Joojeh Kabab is a traditional chicken kebob recipe from Iran.
Chicken breast chunks are smothered in a saffron chicken kebob marinade, which tenderizes the meat thanks to creamy yogurt and freshly squeezed lemon juice.
The quick and easy barbecue recipe is the perfect chicken dish to serve during summer grilling season. Persian Kebab skewers are removed from the grill with a crispy barbecued exterior and tender moist interior.
Serve this healthy Joojeh Kabab recipe with your favourite Middle Eastern rice dish, grilled flatbread, barbecued vegetables and selection of fresh salads and dips.
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What Is Joojeh Kabab?
Jujeh Kabab is a traditional Persian dish that consists of grilled chunks of tender chicken. It is one of the most common and popular dishes in Iran.
The barbecued chicken dish can also be referenced on menus as Joojay Kebob or Jujeh Kabab.
Persian chefs typically marinate chunks of chicken in sliced onion, lemon juice, saffron and yogurt before threaded the meat onto skewers. Joojeh Kabab is often served on chelo rice or wrapped in lavash bread.
Travel to the Middle East by Cooking Joojeh Kabab at Home
I love traveling to the Middle East and North Africa.
As a professional food and travel journalist, I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy amazing meals in the Middle East, from authentic markets to award winning restaurants.
For over a decade, I’ve been on the hunt for the best Joojeh Kabab recipe via adventures that had me exploring Morocco, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Israel and Dubai. You guessed it! Some of my fondest food memories while traveling in the Middle East include features featuring tender barbecued Persian Chicken Kebab.
I ate Joojeh Kabab at a traditional Moroccan riad, as a light lunch with fresh salads in Istanbul and Bodrum, accompanied by mint tea on a Nile Cruise and in bustling market in Cairo, late night snack in Amman, mid-afternoon street food at bustling markets in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and at a massive Middle Eastern barbecue in the middle of the Dubai desert while belly dancers twirled under the night sky.
My Family Loves Homemade Joojeh Kabab
My family loves firing up the barbecue during summer grilling season.
I wanted to share my love for traditional Joojeh Kabab by preparing a homemade recipe at our family cottage in Muskoka on a hot summer day.
I knew my parents would love Persian Kebab because they love Middle Eastern flavours, grilling meat on the barbecue, and perfectly cooked tender chicken.
We served the grilled Persian Chicken Kebab on a large serving platter with a buffet featuring fresh salads, healthy Middle Eastern dips, rice and flatbread.
Where To Eat Traditional Joojeh Kabab
Haven’t traveled to the Middle East or Iran before? It may be helpful to first sample Persian Chicken Kebab at a local restaurant to better understand how the dish is served. You’ll get an idea for how large to cut the chicken, how much meat to serve on each skewer and the perfect side dishes to accompany the kebab.
In Toronto, popular Middle Eastern restaurants that may serve a healthy Joojeh Kabab recipe include Ali Baba’s, Parallel, Byblos, Tabule, Fat Pasha, Maha’s, Masrawy Kitchen, Paramount Fine Foods, Banu and Darvish.
Joojeh Kabab Marinade
What makes Joojeh Kabab unique is its distinct Persian Chicken Kebab marinade.
Chicken pieces are marinated in a saffron and yogurt sauce with lemon and onion for several hours, preferably overnight. The chicken chunks absorb the flavours of the saffron and lemon, becoming extra juicy and tender thanks to the natural acids which help break down proteins in the meat.
Persian Chicken Kabob Bone-in Or Boneless?
Authentic Joojeh Kabab can be served two ways: bone-in or boneless.
Bone-in Joojeh Kabob is usually made with wings and drumettes. Boneless Persian Chicken Kebab is made with sliced chicken breast chunks or boneless chicken thigh meat.
Traditional Persian Chicken Kabob is cooked on a charcoal grill or gas barbecue using metal skewers but my family likes to use disposable wooden skewers.
How To Make Joojeh Kabab At Home
We love to fire up the grill in the summer when company is coming over as it’s so easy to cook a large amount of food all at once with very little clean up required.
You can easily prepare Joojeh Kabab in advance so you can enjoy time with your guests rather than sweating in the kitchen making dinner.
We suggest preparing the Persian Chicken Kebab marinade a day in advance. The longer you allow the chicken pieces to marinate in the saffron yogurt sauce the more tender and flavourful they will be.
You can thread the chicken onto skewers the morning of your lunch or dinner and let them rest in the fridge on a rimmed baking sheet. Simply remove the tray 30 minutes before you want to serve the meal and fire up the grill.
- To make homemade grilled joojeh kabab, preheat the barbecue to medium high and grill for 5 minutes on each side or until browned and crispy.
- To make Persian chicken kebab on the stove, heat 2 tablespoons of neutral oil like canola in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the chicken for 7-8 minutes and flip them halfway through to ensure they sear on both sides.
- To make joojeh kebab in the oven, preheat the oven to 400F. Place the skewers on a rimmed baking sheet and cook in the oven for 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway through until the kabobs are fully cooked.
Grilled Persian Saffron Chicken Recipe Cooking Tips
If it’s your first time preparing Joojeh Kabab at home here are some helpful cooking tips.
- We’ve used chunks of chicken breast in this recipe but you can substitute for boneless chicken thighs if you prefer. You can also make this Persian Kebab recipe with bone-in chicken with wings or drumettes if you prefer.
- We’ve used Spanish cooking onions in this recipe but you could substitute for sweet Vidalia onions or white onions if you prefer.
- You can purchase saffron online or at your local Middle Eastern or Persian supermarket.
- Only use fresh lemon juice and avoid store bought concentrate products. If you want to impart a really lemony flavour to your Joojeh Kabab add some lemon zest to the yogurt marinade.
- We’ve added ground turmeric to the marinade to give the kebabs a beautiful yellow colour. This is optional so feel free to omit if you don’t have turmeric in your spice rack.
- We’ve used thick Greek-style yogurt in the marinade but you can substitute for Balkan yogurt if you prefer. Use a plain yogurt and avoid any sweetened or flavoured yogurt products.
- We’ve used wooden skewers but you can use metal kebabs if you prefer.
- The recipe is best cooked on a charcoal or gas grill/barbecue but you can also prepare the popular Persian chicken dish on a stovetop or in the oven.
Our Persian Joojeh Kabab recipe is packed full of healthy ingredients!
Onions are a humble vegetable packed with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Regular consumption of onions can help boost digestive health and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
A rich source of phytochemicals and vitamin C, lemons help boost your immune system and neutralize free radicals that cause disease and skin aging. Lemons also protect against heart disease and help improve blood flow to the brain.
Olive Oil is ranked as one of the healthiest fats and is a staple in the Mediterranean diet. It contains vitamins E and K and plenty of beneficial fatty acids and antioxidants.
The star component of turmeric is curcumin, a potent phytochemical that has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It is often prescribed in Indian Ayurvedic medicine to help relieve arthritis, aid digestion and inhibit the growth of cancers.
Packed with calcium and friendly probiotic bacteria, sour cream and yogurt help keep your bones strong and your gut healthy. Yogurt may also help reduce the risk of obesity, diabetes and some types of cancer.
Chicken is high in protein and provides B vitamins such as niacin, which helps your body access the energy in foods.
What To Serve With Persian Chicken Kebab
We love cooking this easy Joojeh Kabab recipe on the grill during summer barbecue season.
Persian Chicken Kebab is typically served with Middle Eastern rice, flatbread and other grilled vegetables like sweet peppers and tomatoes.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days. To reheat, remove the cold chicken chunks from the skewers and warm in a microwave, air fryer or oven.
You may also enjoy these kebab recipes…
Other Chicken Recipes You Might Enjoy…
- Chicken Yuk Sung Chinese Lettuce Wraps
- Chao Ga Vietnamese Rice Porridge
- Moroccan Seffa Medfouna Saffron Chicken Vermicelli
- Crispy Chicken Schnitzel Sandwich
- Aguadito de Pollo Peruvian Chicken Soup
- Creamy Coconut Burmese Chicken Curry
- Moroccan Chicken Lentil Stew Rfissa
- Paprikas Csirke Hungarian Chicken Paprikash
- Egyptian Crispy Crusted Dukkah Chicken
- Ca Ri Ga Vietnamese Chicken Curry
- Yum Woon Sen Thai Glass Noodle Salad
- Japanese Ponzu Chicken
- Khai Jiao Thai Ground Chicken Omelet
- Crispy Roast Chicken and Leek Risotto
- Moghrabieh Lebanese Chickpea Chicken Couscous
How To Make Joojeh Kabab Persian Saffron Chicken
Joojeh Kabab Persian Saffron Chicken
- French knife
- measuring cups
- measuring spoons
- Large Mixing Bowl
- Wooden skewers
- BBQ Tongs
- 4 Spanish Onions cut in half and thinly sliced into half moons
- 5 Lemons juiced
- 4 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 tsp Ground Turmeric
- 2 cups Greek Yogurt
- 3 tbsp Kosher Salt
- Pinch Saffron Threads
- 3 tbsp Boiling Water
- 6 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts cut into 2 inch pieces
- Put the onions, lemon juice, olive oil, turmeric, yogurt, and salt into a large mixing bowl and mix well. Using a mortar and pestle, grind the saffron to a powder, then pour over the the boiling water and leave to infuse for 5-10 minutes.
- Add the chicken to the mixing bowl. Mix well to evenly coat the chicken pieces in the yogurt, then add the saffron water to the bowl and mix thoroughly. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave the chicken in the fridge to marinate for at least an hour or overnight.
- Once the chicken has marinated, preheat the barbecue to the highest setting possible.
- Remove each piece of chicken from the marinade and slide onto barbeque skewer. Grill for 18-20 minutes, flipping the skewers half way through. The chicken should be charred but remain moist on the inside.
- Serve with flatbread or basmati rice with a fresh salad and yogurt.
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