َI started my blog almost a year ago and it has been a delicious journey. I’m so grateful to each and every one of you who faithfully follow my posts and support my work with your emails and comments. It truly has been a privilege and joy to connect with amazing people from all over the world with the universal language of food!
This is a Persian food that speaks to all Persians and all the kabob lovers everywhere in the world… So I felt that I should celebrate my blog’s first anniversary with this recipe. Even though the warm weather is quickly coming to an end for most people, I have decided to post a fun grilling recipe, my Joojeh Kabob (or Jujeh Kabob)!
I have to let you in on something about my family, we never stop grilling outside just because the seasons change; we grill all year round. This might have looked very strange to our neighbors at the beginning but we are sure they have gotten used to our four season grilling after all these years.
There are two kinds of Joojeh Kabobs in Persian cuisine, one with bones and the other without; both are equally awesome. I have previously posted a recipe for the Grilled Chicken Drumletts.
The Joojeh Kabob, or Grilled Saffron Chicken recipe that I’m sharing today is grilled pieces of tender chicken breast that has been marinated in fresh lemon or lime juice, onion, saffron, salt, pepper and olive oil.
I always leave out the salt when I marinate lamb or beef kabobs and add it later at the grill, however the marinade for chicken has salt in the mix and leaving it out would result in a chicken kabob that is not very tasty at the end. For best results the chicken pieces should sit in the marinade for at least 24 hours and if you have the time, for up to 48 hours.
The result is a tender, juicy Joojeh Kabob that is not just flavored with lemon/lime juice on the outside but it is actually tenderized with a very pleasant lemon flavor inside.
A great Grilled Saffron Chicken should be perfect golden brown on the outside while it is still juicy inside. Do not leave the chicken on the grill for too long because nothing ruins Joojeh Kabob as much as overcooking, but be mindful that the meat should be white all the way through and not pink. The heat source should be about 4-5 inches away from the chicken. Very hot fire combined with frequent turning is the key to grilling a perfect chicken.
The boneless, skinless chicken breasts are cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces and tossed with fresh lemon juice, sliced onions, ground saffron powder, salt, black pepper, then the olive oil is mixed in. The chicken is covered and marinated for 24-48 hours in the refrigerator. The marinated chicken is then skewered and grilled along with tomatoes, onion and sweet peppers. I love serrano peppers so I have grilled some too and they are pretty HOT!
Enjoy this delicious Joojeh Kabob and grilled vegetables either over Sangak (Persian flat bread) or Persian Rice. If you decide to serve it with the white Persian Rice have some butter at room temperature to toss with the rice and don’t forget to sprinkle the rice with Sumac. Serve some fresh lemon or lime wedges on the side, and of course like all Persian Kabobs, Joojeh Kabob tastes delicious with a few wedges of fresh white or red onions!
Marinate Time: 24-48 hours
you will need an outdoor grill and about 6 or 7 metal skewers
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
- 1 small onion, peeled and sliced
- ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
- ⅛ tsp ground saffron powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- ¼ cup olive oil
- FOR THE GRILLED VEGETABLES:
- Small tomatoes (whole)
- Small onions cut in half
- Sweet colorful mini peppers (whole)
- Serrano peppers (optional)
- Olive oil for brushing over the veggies
- Sprinkle of salt and ground black pepper
- Trim all the fat from chicken breasts and cut them into equal pieces (1 ½ - 2 inches) and place them in a medium glass container.
- Add the sliced onions, saffron, salt, black pepper and lemon juice to the chicken and toss until the chicken pieces are uniformly coated with saffron and yellow.
- Add the olive oil to the dish and stir to combine.
- Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate 24-48 hours. Leave the marinated chicken out at room temperature for about 45 minutes before grilling.
- Prepare the outdoor grill for high heat because this Chicken Kabob needs to cook fast otherwise it will dry out. If using coals, they should be burned until they are covered with a white ash before grilling. The grill grates should be 4-5 inches above the heat source.
- Use narrow metal skewers to skewer the Chicken Kabobs. Skewer the tomatoes, onions and peppers separately because these vegetables do not cook at the same time. Spray or brush the skewered vegetables with a light coating of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper before grilling them.
- Place two metal bars (I purchased mine from hardware store) at top and bottom of the grill grate and rest the tip and handle of the skewers on the bars so the chicken and vegetables don't touch the grates.
- If there is not enough space on the grill for all the skewers, grill the vegetables first and keep them warm until you grill the chicken.
- Grill the Jujeh Kabob over high heat. As soon as one side starts changing color the other sides should be grilled so the hot fire seals in the juices. Then keep turning the skewers until golden brown on all sides and no longer pink inside. Check one piece of the Jujeh kabob by cutting through it with a knife, if it is white and juicy it is ready. Remove the kabobs that are ready from fire and keep them warm under aluminum foil and serve as soon as all are done grilling.
- Enjoy the Chicken Kabobs and grilled vegetables over Sangak (Persian flat bread) or Persian rice. If you are serving the chicken kabobs with white rice, add a dab of softened butter on top and toss gently with a fork to coat the warm rice, and sprinkle it with sumac for the traditional style. Serve the kabobs with extra lemon/lime wedges with a few wedges of fresh white or red onions.