I made kabab tabei (beef patties) in tomato sauce for dinner a couple of nights ago. The day had been long and kind of crazy at work and I needed something really comforting. And comfort it was! The patties were so easy to make it took me about an hour to clear the dishes from breakfast, cook the patties and the rice and set the table.
Kabab tabei means “kebab in a pan”. It’s usually accompanied with fried tomatoes and plain buttered rice sprinkled with sumac. Most people make them with minced lamb or a mixture of lamb and beef.
I like to use lean beef mince only and to cook the patties in tomato sauce after frying them in the pan for extra flavour and moister patties. I also add a bit of Spanish sweet smoked paprika, my favourite non-Persian spice to my kabab tabei. I’ve written a little about smoked paprika before in the post titled Warm Barley, Chickpea, Nuts and Dried Fruit Salad.
Now a little bit about sumac in case anybody wants to know what this curious Middle Eastern spice is and where it comes from. Sumac is sold in the form of a grainy, brown to deep reddish-purple powder and has a tangy, lemony flavour.
Sumac comes from a certain type of sumac bush with clusters of edible hard berry-like fruit. The plant is different from ornamental sumac usually found in gardens. Only a couple of years ago it was really hard to find sumac in the UK anywhere other than some Middle Eastern and Iranian groceries but big supermarkets have begun supplying the spice recently.
The rice recipe below calls for sprinkling sumac on layers of rice before steaming it. Give it a try, this way a little sumac goes a long way and the rice tastes fabulous.
To make kabab tabei and rice to serve four people you will need:
For the patties:
For the rice