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Saffron Chicken Kebab

Transport yourself to the vibrant flavours of Persian cuisine with Saffron Chicken Kebab. These succulent chicken skewers are marinated in a luscious blend of yoghurt, saffron, and aromatic spices, resulting in a dish that is both tender and bursting with flavour.

The key ingredient in this recipe is saffron, a prized spice known for its vibrant golden colour and delicate floral notes and it is combined with full-fat yoghurt, lemon juice, olive oil, and a blend of spices, including turmeric and pepper, the marinade infuses the chicken breast pieces with a delightful combination of tangy, savoury, and aromatic flavours. The yoghurt helps tenderise the chicken, resulting in juicy and tender kebabs.

As the chicken marinates, the flavours deepen and meld together, creating a harmony of taste. After 30 minutes of marinating, it’s time to prepare the grill. Whether using a charcoal or gas grill, ensure it is heated to medium-hot or medium-high temperature, respectively. Skewer the marinated chicken, alternating with slices of red onion, for added flavour and texture.

Grill the skewers, turning them every couple of minutes, until the chicken is tender and buttery with a slightly charred exterior. This process takes around 10 minutes in total, resulting in perfectly cooked kebabs that are juicy and infused with the flavours of the marinade.

To complete the meal, serve the Saffron Chicken Kebabs with Persian Rice, Persian-style cabbage salad and or your favourite borani. The cabbage salad showcases fresh and crisp cabbage tossed with a variety of herbs, seasonings, and perhaps a tangy vinaigrette. The borani, a yoghurt-based dip or spread, adds a creamy and cooling element to the dish, complementing the flavours of the kebabs.

This combination of Saffron Chicken Kebab, Persian-style cabbage salad, and borani creates a harmonious and well-rounded meal. The tender and flavourful kebabs paired with the refreshing salad and creamy dip offer a delightful balance of textures and tastes.

So, embark on a culinary journey and savour the exquisite flavours of Saffron Chicken Kebab. Immerse yourself in the richness of Persian cuisine, relishing each tender bite and savouring the unique blend of spices. With the accompaniment of the vibrant cabbage salad and creamy borani, this meal is sure to transport you to the enchanting world of Persian culinary traditions.

Basic Ingredients for Saffron Chicken Kebab


Chicken Breast: Chicken breast is the main protein source in this recipe. It is lean and versatile, making it perfect for grilling—the tender and juicy chicken breast pairs well with the flavorful marinade.

Full-Fat Yoghurt: Full-fat yoghurt serves as the base of the marinade, adding a creamy and tangy element. It helps tenderise the chicken and infuses it with moisture and flavour.

Red Onion: Sliced red onion is added to the marinade, providing a mild and slightly sweet onion flavour. It also adds texture and complements the other ingredients.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Olive oil adds richness and a smooth mouthfeel to the marinade. It also helps prevent the chicken from sticking to the grill and enhances its flavour.

Lemon Juice: Lemon juice brings a bright and citrusy note to the marinade, adding a refreshing tang. It helps tenderise the chicken and balances the flavours of the other ingredients.

Saffron: Saffron is a prized spice known for its distinct aroma, rich golden colour, and delicate floral flavour. It adds an exquisite and unique element to the marinade, infusing the chicken with a hint of luxury.

Salt, Turmeric Powder, and Pepper: These spices provide a well-rounded flavour profile to the marinade, enhancing the taste of the chicken and harmonising with the other ingredients. Salt enhances the natural flavours, while turmeric adds a warm and earthy note. Pepper brings a subtle heat and depth to the marinade.

Saffron Chicken Kabab ingredients

alternative ingredients

Chicken Thighs: If you prefer darker meat or want a juicier result, you can substitute chicken thighs for chicken breast. They have more fat content, which adds richness and flavour.

Greek Yogurt or Sour Cream: If full-fat yoghurt is not available, you can use Greek yoghurt or sour cream as an alternative. They provide a similar tangy and creamy effect in the marinade.

Preparation Tips for Saffron Chicken Kebab

  • Make sure to cut the chicken breast into evenly sized 1-inch pieces for even cooking and consistent texture.
  • Allow the chicken to marinate for at least 30 minutes or longer for the flavours to develop and penetrate the meat. You can refrigerate it during the marinating process.
  • Soak the skewers for 30 minutes or more in water, this ensures that they don’t burn when grilling the skewers.

Serving Tips for Saffron Chicken Kebab

  • Serve the Saffron Chicken Kebabs hot off the grill for the best flavour and texture.
  • Accompany the kebabs with Persian-style cabbage salad, which features fresh and crisp cabbage, along with a variety of herbs and seasonings. It adds a refreshing and crunchy element to the meal.
  • Pair the kebabs with your favourite borani, a creamy yoghurt-based dip or spread. Borani choices can include cucumber and mint, spinach, or beetroot. These provide a cooling contrast to the flavorful kebabs.

storage tips

  • Leftover cooked chicken kebabs can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Reheat gently in a pan or microwave before serving.
  • If you have leftover marinade, discard it, as it has come into contact with raw chicken.
  • It is not recommended to freeze cooked chicken kebabs, as the texture may change upon thawing.

Saffron Chicken Kebab

Servings: 4 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Resting Time: 30 minutes


  • 500 g chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ½ cup whole fat yoghurt
  • 1 red onion, cut into slices
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • pinch ground saffron
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • tsp pepper


  • Soak the skewers: If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for about 20-30 minutes to prevent them from burning during cooking.
  • Prepare the marinade: In a bowl, combine the yoghurt, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, ground saffron, salt, turmeric powder, and pepper. Mix well until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
  • Marinate the chicken: Place the chicken breast pieces in a shallow dish or a resealable plastic bag. Pour the marinade over the chicken and toss to coat the pieces evenly. Cover the dish or seal the bag, and let the chicken marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or overnight for more intense flavor.
  • Skewer the chicken: Preheat your grill, chargrill, or oven according to your preferred cooking method:
    a. For grilling: Preheat a charcoal grill until the coals are ashed over or heat a gas grill to medium-high heat.
    b. For chargrilling: Preheat a chargrill or grill pan over medium-high heat.
    c. For roasting: Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
  • Remove the chicken from the marinade, allowing any excess marinade to drip off. Thread the marinated chicken pieces onto the soaked skewers, alternating with slices of red onion for added flavour and colour.
  • Cooking Methods:
    a. Grilling: Place the skewers directly on the grill grates and cook, turning them occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and has reached an internal temperature of 74 degrees Celsius. This typically takes about 12-15 minutes.
    b. Chargrilling: Place the skewers on the preheated chargrill or grill pan. Cook, turning occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and has reached an internal temperature of 74 degrees Celsius. This usually takes about 10-12 minutes.
    c. Roasting: Place the skewers on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or lightly greased. Roast in the preheated oven for about 15-18 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and has reached an internal temperature of 74 degrees Celsius.
  • Serve: Once the chicken is cooked to perfection, remove the skewers from the heat source. Let them rest for a few minutes to allow the juices to redistribute. Serve the saffron chicken skewers hot with your choice of accompaniments like rice, salad, or pita bread.

Alternative Cooking Method

  • Instead of grilling, chargrilling, or roasting, you can also cook the skewers on a stovetop grill pan or even under a broiler in your oven. Adjust the cooking times accordingly to ensure the chicken is cooked through.

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