Koftas are mildly spiced grilled patties quite often served on a wooden skewer. They are an ideal light lunch or tasty supper dish, can be served as a starter or part of a Mezze selection. Recipes for Koftas stretch from Greece and Turkey throughout the Middle East and South Asia. The word Kofta comes from the Persian ‘ to mince ‘. They are normally made from finely ground beef or lamb and can be bulked out with rice or bulgar wheat. South Asian koftas can be made from fish. Tzatziki really screams of summer and is an ideal accompaniment to your kebabs alongside a simple oil, lemon and sea salt dressed salad and a couple of lemon wedges. My mouths already watering, and I know what I’m having for supper.
Lamb Kofta Kebabs and Tzatziki
While the list of ingredients at first seems long the recipe is very easy. The amount of salt may seem a little high but it helps binds the meat along with the egg. Coriander and cumin give the kofta a typical Greek flavour, adding the additional spices make the koftas more authentic middle eastern taste. The onion needs to be as finely diced as you can make it so that it mixes in totally and cooks as quickly as the meat when grilling.
For the Kofta kebabs
500g best finely minced Lamb
1 large Onion, peeled and very, very finely chopped
1 tablespoon ground Coriander
½ tablespoon ground Cumin
¼ teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
2 large cloves of Garlic, peeled and crushed to a pulp with a little salt
3 tablespoons freshly chopped Parsley
Salt (about 1 and ½ teaspoons works well)
The extra spice mix
½ teaspoon Cinnamon
½ teaspoon Allspice
¼ teaspoon ground Ginger
For the Tzatziki
3 tablespoons good quality Olive Oil
1 tablespoon White Wine Vinegar
2 large cloves of Garlic, peeled and crushed with a little salt
½ teaspoon fine Sea Salt
¼ teaspoon ground White Pepper
300ml thick Sour Cream or Greek Yoghurt
2 Cucumbers, peeled, seeded and diced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh Dill or Mint
To make the koftas you can simply mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl. However, the flavours come out and blend together better if the spices are heated in a heavy bottomed frying pan, in about a tablespoon of olive oil. Cook for about 2 minutes over a moderate heat or until it sizzles and bubbles but does not burn. Shape on to skewers around 8 to 10 cm long and 2 to 3 cm in diameter. Grill or bake on a moderate heat.
For the dip combine olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Mix until well combined. Using a whisk, blend the olive oil with the sour cream and mix well. Finally, add the cucumber and chopped fresh dill or mint. Chill for at least two hours before serving.