Monday, March 28, 2011

#92 Iranian Style Koobideh Kababs with Black Bean, Beets and Banana Flower

 Kababs are always welcomed on my dinner table -- they should come with a warning sign as they tend to be very addictive. Persian gatherings almost always have an assortment of Kabab meats cooked on skewers over coals and laid upon flat bread for retaining the moisture in them. A bed of basmati saffron rice served with  many accompaniments like flatbread, sumac and raw onions to please everyone's palate..

Although "Chelow Kababs" are the national dish of Iran, the Persian Koobideh Kabab is also an authentic minced meat kabab made from ground beef, lamb or chicken mixed with parsley and chopped onions and  a popular favorite. The ingredients are mixed together until they are smooth. One egg is added to help the mix stick together and then pressed around a skewer, then grilled or broiled and served over a bed of basmati saffron rice.

Sometimes accompanied by grilled tomatoes and powdered suman sprinkled over the rice, Kababs are easy to prepare and can be made using just about anything! I am trying to incorporate good veggies into our diet at home, so this is my kabab-e koobideh with black beans, beet and an interesting new addition- banana flower or Mocha- I call it my "BBB Kabab" :). To the right is a picture of the flower that is used extensively all over Asia, because of its wonderful texture, taste and healing properties. I would like to think the texture is almost like ground meat.

Raw Banana Flowers are bitter and have to be prepared in advance. First you remove the outer two or three layers of petals that are darker than the interior.. Holding the flower by the tip, cut off and discard the "root". Then, you can either grate it or chop fine and the juices will stain the surfaces to a dark brown so be careful to chop it onto a disposable wax paper. Then toss into a bowl with salted water and lemon juice and discard the wax paper. Soak for at least an hour and drain out of the water. Rinse thoroughly and then squeeze out all the water just before cooking it.

Banana Flowers have tremendous nutritional value. They are a good source of fiber and protein and contain a class of phytochemicals called "saponins" that lower LDL or bad cholesterol, boost the body's immunity against infection and even considered to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. They have antioxidant properties that reduce our risk of cardiovascular disease. Not only are they an excellent source of Flavanoids, but they also have anti-inflammatory and anti-aging health benefits to enhance the quality of life.

Black beans contain a lot of nutrients needed by the body, such as vitamin K, vitamin C, manganese, vitamin A, dietary fiber, potassium, folate, iron, magnesium, thiamin, riboflavin, copper, calcium, phosphorus, protein, omega-3 fatty acids and niacin. Black beans are also a very rich source of fiber, these nutrients play important role to prevent cholesterol from becoming oxidized and heart disease. What makes them different from other beans/legumes is the color coat of black beans contain at least 8 different flavonoids that have enormous antioxidant potential used to prevent degenerative diseases.

1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
2 onions, chopped fine
Cilantro chopped - 1 cup
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 tspn ginger paste
1 fresh jalapeno peppers, finely diced
1-1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/2 tspn cumin powder
14.5 ounces cooked and drained black beans
salt and black pepper to taste
1 raw banana flower
Beet-1 chopped fine
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs

I am sending this "mocha" recipe as my entry to the event below@

I have also sent the entry to MLLA 33 to Ammalu's Kitchen
 and to Susan at The Well Seasoned Cook

Also sent to the Large "Fast Food-- not Fat Food" event being hosted by Priya of

and Only Fusion also hosted by Priya and Pari of
[Only Fusion[3].png]

1. Grate the banana flower very carefully after removing the dark red outer layers and discarding them. Grate into a pan of water with lemon juice so that there is no discoloration. Squeeze water out and keep aside.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Cook onions until softened, about 1 minute. Stir in grated raw banana flower, ginger, garlic, diced jalapenos, and spice powders; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add 1/2 cup water and cook the grated banana flower until cooked well and no liquid is retained. Cook chopped beets seperately and toss into the banana flower mixture.
3. Transfer contents of skillet to a large bowl. Stir in black beans, and mash with a fork. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix in egg and cilantro. Divide into balls, and roll into cylindrical patties.
4. Roll patties in the Panko bread crumbs. In the oven, set cooking rack about 4 inches from heat source. Set oven to broil. Lightly grease baking sheet with 1 tablespoon oil.
5. Place bean patties on baking sheet, and broil 8 to 10 minutes. Turn cakes over, and broil until crispy, about 3 minutes more. Serve with grilled tomatoes and saffron rice.


  1. We LOVE koobideh but I would have never contemplated a vegetarian version. I love how you've given an old favorite a new twist!

  2. Thanks for sending this delicious and innovative mocha recipe! It is simply brilliant to replace the meat by mocha and surely tastes heavenly!

  3. Dear Malli, This is a wonderful and exotic dish and the presentation is beautiful. I would love to try something like this. Thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment. I am now following your blog. Blessings, Catherine

  4. wow...what a great combo...just loved it !

  5. Well, this is interesting! This is the 1st time I'm seeing Banana Flower :)

  6. Banana flower sounds like such an interesting ingredient! I doubt I could find that in my city :-(

  7. I am happy to have found your blog! This post looks delicious and I love how unique it is! My sister and I were just discussing something similar! Happy to follow your blog! :)

  8. That's an interesting recipe. I just love it.

  9. Hi Malli, thanks for visiting my blog, this way I could discover yours. It is always interesting to learn how to cook with new ingredients...although I wonder where I could fing banana flowers around here...

  10. I may or may not ahve sat here chanting "koobideh" the entire time I was reading this post. It's just such an awesome word! And looks totally delicious too :)

  11. I am always looking forward to comments from my readers, and thank you for all your feedback and kind words...
    For those of you who asked---Banana Flower is available in any Korean or Asian Super Market if you have one in your neighborhood. Where I live, we have quite a few of them and these are piled up in the vegetable section.

  12. This is a very interesting dish... I would love to give it a try! I've never had banana flower ... sounds wonderful!

  13. What a lovely post and fascinating to read about your delicious looking dishes. This is the first time I've even heard or seen a banana flower. everything just looks amazing!

  14. Hi Malli, thanks for visiting my space and for your lovely comments. You too have got a lovely space here. This recipe looks exotic to me. Very different. Am glad to follow you too :-)

  15. Excellent and interesting recipe! I have seen banana flowers all over in Lebanon's banana plantations but did not know they could be edible, for the simple reason that they are not consumed there (to my knowledge); so this is exciting as well. LOve Persian food and your rendition of it.

  16. This looks as weird just as much as it looks delicious! :) Too bad I won't be able to find all the ingredients here in Italy.

  17. Looks yummy and inviting.first time..u have nice recipesGlad to follow u

  18. Lovely Entry Malli Thanks for linking to both events - Look forward to more dear :)

  19. Hi, Malli. Your kebabs look so good, and I'm very intrigued by a banana flower as I have not cooked with it before. Nice to meet another NoVa foodie!


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