However you spell or pronounce them, Kebabs, Kebobs, or Kababs are meat dishes that take pride of place alongside other meat-centered dishes in Persian cuisine. They are typically small pieces of seasoned whole or ground beef, lamb, chicken, or seafood that are generally skewered and grilled. What makes Kebabs so tasty is the addition of spices and lengthy marination in grated onions.
Kebabs are generally grilled with tomatoes, green peppers, onions, or other vegetables. They are then served with slices of flatbread, heaping amounts of steamed rice smothered in butter and egg yolks, and topped with tangy and brilliantly-colored Sumac. Fresh herbs and raw onions are the most common side dishes.
Kebab Tabei is a much-simplified version of this tradition, and – as the name implies – it’s cooked in a pan rather than skewered and grilled, Tabei being a Farsi reference to a frying pan. Seasoned meat patties are cooked in oil on the stovetop and are accompanied by tomatoes and sometimes potatoes. The dish can be assembled as a one-pot meal in which all ingredients are cooked together. Alternatively, as in this recipe, the tomatoes and potatoes are prepared separately and then combined for serving.
It’s no secret that Iranians and other Middle Easterners love their Kebabs, and sometimes the focus on the Kebab in Persian restaurants eclipses other dishes. Fortunately, that trend is beginning to shift, and now more attention is being given to all the glorious stews and rice dishes that add to the complexity and flavor of Persian cuisine. Either way, I’m happy to be sharing this simple but delicious Kebab option.
- 1 medium onion, grated
- 1 pound ground beef, or lamb
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, ground
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, ground
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, adjust as needed
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, more as needed
- 2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 ripe tomatoes, sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients for the kebab with the exception of the olive oil. Mix fully and form into desired patty shapes. I have chosen an oval shaped patty about 3 inches long and 1/2 inch thick.
- In a large frying pan, heat the oil over medium high heat and place the patties in the pan, in a single layer. Fry the patties for about 5 minutes on each side. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- In a large frying pan, heat the oil and fry the potatoes over medium heat for about 8 minutes on each side or until the potatoes are fully cooked and golden. Sprinkle with salt, remove from the pan and arrange on top of the kebabs.
- In the same frying pan, heat the oil and fry the tomatoes on medium high heat for about 2-3 minutes on each side. Sprinkle with salt, carefully remove from the pan, and place on top of the kebabs and potatoes.
- Once the potatoes and tomatoes have been placed on the kebabs, cover the pan and cook for about 5 minutes over low heat to reheat and bring the dish together.
- Serve with Persian steamed basmati rice or Persian flat breads, sumac, raw onions and a platter of fresh herbs.