Chicken Kababs marinated in Yogurt

Fri. July 2, 2010 12:00 AM
by Brad Mercil

I still remember the first time I tasted these Chicken Kababs. They were so good they almost melted in my mouth! It was such an interesting combination of flavors; I just couldn't stop eating them. These kababs, known as Jujeh Kababs, are another summer grilling meal that you can introduce your guests too.

I'll say this right up front, these kababs take a long time to prepare. I let them marinate in the refrigerator for two days before cooking. This way the chicken has a long time to breakdown and absorb all of the different flavors and the wait is well worth it!

One of the dominate spices in this dish is Saffron which happens to be one of my favorite spices. Saffron has such a unique flavor and when its combined with the other ingredients, the flavor profile is really something special. Saffron can get a little pricey but it's poweful stuff and you're only going to need a little of it. Trader Joe's, Cost Plus World Market and The Spice House all carry Saffron. If you're near a good spice house head on over and see what they have. Be sure to buy threads of saffron and grind yourself.

Generally, I use boneless chicken that I put on bamboo skewers, I like to keep the pieces of chicken bite sized. I have made this dish with whole pieces of chicken as well. So let's get started!


Chicken Kebabs (Jujeh Kabab)


**Kabab Ingredients**

3 pounds boneless chicken cut into bite sized pieces about 1 1/2 inches
5 medium tomatoes halved
2 limes quartered
Skewers - soaked in water for 1 hour

**Chicken marinade**
1 tsp ground saffron dissolved in 2 tblsp of hot water
1 cup fresh lime juice
2 Tbls olive oil
2 large onions, thinly sliced
2 - 4 garlic cloves thinly sliced
2 Tbls orange zest
1 cup plain yogurt
2 tsp salt
2 tsp freshly ground pepper

**Chicken baste**
Remaining saffron water
1 lime juiced
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper


In a large non reactive bowl, combine half of the saffron water (1Tbls) with all of the remaining ingredients for the marinade. Add pieces of chicken, toss well to coat all pieces. Cover and marinate for at least 8 hours in refrigerator, or up to 2 days. Turn the chicken pieces several times during this process.

For the chicken baste, in a small bowl add the remaining saffron water and the remaining ingredients. Mix well and set aside. If the butter begins to harden, microwave the baste for a few seconds to remelt.

Skewer the chicken pieces and the tomato halves.

Heat your grill to medium high heat. You do not want the grill to be smoking hot as this will burn the outside of the chicken pieces. Place the chicken and tomato skewers on grill and cook for roughly 8 to 15 minutes. Turn frequently, be sure to baste the chicken skewers several times during grilling to keep the meat moist. Some skewers will cook faster then others, you may want to rotate some of the skewers off of the hot spots on your grill. Chicken is cooked when their juices run yellow not pink.

Place the chicken and tomato skewers on a large serving platter. If you have any baste left over you can give the ckicken skewers one final baste before serving.

For an extra kick squeeze fresh lime juice on the chicken pieces when guests have plated their food.