pan-fried kebabs with buttery rice (polo kabab)

pan-fried kebabs

the smell of kebabs evokes nostalgic memories of the outdoors

prep: 30'
cook: 10'

For any Iranian, the smell of kebabs evokes nostalgic memories of the outdoors, barbecues and family picnics. The taste of these pan-fried kebabs may even transport you to another time and place altogether. Whatever the case, they will satisfy a hankering for something salty, buttery and smoky.


  • 500g (1.1 lbs) minced meat of choice - either beef and lamb or beef and pork
  • 1 large onions, finely grated
  • 60ml (4 tbsp) vegetable oil
  • 1g turmeric (optional)
  • 400g (2 cups) basmati rice
  • 50g (1.75oz) butter
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes
  • 3 bell peppers cut to desired size
  • a drizzling of vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper
  • optionally, one piece of charcoal


  • to make the kebabs, grate the onions using the coarse side of the box grater
  • transfer to a bowl
  • add the meat
  • season with salt and pepper
  • add turmeric if using
  • mix thoroughly and form into golf ball-sized balls
  • flatten them in the palm of your hands
  • set aside
  • heat the vegetable oil in a pan
  • fry until browned on both sides
  • set aside
  • to give the kebabs an extra smoky flavour, fold a piece of tinfoil into a boat shape, put the kebabs back into the pan with the heat off, placing the foil in the middle
  • drizzle some vegetable oil inside the tin foil
  • use a safety gas lighter to burn some charcoal until it glows red
  • put it inside the tinfoil making sure the red charcoal hits the oil inside the tinfoil
  • be prepared to put the lid on to avoid the smoke escaping from the pan
  • meanwhile, soak the rice in a pot of hot salted water
  • cover
  • set aside to soften
  • after 10 minutes, strain and add enough fresh water to cook, about a knuckle’s distance above the rice
  • simmer until the extra water has evaporated
  • cover
  • cook for another 10 minutes
  • turn off the heat
  • add the butter on top
  • let it seep through before serving
  • to roast the vegetables, preheat your oven to 200°C/390°F, put the cherry tomatoes and bell peppers in an oven tray, season and drizzle with vegetable oil
  • roast for 5 minutes
  • spoon the rice into your favourite dish
  • place the kebabs and roasted vegetables on top

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