½ teaspoon saffron threads
1.2kg chicken nibbles
1 onion, grated
4 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
4 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tomatoes, finely chopped
100g butter

Mosen, our driver in Iran, has also owned restaurants and is passionate about food. He gave me his special chicken kebab recipe which I have recreated here. He always uses bone-in leg and thigh pieces, but I have used nibbles for ease; you could use boneless thigh, just cook for a shorter time.


1.Put the saffron in a small mortar and pestle and grind to a fine powder.
2.Put the chicken nibbles in a bowl and add half the saffron along with the grated onion, lime juice, salt and pepper.
3.Mix well and leave to marinate for 2 hours at room temperature or preferably overnight in the fridge, turning occasionally.
4.Heat the barbecue to hot.
5.Put the remaining saffron in a small cup and pour over 50ml of nearly boiling water.
6.Cover with a saucer and leave to steep for 15 minutes.
7.Put the tomato paste and tomato in a small saucepan over a medium heat and cook for about 5 minutes until the fresh tomato has broken down.
8.Remove the chicken from the marinade and thread onto metal skewers.
9.Add the marinade juice to the tomato and bring to the boil.
10.Add the saffron and mix, then stir in the butter until melted.
11.Cook the skewers over the hot barbecue for about 15 minutes, turning occasionally until the chicken is cooked through.
12.A minute before you take them off, brush or spoon over some of the tomato to coat the chicken and grill for a further minute.
13.Set aside to rest for 5 minutes.
14.Serve the kebabs with the remaining hot tomato sauce.

Recipes & food styling Fiona Smith / Photography Aaron McLean / Styling Jessica Hemmings

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