Grilled meat (Kebab)
In the testimonies of the European explorers who traveled to Iran in the Safavid era (1500-1736), there are no hints of the kabab chelo as it is understood today, despite being rich in details and information on the various types of chelo and polo, stews and pickles. Most probably the recipe was passed on to the Iranians by the Caucasian populations: The spit-roasted meats consumed in previous regions in these regions are, in fact, quite similar to the kabab chelo, now popular in Iran in its various types: kabab and barg, soltans or kubideh.
History and legend mix on the account of Nasser and Din Shah (1821-1900) and trace the appearance of the kabab (lit .: brace, toasted) as it is understood today in the diet of the Iranians of his time. It is said that the sovereign, moving on occasions of journeys or pilgrimages that with his servants and eunuchs formed a following of a thousand people, has made famous and highly requested by the ladies the meals based on marinated meat and roasted on the grill in the air open, served with fresh herbs and onions on large copper plates. In a short time these dishes gained great popularity among the Iranians of every social stratum for their delicacy. The technique of preparing and marinating the meat was increasingly refined and the kebab served with steamed white rice soon became, along with the abgusht, the most famous Iranian dish known in the Middle East.
"Nayeb", the first chelo kabab restaurant in Iran, was inaugurated in Tehran, in the heart of the Grand Bazaar in the 1870; since then in all the small and large cities of the country small and large restaurants have sprung up where the kebab can be enjoyed at the table or ordered and taken away wrapped in sheets of warm bread, often freshly baked by the special ovens inside the restaurant.
The chelo kabab, considered the national dish in Iran, is perhaps the one that indiscriminately pleases the most. Unmissable on the table of holidays, in banquets, during the picnic, there is no Iranian restaurant that does not propose at least two types (beef or lamb and chicken or cockerel). Some restaurants, among other things very popular, are specialized in the preparation of this unique dish and in its many variations is the only item on the menu of these very popular places where you can taste the kabab and kubideh (skewers of minced meat and onion) , kabab and barg (fillet skewers) or soltani (the combination of the first two), accompanied by lavash bread, yogurt, fresh aromatic herbs and pickles.
For an excellent kebab it is necessary that the meat is of good quality, lean and tender if you need to cook kabab and barg and half-fat for the kabab kubideh; don't forget to let it marinate as much as possible before cooking it and not keeping it on the fire for a long time, otherwise it will dry out too much. Its ideal complement is the traditional grilled tomatoes and a good chelo rice. Serve on the table by offering some butter to add to the rice and the somoq (sumac) to add to taste on the meat. In Iran the skewers on which the meat is put and put on the embers are in steel, about 50 cm long, and have different thicknesses depending on the type of meat for which they must be used. For the meat cut into small bites, the narrower skewers (max 3 mm) are preferable; for the meat cut into strips the wider ones (6 mm) are indicated; for the kabab and kubideh, on the other hand, the flat and wide 2 cm are useful, since the ground meat remains more firmly around it.