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To best describe this kofta recipe, you could say these are BBQ ground meatballs, patties or logs on a skewer seasoned with Middle Eastern spices.
Originally, kofta (meaning “to grind”) was a Persian dish, but nowadays many other countries have their own versions like India’s Malai Kofta Curry made with paneer cheese or Turkey’s Köfte Meatballs. Most koftas are made using ground beef but can also be made with lamb, chicken, seafood, vegetables or pulses.
How to eat Kofta Meat Skewers:
Besides being a hit with both adults and children, these skewers are terrific and easy to cook for a crowd as they can be made in advance and take under 15 minutes to cook on a hot grill or outdoor barbecue.
Mezze platters are a great way of offering a selection of Middle Eastern warm and cold dishes to share. All the hard work of preparing various dishes pays off when the mezze platter is served in one go and you can relax to eat and enjoy your company without any interruptions.
Serve them with freshly made gluten-free flatbreads and yoghurt sauce together with an assortment of dips, pickles and salads, especially Tabbouleh, a refreshing, vibrant salad (recipe coming next week!)
Serve them in a warm gluten-free baguette (like a regular meatball subway roll) and dress them with the yoghurt sauce.
Meatballs with Pilau Rice
Shape them into meatballs and fry or oven bake them. Serve them with pilau rice, feta cheese, dates and hummus.
Some Info on ingredients used:
Torn up pieces of gluten-free bread are soaked in either water or milk to act as a filler and to prevent the mixture from becoming too dry by absorbing any meat juices released while grilling. They also help bind the meat together on the skewers.
Any bread type can be used, whether it is white, mock rye, flatbread or focaccia. Just remove any hard crusts and use the soft part of the bread. This part will absorb the liquid easier.
Kofta Spice Blend
The recipe uses only dried spices, Aleppo chilli flakes and seasonings, which can be made in bulk and stored in a glass sealed jar for a maximum of 6 months.
If you prefer to buy, store-bought kofta seasoning can be found in most Middle Eastern supermarkets.
Mince or Ground Meat
For these koftas, I recommend using either mince/ground beef or lamb. Aim for the regular fat content rather than light mince as these will make the koftas dry and fragile.
This luscious dark and concentrated syrup is made from the juice of sour (not sweet) pomegranates, adding an intriguing sweet-and-sour flavour to many Middle Eastern and Turkish dishes, including these koftas.
If you are buying it for the first time, you should be able to find a bottle at most international supermarkets or specifically, Middle Eastern or Turkish supermarkets. It is also possible to find it online on Amazon.
When grilling the skewers, may sure your grill is well-greased and hot. Do not force the koftas off the grill. If they appear stuck, allow more time for them to cook. They will lift off easily when they are cooked and ready.
Gluten-Free Kofta Meat Skewers
- Griddle pan or BBQ grill
KOFTA SPICE BLEND
- 1 tsp ground allspice
- ½ tsp ground cardamom
- ½ tsp sumac powder
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp smoked paprika/pimentón
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp Aleppo chilli flakes or regular chilli flakes
- 1 tsp cinnamon powder
KOFTA MEAT SKEWERS
- 750 g minced beef or lamb
- 2½ tbsp store-bought or homemade Kofta spice blend
- 2 slices of either store-bought or homemade gluten-free white or brown bread
- 3 tbsp milk or water
- 1 egg white
- 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses or Tamari/soy sauce
- 1 onion, chopped finely
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped roughly
- 1 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped roughly
- 1 tbsp fresh mint, torn roughly
- olive oil, to brush the grill and koftas
- 100 ml Greek plain yogurt, full or low fat
- 1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped finely
- ½ tsp lemon juice
- salt and white pepper, to taste
KOFTA SPICE BLEND
- Gather and measure all the spices.
- Whisk together in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl.
- Cover and chill until serving time.
KOFTA MEAT SKEWERS
- Gather and measure all the ingredients.
- Tear the bread slices apart into small pieces.
- Soak the bread pieces in the water for 10 mins.
- Mix all the ingredients together in a medium bowl.
- With wet hands, shape the meat mixture into small logs and place them on a large plate or tray.
- Chill for 30 mins. This will keep the koftas intact while cooking.
- Drain the water from the skewer sticks and start assembling the koftas by threading two kofta logs onto each stick.
- Once all of them are assembled, return them to the fridge for another 30 mins to firm up further.
- Heat either a griddle pan or a BBQ grill to medium heat.
- Brush or spray the surface with some oil.
- Start grilling the koftas for 4-5 mins on each side, brushing them lightly with oil. TIP: Do not force the koftas off the grill. If they appear stuck, allow more time for them to cook. They will lift off easily when they are cooked and ready.
- Transfer the cooked koftas to a serving plate and cover with some foil.
- Serve immediately with warm flatbread, yoghurt sauce and tabbouleh salad.
- Keeps for 2 days chilled
- Suitable to freeze uncooked and cooked