Chicken Kebabs with Crispy Persian Rice and a Spicy Cilantro Sauce

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These were AMAZING! I can’t stress enough how beautifully these turned out. They were so perfectly spiced, and they were totally a fluke! I actually did not mean for the rice to end up crispy on the bottom (and frankly, I really don’t know how I did it haha) but it was such an amazing touch to the rice. There was no burnt flavor, just these really delightful crispy bits. It kind of reminded me of Tahdig, which is a Persian crispy rice dish that I saw a chef make on Netflix a few months ago. If you’ve tried to make Tahdig before, I’d love to hear all about your experience!

This was such an easy weeknight dinner. If you have all the ingredients, it takes very minimal time to put together. Especially if you marinate the chicken in the morning. The chicken was succulent, garlicky, and spiced to perfection. And the cherry on top was definitely the spicy cilantro sauce. It’s so easy to make and it would work great as a salad dressing as well. In fact, I had some left over this morning and I drizzled it over two sunny side up eggs over a bed of spinach and sliced Avocado.

My husband is the real carnivore at home and he was a little tired of eating vegetarian food all week so I decided to switch it up a little. We usually eat Vegetarian food 90% of the time, so I really can’t complain!

I hope you enjoy this as much as we did! Thank you for the love and if you do end up trying it, please feel free to share your pictures with me on Instagram @kavitaarjungi.

Happy Eating!

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What You’ll Need:

Kebabs:

  • 16 oz. Organic ground chicken (or turkey)
  • 3-4 Cloves garlic (Chopped)
  • 1 Cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 Finely chopped green chilis
  • 2 Teaspoons Teaspoons Coriander powder
  • 2 Teaspoons Red chili powder
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Cumin powder
  • Pinch of cinnamon (very little)
  • 2 tbsp yogurt
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon ground Pepper
  • Zest of 1 whole lemon
  • Juice of 1 whole lemon

Crispy Persian Rice:

  • 1 1/2 Cups White rice
  • 1 1/2 Cups Water
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • 1 Teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Turmeric
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • Handful of yellow raisins
  • Handful of slivered almonds

Spicy Cilantro Sauce:

  • 1 cup chopped Cilantro
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Clove garlic
  • 1/2 jalapeño
  • 1 shallot
  • Salt to taste

Garnish:

  • Chopped red onion
  • Chopped Cilantro
  • Lemon wedge

Instructions:

1.) Combine garlic, cilantro, green chilis, coriander powder, red chili powder, cumin powder, cinnamon, yogurt, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a bowl and mix well.

2.) Mix the ground chicken into the kebab marinade and refrigerate for an hour (or longer).

3.) In the meantime, wash and rinse white rice well. Mix in water, salt, cumin, turmeric, lemon juice, raisins, slivered almonds and cook rice on high on the stovetop until all water has evaporated and rice has cooked. I allowed mine to brown a bit from the bottom which gave the rice a nice crispy texture. But to be honest, I did it totally accidentally. If you know a sure shot method to crispy rice without burning the rice then by all means try that :). Turn off heat, cover, and set rice aside.

4.) Combine all spicy cilantro sauce ingredients in a food processor or blender and blitz for about a minute or until the mixture forms a texture similar to salad dressing. Pout into a bowl and set aside.

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5.) Remove marinated chicken from refrigerator. With oiled hands, form a single long kebab per skewer and set on a plate. I did 2 at a time so that the kebabs wouldn’t fall apart.

6.) Heat some olive oil in a flat cast iron pan. Carefully assemble two skewers on the oiled pan and allow to cook around 4-5 minutes per side. Be advised that ground chicken cooks very quickly so you’ll have to keep an eye on the kebabs. Once fully cooked, set aside on a plate. Repeat process for all skewers.

7.) To assemble, spoon out some of your Persian rice onto a plate, top with 1-2 kebabs, and drizzle with the spicy cilantro sauce.

8.) To garnish, top the chicken and rice with chopped onions, chopped cilantro, and additional lemon juice if you’d like

 

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