Timothy Cunningham

Lamb Kofta and Zucchini pasta in heirloom tomato sauce

Michelle made these the other day and it was so good! I usually like my lamb in the form of a chop that pink and rare.  She likes lamb more "cooked" and from parts that are not as gamey.  This lamb kofta was a dish we both could love. 

The side of Zucchini "pasta" tossed through some heirloom tomatoes, oil and garlic was genius inspired from desperation to use up all of our heirloom tomatoes from our garden this summer. 

What is Kofta?

Kofta is a type of meatball from the Middle East and Asia.  Urdu spoken in Pakistan, India and the Middle East the word کوفتہ‎, romanized: koftah, literally means  'pounded meat' because the added all the ingredients and then pounded them in a mortar and pestle. Today thankfully we have meat grinders and food processors!

Kofta Ingredients 

  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 1/2 Onion grated (on box grater or in food processor)
  • 1/4 bread crumbs (Panko bread crumbs are the best)
  • 2 cloves of garlic crushed and chopped
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper (or to taste)
  • Kabob Skewers  

Kofta Preparation

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, mixing by hand till thoroughly mixed. Oil the skewers prior with olive oil or other cooking oil. Form meat into a cigar shape wrapped around the skewer.   Meat should adhere firmly to the flat skewers and not move around. If the mince it too wet, add more bread crumbs.

Grill Instructions:  over lump charcoal making sure the coals have transitioned from the "active flame" stage to the "white ash" hot stage. Cook for about 6 minutes, rotating often.  

Plan B: If you feel the grill is flaming up too much and the outside of the kafta is getting too much char without the inside cooking fully, remove from the grill.  When the skewer is cool enough, carefully slide the kafta off the skewer, put on baking tray and finish in the oven at 250 F till the kafta is cooked all the way through.

Stove Instructions: Heat 1/2 tsp oil in skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium high heat. Cook kafta in batches for minutes each, turning koftas while cooking to get browning on all sides.


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