What Are Kofta?
Kofta are meatballs that are part of a variety of cuisines in India, North Africa, the Middle East, the Balkans, and Central Asia. The word kofta comes from the Persian koofteh, or ground meat, but these meatballs are also known as Greek kefte, Moroccan kefta, Bulgarian kyutfte, and Turkish köfte. In Middle Eastern cuisine, kofta are often made from ground lamb and shaped around a skewer, kebab-style. Though the traditional method of preparation involves a mortar and pestle, you can make a kofta meat mixture in the food processor, or use ground meat and spices.
What to Serve With Kofta Kebabs
Since kofta kebabs cook quickly, they're a great choice for a weeknight main course. Round out the meal with warm pita bread, naan, or another flatbread for wrapping your kofta kebabs after grilling. Top with Greek tzatziki sauce—a yogurt sauce made with garlic, lemon juice, and fresh mint—and thinly sliced red onion marinated in lemon juice, salt, and sumac. Serve alongside Mediterranean chickpea salad or hummus with rice pilaf, couscous, or bulgur and roasted vegetables.
Lamb Kofta Kebab Recipe
Prep Time15 min
Total Time20 min
Cook Time5 min
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, for grill
- 1 pound ground lamb (or substitute ground beef for beef kofta kebabs)
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup fresh sage leaves, minced (or substitute fresh parsley)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cloves garlic, finely grated or minced
- 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
- If using wooden skewers, soak in water 30 minutes before you plan to cook.
- Make the meat mixture. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients.
- Make the kofta. Roll the meat mixture into 1½-inch meatballs and arrange on a baking sheet. Insert a skewer into each meatball and gently shape the meatball into a thick log around the skewer. Place skewers on baking sheet.
- Prepare an outdoor grill or grill pan by oiling the grates and preheating to medium-high heat or its equivalent. Cook kebabs on grill until brown on both sides and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side.
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