Joojeh kabab is a simple, easy to make and popular dish in Iran and is most delicious when made with fresh and tender young chicken. Joojeh kabab is usually made with skinless and boneless chicken breast. However, it could be made with the whole chicken cut into small pieces, allowing ample marinating time, which is an important step in the cooking process. It’s best to let the chicken marinate overnight for the best result. For a moist, juicy and flavorful joojeh kabob, marinate the pieces in a yogurt-based sauce with olive oil, lemon juice, grated onion, saffron and salt and pepper. Typical Persian joojeh kabab is not spicy at all and a little bit on the tangy side. In our home, we like our joojeh kabab more lemony and zesty. Grilled saffron chicken is usually served right off the grill with aromatic rice, grilled tomatoes and onions. Also, grilled corn soaked in salted water would make a great side dish.
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, preferably fresh, never frozen, cut into cubes
1 medium onion, grated
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3-4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon powdered saffron dissolved in 2-3 tablespoons of hot water
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
A pinch of red pepper powder *optional
1-In a bowl combine the yogurt, onion, olive oil, lime juice, liquid saffron, salt and pepper. Blend well into a smooth mixture, adjust the seasoning with lime juice and salt and pepper.
2-Pour the mixture over the chicken in a large bowl, making sure that all the pieces are fully covered with the sauce. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 6-8 hours.
3-Thread the chicken pieces onto metal skewers, place the skewers on the hot grill and continue grilling until chicken pieces are well cooked.
Serve warm with rice, yogurt, salad, fresh herbs and pickles. Or, you can make a joojeh kabab sandwich with warm bread, lettuce, tomato and onion slices with a dollop of yogurt and cucumber dressing.