1 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Pepper
1 Tsp Mint Leaves
1 Tsp Cumin
1 Large Beaten Egg


  1. Soak the rice in water for 30 mins and then drain
  2. Whilst the rice is soaking mix all the kebab ingredients together (you could blend them) and make them into 8 sausages.
  3. Spike each sausage with a metal kebab stick and set aside
  4. In a pan melt the butter and add the bay leaves and stir until melted. Add the drained rice and mix for 5 mins until the rice has absorbed the butter. Add the boiling vegetable stock, put a lid on the pan and let it simmer for 15 mins until cooked.
  5. Whilst the rice is cooking BBQ the kebabs for 5 mins on each side.
  6. Serve with humus and roasted tomatoes (if you like)

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