Skip to Content

Kabab torsh with salad Shirazi & charred onion yogurt

Leyli Homayoonfar

Barbecued beef kababs inspired by the flavours of northern Iran 

Recipe Meta


30 mins + marinating


10 mins






For the kabab torsh

  • 500g ribeye or sirloin steak, cut into 4cm cubes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1 white onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 25g walnuts
  • 3 sprigs of mint, leaves only
  • 25g parsley, roughly chopped
  • 25g basil, roughly chopped
  • A large pinch of sea salt

For the salad Shirazi

  • 3-4 heritage tomatoes (mix of red, green and yellow), diced
  • ¼ cucumber, deseeded and diced
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and diced
  • 3 sprigs of mint, leaves only, finely chopped
  • 25g parsley, finely chopped
  • 25g coriander, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate seeds
  • 1 tsp sumac
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

For the charred onion yogurt

  • 2 onions, peeled, halved and charred
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 100g thick Greek yoghurt
  • A large pinch of sea salt
  • 2-3 sprigs of parsley, leaves only, finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil


Prepare the meat for the kabab torsh in advance – ideally the day before. Using a sharp knife, cut the beef into 3-6cm pieces, then transfer to a large mixing bowl. Place the remaining ingredients for the kabab torsh into a food processor and blitz into a creamy paste. Add the paste to the beef and mix well, ensuring the meat is well coated. Cover and refrigerate for 1-24 hours (the longer the wait, the better the flavour and tenderness of the meat once cooked).

To make the salad, place the tomato, cucumber, red onion, pomegranate and herbs in a small bowl and mix together. Stir in the sumac, lemon juice and olive oil, and season to taste. Cover and leave in the fridge until required.

Prepare your barbecue using lumpwood charcoal, burning the coals until white. Using tongs, spread out the coals so the heat is even. Place the grill over the heat for a few minutes to get it really hot and stop the meat from sticking.

Remove the meat from the fridge and scrape off any excess marinade. Using metal or wooden skewers (make sure you soak wooden skewers in water for a few minutes to prevent them burning), thread each skewer through 4-5 pieces of meat, ensuring there is a gap at the top and the bottom of each cube. Place on a tray or plate and let the kababs come up to room temperature by setting them aside for 30 mins.

Before cooking the meat, place the onion halves onto the grill and cook until nicely charred all over. Remove from the grill and place in a food processor along with a clove of garlic. Blend until smooth and transfer into a small bowl. Add the yoghurt and a good pinch of sea salt and mix well. Cover and leave in the fridge until required.

Arrange the skewered meat on the hot grill, cooking for 1-2 mins on each side, flipping over using tongs until lightly charred with a golden crust all over. Remove from the barbecue and place on a tray to rest. Squeeze over the remaining ½ lemon, a glug of extra virgin olive oil and a good pinch of sea salt.

Serve with flatbreads and/or saffron buttered rice, along with the burnt onion yoghurt and salad Shirazi.

Images: Rachel Phipps