Skewered beef ‘leaves’ marinated in yoghurt, cardamom and black pepper

Skewered beef ‘leaves’ marinated in yoghurt, cardamom and black pepper

Kabab-e barg

By
From
Saraban
Makes
6
Photographer
Mark Roper

These Persian favourites are definitely a cut above your average kebab. Traditionally they are made from lamb fillet, which is cleverly sliced into long, wafer-thin strips that are woven onto skewers for grilling. The word ‘barg’ means ‘leaf’, which tells you how thin the meat should be. They are just as succulent and exquisitely tender when made using beef fillet – I’ve suggested here that you ask your butcher for a centre-cut piece of fillet, to ensure you have a piece of uniform thickness. Whether you use beef or lamb, the fillet is an expensive cut and in Iran kabab-e barg are usually served sparingly as part of a wider kebab selection.

Although Iranian kebabs are often marinated to tenderise the meat, in this instance the yoghurt is purely to add flavour, as the cut is already so tender.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
100g thick natural yoghurt
1 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 x 1kg beef fillet, centre cut
ground sumac, to serve
rice, to serve
flatbread, to serve

Method

  1. Put the yoghurt, lemon juice, oil, oregano, cardamom, salt and pepper into a bowl and whisk together well.
  2. With a very sharp knife, carefully cut the beef fillet in half lengthwise. Cut each half into 3 portions. Working with a portion at a time, cut it through the centre horizontally, but not all the way through – it should still be attached at one short end. Open it out to form one longer strip. Repeat with the remaining portions of beef so you have 6 long, thin strips. Carefully weave a medium-width metal skewer through each strip of meat and arrange in a shallow dish. Brush the marinade over the meat, then cover and refrigerate for 2–2½ hours.
  3. When ready to cook, preheat your barbecue or griller to high. Grill the kebabs for 1–2 minutes on each side, or to your liking. Because they are so thin, they will cook in a flash.
  4. Pile the skewers onto a warm platter and cover with a piece of flatbread. Serve with sumac to sprinkle, your choice of rice, and plenty more warm flatbread.
Tags:
Saraban
Malouf
Greg
Lucy
Iran
Iranian
Middle Eastern
Persian
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