I always wanted to make koobideh but without fat and each time I tried they turned out so dry and tasteless that it felt like eating a piece of cardboard. I got fed up and stopped trying altogether.
It so happened that after making kibbeh there was so much extra lean finely ground beef left over and I had to use it all up (I never refreeze any food after partially or completely defrosting it). While I was just speculating on how I could make juicy kebabs with it, what I should add – eggs and cornstarch or mushrooms, etc, etc, my eyes fell on the almond butter bottle in the shelf and lo and behold my juicy koobideh were born!
What can be a better substitute to fat other than almond butter? It not only gives a better taste but is a much better healthy choice as well. “Almond butter is not only a good source of protein but is packed with monounsaturated fats, which are good for the heart, and also helps to control blood sugar”.
Some people might argue that the fat burns off when you grill them so why take the unnecessary expensive alternative of using almond butter. The fact is that the fat does not entirely burn off. When the kebabs cool down you can still see a film of fat sticking to them. And this fat can clog your arteries and give you a heart attack.
Here’s the recipe!
1 kg Finely ground extra lean beef (no skin and 0% fat)
1 tbs Garlic paste
1 tsp Black pepper ground
2 tbs Fried onions (either store bought or home made)
2 tsp Seven spices
1 tsp All spice
1 tsp Cumin powder
1 tsp Salt as per taste)
1/2 cup Fresh Parsley (chopped)
1/2 cup Almond butter –
1 tbs Vegetable oil (optional)
1-2 tbs Water
4-6 Flat metal skewers
1. Grind together fried onions, garlic paste and fresh parsley along with all the spices and 1 tblspn of water. Add this paste to the ground beef.
2. Add the 1/2 a cup of almond butter with the almond oil to the beef. Keep kneading it like dough till it stops sticking and starts leaving the sides of the container. If it is too sticky and dry add just 1/2 – 1tbs of water. The more you knead the lighter the kebab texture. The kebab dough should be moist and airy and should not stick to your hands. Knead well and leave to marinate in the fridge for an hour or two.
3. Do not add any extra vegetable oil if the almond butter is runny and if you can see the almond oil covering the top of the almond butter.
4. Brush the skewers with oil as this makes it easier to slide off the kebab when it is done. With clean wet hands take a golf size ball of the prepared ground beef and wrap it around the skewer till it holds together. Shape it into a nice, long, smooth and round sausage then with your index and middle finger mimicking scissors pinch both ends of the kebab alongside to form ridges.
5. Repeat the steps for all of them. Leave enough room on either side of the skewers so as to rest them on the grill.
6. Set your oven to broil on high (or 550 degrees fahrenheit).
7. Take an old cookie sheet and cover it with tin foil. Place the skewers on the cookie sheet. Then place it under the grill in the top position of the oven.
8. Broil for 3-4 mins on each side. Do not over cook as they would harden. When you see them turning golden brown turn over and cook for another 3- 4 mins till they are done. Keep some tin foil ready. Remove them from the oven. Slide them off with the help of salad tongs into the tin foil and wrap them up immediately. This helps in retaining the moisture and heat till you serve them. You have to be very careful and use oven gloves while handling the skewers as they are very hot.
9. Serve them hot with persian or afghani rice and yoghurt mint chutney which you can make by adding 1 – 2 tsp dried mint leaves, 1/2 and inch chopped ginger, salt and pepper to 1/2 a cup yoghurt.
10. You may also grill some vegetables (tomatoes, green, red peppers, onions etc) in a skewer to eat with the kebabs. Serve them hot on a bed of sliced onions and mint chutney with persian or afghani rice. Enjoy the koobideh and eat your way to health.