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Middle Eastern Kofta Kebabs Recipe

Middle Eastern Kofta Kebabs Recipe

Kofta is a popular Arabic dish, with origins throughout the Middle Eastern region in Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, Iran, and other countries. Kofta kebabs can be found in other cultural cuisine as well. 

Kofta is sometimes referred to as kebabs or even meatballs, depending on the specific recipe or even the cultural origins that influenced the favor of the particular dish. 

What is kofta? 

Kofta is typically a ground meat mixture with a variety of spices and fresh herbs and often other ingredients such as egg, rice or vegetables. Historically, early recipes called for ground lamb, but the protein can vary and can include beef, goat or a combination of ground meat. Kofta is usually cooked on skewers over an open grill.

The word kofta means pounded meat. Depending on the region of the world, the way the word is pronounced or written may vary kofta, kofte, kufta, cufte, etc.

Grilled Goat Kofta Kabob with Yogurt Sauce 

Enjoy the bold Middle Eastern flavors of this popular dish featuring ground goat as traditional kebabs on skewers grilled or in the form of a kofta sandwich or wrap, or even make kofta burgers with the meat mixture. This particular recipe takes a unique twist by incorporating foraged ramps.

This recipe can also be adapted to make lamb kofta kebabs or even goat with beef kofta. 

Yield: 8 kebabs 

Serving:

Ingredients

Kofta meat:

  • 1# ground goat meat (substitution options below)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 7-8 medium ramps, minced (when available) or green onions
  • ½ C minced parsley
  • ½ C minced cilantro 
  • ½ C minced yellow onion
  • 1 T salt
  • 1 T ground coriander
  • 1 T smoked paprika
  • 1 T ground cumin
  • 1 t. ground cinnamon
  • ½ t. cayenne pepper
  • Packed ¼ C feta cheese
  • 2 T olive oil

Yogurt sauce:

  • 1 C plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 t ground Cumin
  • Pinch salt 
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Lettuce

Directions

  1. Soak your wooden skewers in water.
  2. Mix the seasonings (parsley, cilantro, salt, coriander, paprika, cumin, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper) in a small bowl.
  3. Thoroughly combine ground goat meat with the spice blend and the other kofta ingredients in a medium bowl.
  4. Cover with saran wrap and allow flavors to marry for 30 minutes. 
  5. Make your yogurt sauce by simply combining all ingredients in a small bowl.
  6. Build your skewers by taking a heaping ½ cup of the ground meat mixture and pressing it around a wooden skewer by forming a fist in your hand.
  7. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
  8. Place kofta skewers on the preheated grill, rotating as the sides start to char, about 3-6 minutes. Using an instant-read thermometer, the goat kebobs should be done at an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
  9. Enjoy kofta with yogurt sauce, flatbread, tomatoes, and lettuce.

Equipment needed

  • Wooden skewers or metal skewers 
  • Gas grill or charcoal grill
  • Meat thermometer

​Side Dish Suggestions

  • Flatbread
  • Warm pita bread 
  • Tossed Salad 

​Recipe Adaptations

This kofta recipe can also be used in these other variations:

 

Kofta Burger

To make a kofta burger:

  • Instead of placing ground meat mixture on skewers, form four burger patties
  • Place the kofta burgers on a preheated grill at medium-high heat
  • Grill until slightly charred with an internal temperature of 150 degrees
  • Pull the burgers and let rest for a few minutes before serving
  • Serve the kofta burger with yogurt sauce, lettuce and tomato on a bun

Kofta Sandwich

To make a kofta sandwich:

  • Follow the recipe and directions for the kofta kebobs above
  • When done grilling, take the grilled meat off the skewer and place on flatbread, pita, or two slices of bread to make a sandwich
  • Top with yogurt or tzatziki sauce, along with lettuce, sliced onions, and tomatoes 

Kofta Wrap

To make a kofta wrap:

  • Follow the recipe and directions for the kofta kebobs above
  • When done grilling, take the grilled meat off the skewer and place on a wrap
  • Top with yogurt or tzatziki sauce, along with lettuce, sliced onions, and tomatoes 

Substitutions 

Ground goat meat can be easily substituted with:

  • A mixture of ground beef with ground goat meat
  • Ground beef for beef kofta kebabs
  • Ground lamb for lamb koftas
  • Ground chicken for chicken kofta kebobs

The yogurt sauce can be substituted with a tzatziki sauce for a more Greek-inspired flavor

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