Routine getting you down? This is a Middle Eastern take on the classic & boring American hamburger. It’s very similar to the Persian-style kebab, koobideh (koob-ee-deh), but the shape of the patty is slightly different. The meat is so tender it melts in your mouth and the baharat gives the kebab a gorgeous aroma and flavor. If you haven’t tried baharat yet, you really should. I use it in meats and in baked goods and it really just shakes up boring classics.

Kebabs don’t have to just be vegetables topped on top of blocks of meat. In the middle east, kebabs are more often made with ground meat, covered in sauces and jammed between two soft & fluffy folds of pita bread. Adam likes to tease me every time I talk about kebabs because one of my favorite little facts is how shish kebabs got their name. The phrase shish kebab originated with Persian soldiers who would roast animals on their swords over a campfire. Cool, huh?

I’ve made this meal four times in the last two weeks. It’s delicious, kids loves it, too, and it cooks up and comes together fairly quickly. If you don’t have a grill, you could just do them in the broiler.

What you need:

pita bread

this tehina recipe (or Trader Joe’s ready kind, if you’re pressed for time)

2 lbs of ground beef

1 1/2 c flat leaf parsley; chopped (reserve 1/2 for tehina)

1 egg

1/2 tsp turmeric

2 medium onions; grated or whizzed in a food processor (you get the idea–finely, finely chopped)

1 tblsp baharat spice (*if you don’t have time: 1 heaping tsp of cinnamon, a few hard shakes ground ginger, a few hard shakes nutmeg)

salt & pepper to taste but don’t be shy!

For the red sauce:

1 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes

salt & pepper to taste (and again, don’t be shy!)

1 medium sized onion; quartered

1 tsp lemon zest

cayenne pepper and paprika to taste (this will depend on how spicy you like things)

How to do it:

With your hands, combine the meat, parsley, onion, egg and baharat spice. Knead the mixture for about ten minutes. You may notice that the meat will change slightly in color and the consistency will become very sticky. Cover and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to let all the flavors combine. While that’s in the fridge, bring all the ingredients for your tomato sauce to a boil, reduce to low and cover for about 20 minutes.

With wet hands, shape the kebabs onto the skewers. To make a koobideh (Persian kebab) style, make a long, rectangular tube with the meat. Make indentations into the meat with your pinky and place on the grill or run a skewer through it. Or, make oblong-shaped patties and then run the skewer through, as I've done above. I think this is easier that forming the meat around the skewer. Grill on the BBQ or simply make patties like you would hamburgers and place in the broiler for about 12-15 minutes, depending on your grill/broiler.

Take a pita and pour the sauce onto onto it. Place the meat on top of the sauce, fold the pita over, dollop some tehina on top and garnish with some chopped parsley. Enjoy!


2 thoughts on “Baharat-spiced Kebabs with Tehina and Spicy Sauce

  1. andrew says:

    amazing this is what ive been waiting for. thanks. makin it right now!!!! post more delicious meat dishes.

    1. Please let me know how it turns out! Had you in mind when we made this!

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