Kabab-Koobideh Recipe

A touch of baking soda helps tenderize and moisten this classic Iranian skewer.
Photo by Farideh Sadeghin

Servings: 4
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 1 hour and 30 minutes


1 large yellow onion, peeled
1 ½ pounds|680 grams double-ground ground beef
2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons sumac, plus more for serving
½ teaspoon baking soda
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
lavash bread, to serve
olive oil, to serve
Italian flat-leaf parsley
Persian basil
limes wedges for serving


  1. Grate the onion into a large bowl. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible, discarding the liquid. Add the beef, salt, sumac, and baking soda and mix to incorporate. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour.
  2. Light a charcoal grill. Divide the meat into 4 equal-sized balls and, working with one ball of meat at a time and using wet hands, form the meat up and around a skewer. Repeat with remaining meat and skewers.
  3. Place the skewers on the grill. Wait about 30 seconds, then turn them. Keep turning them every 30 seconds for 2 to 3 minutes and continue cooking until charred and cooked through, 3 minutes more. Brush each side with butter and transfer to a platter on top of the lavash. Season with salt and squeeze the fresh lime juice over the top. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with sumac and the herbs. Serve with lime wedges.

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