Kofta Kebabs – Middle Eastern Comfort Food

Courtesy of Karla Dudley.

The Middle East boasts kebabs of all sorts, but this recipe is specifically about kofta kebab. The word kofta is derived from Persian kūfta: In Persian, کوفتن (kuftan) means “to beat” or “to grind”. You can have meat, seafood or even a vegetarian kofta, but this kofta kebab recipe is one of the more popular dishes in Egypt, a mixture of ground beef and lamb blended with onions, garlic, parsley and a few Middle Eastern spices. Kofta (also spelled kufteh or koofteh) is by far one of the most popular traditional foods. Not only is it an instant comfort food, but it also yields a rich history in Middle Eastern cuisine. The kebabs cook quickly, are easy to prepare and pack a lot of flavour on a little stick.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium yellow onion, quartered
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 large bunch parsley, stems removed (about 2 packed cups parsley leaves)
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 lb ground lamb
  • 1 slice of white bread, toasted until browned and soaked in water until fully tender
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/1/2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp ground sumac
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • Pita bread

Fixings:

  • Tahini Sauce
  • Tomato wedges
  • White or sweet onion wedges
  • Additional bunch of parsley

Instructions:

  1. Soak 10 wooden skewers in water for about 1 hour. Lightly oil a gas grill and preheat it to medium high.
  2. Cut tomato and onion wedges and chop parsley – set aside.
  3. In a food processor, chop the yellow onion, garlic, and parsley.
  4. Add the beef, lamb, bread (be sure to squeeze out the water completely), and the spices. Process until all is well combined forming a pasty meat mixture.
  5. Remove the meat mixture from the food processor and place in a large bowl. With damp hands take a fistful portion of the meat mixture and mold it on a wooden skewer. For best results, make sure each kofta kebab is about 1 inch thickness.
  6. Lay the skewered kofta kebabs on a tray lined with parchment paper.
  7. Place the kofta kebabs on the preheated grill. Cook on medium-high heat for about 4 minutes on one side, turn over and grill for another 2-3 minutes. Warm pita bread until slightly browned on grill.
  8. Serve the kofta kebabs immediately with pita bread, tahini and the fixings.
  9. To complete the meal, serve with tabouli, hummus, veggie kabobs and couscous.

Pairs well with a brown ale like CBA gold winner Corsaire Brown Ale – Corsaire Microbrasserie