Joojeh Kebab - Your Next Lunchbox/Party Dish!

by - November 23, 2014

Have you noticed how easily we get offended these days? A friend posts a photo or a status update about something we don’t agree with, we get upset easily. Someone forgets the punctuation we see grammar police come up with yet another ‘your grammar is poor’ meme at lightning speed. A home cook announces that she is baking xyz when in fact its called abc, other home cooks tweet, its ABC not XYZ! Man, we put a lot of pressure on others to be perfect. All the time.

I feel, and this is my personal opinion of course, by putting pressure on our peers to be perfect at everything, we are indirectly putting pressure on ourselves to be perfect. We cannot judge others on something unless we are good at it as well, right? I wonder why we are becoming less and less tolerant of beginners, of people who are still learning or simple human errors. What has made us all such an expert at everything? 

Joojeh Kebabs (Adapted from Ariana Bundy's cookbook 'Pomegranates and Roses')

Moving on to the recipe, Joojeh Kebab is a staple lunchbox and party dish. I've cooked this dish so many times and I am surprised it took me so long to share the recipe here. 

Why is it our favorite? For one, it's very simple and easy to put together. Two, it's healthy and wholesome. Three, it's colorful and pleasing to the eyes. Four, it comes on a stick which for some reason is a sure fire way to get children to eat them. Five, and the most important, the marinade leaves the chicken cubes juicy and succulent. The aroma and flavors of grated onions, yogurt and saffron work well together and leave you asking for more. 

I found that seasoning the vegetables and leaving them aside for a while before threading them on skewers brought out their flavors and took the dish to a different level altogether. 

What you will need:
About 500 grams boneless chicken cubes 
1 medium sized onion grated
1 cup of yoghurt
A pinch of saffron threads 
A generous pinch of ground turmeric (optional)
Juice of half a lemon
Ground black pepper, salt and olive oil – go with your instinct and use how much you feel necessary
About 50 grams ghee (optional)
Couple of peppers, use different colours
Couple of marrows or few cherry tomatoes (or any other suitable vegetable)
Ground black pepper, salt and olive oil – go with your instinct and use how much you feel necessary
Juice of half a lemon

How to:
Crush the saffron threads and add few tablespoons of warm water. Keep aside for sometime.
In a bowl, grate the onion and mix yogurt, olive oil, saffron liquid, turmeric, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Add chicken cubes and rub the meat with the marinade.
Cover and leave in the fridge for a minimum of four hours or over night. You can leave it upto two days.
Cut the vegetables in cubes/circles - about an inch in size. Put them in a plastic container and add olive oil with lemon juice. Sprinkle salt and black pepper. Close the lid and shake well. Leave in the fridge for a minimum of half an hour.
Thread the chicken and vegetables on skewers and grill. If you are using wooden skewers, make sure you soak them in water for at least thirty minutes. This will prevent them from burning. I've used toothpicks as skewers and they made good looking appetizer at a party. 
Heat the grill to highest temperature possible and place the skewers on it. I use the grill setting in my convection oven.
Cooking time will depend on the size of the chicken, vegetables and strength of your grill. It doesn't take very long though. About eight to ten minutes each side. 
You could add melted ghee to the left over marinade and use as basting sauce. Baste occasionally. 
Once cooked, serve with rice or bread. 

The dipping sauce seen in the picture is simply a blend of mango, avocado, green chilli, coriander and mint leaves with a pinch of salt. The photographs were taken during summer when mangoes were in season. 

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  1. I have some saffron that I could use to make these! Thanks so much for the recipe!


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