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Kofta has ground meat such as lamb or beef, flavored with a generous amount of spices and fresh herbs, then cooked to perfection on the grill.
What is Kofta?
Kofta is a super flavorful Mediterranean dish made with ground meat, fresh herbs, and a generous amount of spices.
The word kofta (or sometimes kefta or koofteh) has Persian roots translating to “pounded meat” in Farsi, or the word koftan, which means “to grind, break, beat.”
Depending on the Mediterranean region, kofta recipes vary greatly. Some are made with beef, pork, lamb, or chicken, or a mix of several meats – and even sometimes fish, shrimp or vegetables. Other variations include ground nuts and dried fruit.
The spices and fresh herbs can vary as well, but cinnamon and/or cardamom, allspice, coriander, black pepper, cloves, nutmeg, and cumin are some commonly used options. Fresh mint, parsley, and garlic are also key flavors in the meat mixture.
Kofta are then formed into football-shaped patties or meatballs, then grilled – often on skewers.
Why You’ll Love Kofta
- It’s a great way to add some delicious variety to your summer cookouts!
- The flavors are incredible – especially if you are a fan of bold flavors.
- This recipe is quick and easy to make – and you can mix it up ahead of time so the meat is ready to grill when you are ready to cook.
“…LOVED IT! Thanks for this!” – Soigne
Key Ingredients and Substitutions
- Ground Lamb – Our recipe today is made with ground lamb, but feel free to swap in ground beef, veal, pork or chicken for all, or some, of the lamb. The lamb, however, is uniquely delicious and a nice change of pace!
- Garam Masala – This is an Indian-inspired blend of spices that really complements the lamb quite well. (See our note below about using this spice.)
- Fresh Garlic
- Red Onion
- Fresh Herbs – Including flat-leaf parsley and mint.
- Fresh Ginger – We don’t recommend swapping in dried ground ginger. The flavors won’t be quite the same.
- For Serving (optional) – Tzatziki (a creamy, delicious sauce), flatbread or pita, shredded lettuce and diced tomatoes.
A note about Garam Masala
It’s worth noting here that using garam masala is a little unconventional when it comes to kofta recipes. But, as we researched all of the different kofta spice variations across recipes – a similar blend of spices found in garam masala is often used – so we took a shortcut for convenience, especially since we had the spice blend already on hand.
Watch the video in the recipe card below to see how we make this easy Kofta recipe!
How do I make Kofta?
- Soak wooden skewers in a pan of water for at least two hours. (You can skip this step if you are using metal skewers).
- Pre-heat your grill to a medium heat.
- Combine the herbs, spices, and aromatic vegetables together.
- Add the lamb to the spice mixture and mix just enough to combine – but don’t overwork the mixture.
- Form the meat mixture into football-shaped patties.
- Insert two skewers side-by-side into each patty. (Two skewers makes it easier to flip on the grill.)
- Grill until cooked inside.
- Serve on flatbread with lettuce and tomatoes, and a drizzle of Tzatziki. Or serve on a plate with rice and vegetables.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How far in advance can I make the patties? Any ground meat is susceptible to bacteria, especially when you start adding in other ingredients to the mixture. We suggest forming the patties earlier in the day that you plan to cook, but no earlier than that. Refrigerate immediately after making the patties.
- Can I insert the skewers ahead of time? If you are using metal skewers, yes. But, if you are using wooden skewers – no. Wooden skewers need to soak in water for a few hours before grilling, to prevent them from burning on the grill. Form the patties and refrigerate, while you soak the skewers. Just before grilling, insert the skewers.
This Kofta recipe was originally posted on A Family Feast in 2016. We’ve updated the post with more helpful information, but the delicious recipe remains the same.
Click here for more delicious Summer Cookout recipes!
- 14 wooden skewers
- 2 tablespoons finely minced garlic
- 1/4 cup red onion shredded on large holes of box grater and squeezed of all liquid
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley minced
- 1/4 cup fresh mint minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger grated
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons Garam Masala
- 1 pound ground lamb
- Greek flat bread (sold in bread section of supermarkets) or see our Gluten Free Flat Bread recipe here
- Shredded lettuce
- Diced tomato
- Tzatziki sauce, see here
- Soak skewers in water for two hours or longer.
- If using an outdoor grill, heat to medium heat. Or use a ribbed grill pan on your stove.
- In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients except lamb until combined. Then add lamb and mix just enough to combine without over working the meat.
- Form into seven oval shaped patties.
- Place two skewers side by side into each. (Two makes it easy to flip on grill).
- Grill over medium heat flipping halfway through to a nicely seared exterior and cooked to your liking on the inside. We cooked ours to medium which took about 12-15 minutes.
- To serve, place one or two patties on open flat bread and top with shredded lettuce, chopped tomato and a generous drizzle of Tzatziki.
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