These lamb kofte (köfte) are an easy mix of lamb, herbs and a few spices. They have just enough seasoning to add that bit of something without taking over from the lamb’s flavor. Serve with salad, in pitta or however you like, they make a delicious meal.
I’ve mentioned more than once that lamb is one of my favorite meats, and my elder son has adopted some of that. He’s a big fan of braised lamb shanks and moussaka, but neither are exactly summer meals. Unfortunately he finds steaks and chops a bit hard to chew, so is less in to things like my Greek marinated lamb (though all the more for us!), but I’ve been playing around with other options.
These kofte were something we all enjoyed and they’re easy to make too.
What are kofte?
Kofte (köfte in Turkish, also spelt kofta in other places) are something you’ll find in many countries around the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East. Broadly-speaking they are a kind of burger or meatball. They come in many different forms, some highly spiced, others loaded with herbs and/or dried fruits, while others have very light seasoning. Lamb is probably the most common meat used, but they are also made with beef or veal.
How to make these lamb kofte
This version is most like Turkish šiš köfte (shish kofte – ‘meatballs on a stick’), both in shape and flavors. It uses relatively minimal seasoning so there’s still plenty of lamb flavor in there. Apart from grating the onion and mixing everything up, there is very little preparation work. A couple tips:
- You really need to get your hands in there to mix up the meat, herbs and spices so everything is mixed well. However hard you try, with a spoon you’ll get some bits with lots of spice and others with none.
- Leave the kofte to rest in the fridge a good 15-20 minutes before you cook them. This helps them firm up and hold together better when they cook.
- Adjust the seasoning to taste – these are the kind of thing where you’ll have your own preference, so increase or decrease the herbs, garlic, coriander and cinnamon as you prefer. Add some cumin, chili or paprika if you like as well.
Lamb kofte are probably best known to be served kebab-style in pita or a bread wrap with some cacik (as with my Persian marinated fish), red onion, tomato and parsley. However we actually had them with some cacik on the side and a big pile of tabbouleh which was delicious.
These lamb kofte are easy to make, cook up quickly and are full of delicious flavor. They’re versatile in how you serve them so that they work for those that are lower carb, gluten free etc. So make a batch and enjoy!
These lamb kofte (köfte) have just the right balance of seasoning and lamb flavor. Easy and tasty.
- 1/2 onion grated
- 2 cloves garlic crushed/finely grated
- 2 tbsp mint finely chopped
- 2 tbsp parsley finely chopped
- 1 lb ground lamb 450g lamb mince
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 egg
Soak 4 wooden skewers a little ahead of time, if using, or use metal skewers.
Grate the onion, grate or crush the garlic and finely chop the mint and parsley (note quantity is after chopping).
Put all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix well - I'd recommend using your hands and really knead the mixture kind of squeezing it to get all the ingredients well mixed.
Divide the mixture in to four and press each quarter into a sausage shape (it doesn't have to be as long as you will want yet). Push each sausage shaped kofte on to a skewer and spread it along the skewer a bit so it thins out a little more. Put the kofte on a tray or plate and refrigerate for around 20 minutes or so to firm up a little.
Heat the grill to a medium heat and cook the kofte a few minutes each side until lightly charred and the meat is cooked through. Alternatively, you can cook them under a broiler (grill).
I recommend serving with some cacik (similar to tzatziki) to cut through the richness of the meat. You can add both to a pita/wrap, along with some tomato, onion and herbs. Alternative works well with salads like tabbouleh.
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