Grilled Lamb Kofta (Izgara Kofte in Turkish) is one of the most popular street food in Turkey made with minced lamb and aromatic spices. These delicious and juicy kofta kebabs are traditionally cooked over charcoal but you can cook them on a BBQ, on the stove, or even in the oven grill.
Kofta dishes are very popular in Turkey and there are around 300 different types of kofte recipes. They are more widely consumed than any other dish, and there are many regional variations that date back hundreds of years. Although technically koftes are "meatballs, some recipes don't contain any meat such as Courgette Fritters (Mucver) Recipe and Mercimek Kofte (Lentil Balls).
Why This Recipe Works?
- It is very easy to prepare with step-by-step instructions and pictures, a perfect weekday meal with minimum preparation.
- You can make them ahead and keep them refrigerated for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Perfect dish for busy weekday meals or big gatherings!
- Most of the ingredients are possibly already in your pantry or fridge.
Ingredients and Substitutes
- Lamb mince - The main ingredient for kofte is minced lamb (ground lamb) and its fat content is as important as the quality of the meat. Ideally, it should have %20 fat for soft and delicious koftes. Using lean minced meat will make them dry and tough.
- Onion - It adds extra flavour and moisture to the koftas. I prefer grating it into the mixture. You can finely chop and sauté them if you prefer. You can substitute it with two banana shallots.
- Garlic - It is another great flavouring for Kofte dishes. You can use a Microplane to grate it if you don't have a pestle and mortar. Or you can substitute the fresh garlic with the powdered version.
- Egg - It helps to bind the meat, breadcrumbs, spices and herbs. For up to one kilo of meat, you usually won't need more than one egg.
- Spices - Most recipes call for a blend of coriander powder, black pepper, paprika (or chilli) but you can also add cumin, cayenne pepper or a touch of cinnamon.
- Bread crumbs - They absorb the juices from the meat as it cooks, trapping them within the meatball. Also, they give meatballs a nice and soft texture.
- Parsley - Great tasting herb to add to the Kofte mixture. Use flat-leaf or curly parsley leaves for the best results. You can substitute it with thyme or oregano.
How to Make the Best Lamb Koftas?
Making this delicious kofta dish is very simple and straightforward. However, to achieve the best results you need to follow a few tips and simple steps:
- Prepare the yoghurt dressing - Turn the garlic into a paste using a pestle and mortar or simply grate it using a Microplane. Place the yoghurt in a bowl and add the garlic paste along with the dried mint and mix well. Set aside and keep refrigerated until you need it.
- Prepare the Lamb Koftas - If cooking the koftas on a BBQ, preheat it to medium-high, if cooking them in the oven-grill, preheat the oven-grill to medium-high or if using a skillet, preheat your skillet over medium-high heat. To prepare the kofte mixture, put all kofte ingredients in a large bowl and then mix well for at least 5 minutes or until it has a nice and soft texture slightly sticking to your hand.
Shape them into 10-12 equally sized patties using the palm of your hands. Wet your palm with a bit of water to avoid the meatballs sticking to your hand. Cook the koftas on BBQ for 6 to 8 minutes, until all sides are nicely browned. It would take 10 to 12 minutes in oven-grill and 5 to 7 minutes on the skillet to cook the koftas.
Do you love lamb dishes? Check these delicious lamb recipes out for more inspiration!
Lamb Kofta is perfect for freezing and keeping fresh for up to 3 months in the freezer. Simply place them in an airtight container and place them in the freezer and defrost them overnight in the fridge when you need them.
Although it is very difficult to tell what country this delicious meat dish is originated from, the first kofte recipe is found in an Arabic cookbook. Kofte is widely cooked in Middle Eastern, Balkan, Central Asian, and North African countries.
There are many ways to enjoy kofte:
You can have them with flatbread, try my Homemade Pita Bread, Bazlama (Turkish Bread) or Garlic Naan Bread.
You can have them with pilaf dishes. Check some of my recipes; Bulgur Pilaf, Turkish Rice Pilaf or Turkish Bulgur Pilaf with Lentils.
You can have them with a tangy mint&yoghurt sauce or some salads to make lamb kofte wraps. Try my Summer Chickpea Salad, Greek Salad or Tomato and Walnut Salad (Gavurdagi Salatasi).
Top Tip From the Chef
You can shape the lamb kofta on skewers and serve them as lamb kofte kebabs for your BBQ parties.
I hope you enjoy the process of making these juicy and flavorsome Lamb Koftas as much as you enjoy eating them! 🙂
Bon appétit! / Afiyet Olsun!
Grilled Lamb Kofta - Izgara Kofte
For the Yoghurt Dressing
- 1 cup Natural yoghurt
- 1 clove garlic
- ½ teaspoon dried mint
For the Lamb Koftas
- 500 g minced lamb (minimum of 20% fat content)
- 1 large onion (grated)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 medium egg
- 30 g breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon flaked chilli (pul biber)
- ½ teaspoon coriander powder
- 2 tablespoon chopped parsley
Preparing the Yoghurt Dressing
- Turn the garlic into a paste using a pestle and mortar or grate it using a Microplane.
- Place the yoghurt in a bowl and add the garlic paste.
- Add the dried mint and mix well. Set aside and keep refrigerated until you need it.
Preparing the Lamb Koftas
- If cooking the koftas on a BBQ, preheat it to medium-high, if cooking them in the oven-grill, preheat the oven-grill to medium-high or if using a skillet, preheat your skillet over medium-high heat.
- To prepare the kofte mixture, put all kofte ingredients in a large bowl and then mix well for at least 5 minutes or until it has a nice and soft texture slightly sticking to your hand.
- Shape them into 10-12 equally sized patties using the palm of your hands. Wet your palm with a bit of water to avoid the meatballs sticking to your hand.
- Cook the koftas on BBQ for 6 to 8 minutes, until all sides are nicely browned.It would take 10 to 12 minutes in oven-grill and 5 to 7 minutes on the skillet to cook the koftas.
- Serve them immediately on a bed of Turkish Rice Pilaf or Homemade Pita Bread with a dollop of yoghurt dressing.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Don’t leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
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