Persian pan kebabs with saffron rice
Known as kabab tabei, these simple kebabs are a gift to simple home cooking. Served with saffron rice and a simple salad, it’s an easy and delicious meal.
300g basmati rice, rinsed
500g beef mince
1 onion, coarsely grated
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cardamom
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp saffron, soaked in ½ cup water
½ iceberg lettuce, finely shredded
3 tomatoes, cut into irregular-sized pieces
1 cup parsley leaves, finely shredded
Greek-style yoghurt, to serve
salt and pepper, to season
1. Place the rice in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Add ½ teaspoon salt and set aside for 30 minutes to soak.
2. Combine the beef, onion, spices and ½ teaspoon salt in a bowl until very well combined. Set aside for at least 15 minutes to marinate.
3. Place the saucepan with the rice over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer for five minutes, then drain the rice and return the par-cooked rice to the pan. Stir through the saffron and soaking liquid and one tablespoon oil to combine, then cover with a lid. Place over low heat for five minutes, then turn off the heat and stand for 10 minutes, covered.
4. Add the remaining oil to a large, preferably non-stick frying pan and swirl to coat the base of the pan. Press the meat mixture into the pan to cover the base evenly. Place the pan over medium heat. Cook the kebab mixture for five minutes or until golden on the underside. Using a spatula, make cuts into the kebab mixture to separate the mixture into 5cm strips. Carefully, turn over each strip and cook for a further five minutes on the other side or until browned and cooked through.
5. Combine the tomatoes, lettuce and parsley in a bowl and season to taste with salt. Serve the kebabs with the saffron rice, salad and a dollop of yoghurt seasoned with salt and pepper.
Pork menchi katsu with apple katsu sauce. Photo: William Meppem
Pork menchi katsu with apple katsu sauce
Usually a mixture of pork and beef, the “menchi katsu” is cousin to Japan’s popular tonkatsu (breaded pork cutlet). This version uses chunks of pork belly to give it a decadent texture and is served with a unique apple katsu sauce.
2½ cups panko breadcrumbs
½ cup chicken stock or milk
300g pork belly, skinless and boneless
500g pork mince
1 large onion, peeled and grated
½ tsp salt
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1½ cups plain flour
2 litre vegetable oil, for shallow frying
4 cups very finely shredded cabbage, to serve
Apple katsu sauce
1 small brown onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
2 tbsp castor sugar
juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
½ cup tomato sauce
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp English mustard
1. For the apple katsu sauce, heat the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and fry the onions until softened. Add the apples, sugar, lemon juice and vinegar and simmer for about 10 minutes until the apples are softened. Add the tomato sauce, worcestershire sauce, soy sauce and mustard and stir to combine. Puree with a stick blender to a smooth sauce, adjust for seasoning, and set aside.
2. For the katsu, combine a half cup of the panko crumbs with the stock or milk and set aside to soften for five minutes. With a cleaver or heavy knife, roughly mince the pork belly and combine with the pork mince, soaked panko mixture, onion and salt and mix to combine. Form into four oval-shaped patties and refrigerate for 10 minutes to firm.
3. Put the egg, flour and remaining panko into separate shallow bowls for dredging. Coat each patty in egg, then flour, then egg again, and finally panko crumbs. Refrigerate for a further 10 minutes to firm.
4. Heat the oil in a large saucepan to 175C. Deep-fry the katsus for around eight minutes until golden brown and cooked through. Drain on a wire rack and serve with the shredded cabbage and apple katsu sauce.