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Lamb Koftas with Yoghurt Dressing

30 mins Cook
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These Lamb Koftas have always been a beloved Middle Eastern dish in my repertoire! Crafted using ground lamb and a generous blend of spices, the aroma while cooking is truly captivating.

Koftas
nomnomwow.com Lamb Koftas with Yoghurt Dressing

You’ll be amazed at how many of these spices are likely already in your pantry, as they are common staples. Wrap these flavorful koftas in warm pita bread, accompanied by a refreshing Cabbage, Carrot & Mint Salad, and serve with a side of Pilaf with Dried Nuts and Fruit or Mejadra (Spiced Lentil Rice) to craft your own Middle Eastern feast.

Lamb Kofta recipe


Middle Eastern cuisine holds a special place in my heart due to my love for bold, robust flavors, and Middle Eastern dishes like Koftas, Chicken Shawarma, Lamb Shawarma, and Doner Kebabs truly satisfy my culinary cravings.

Another aspect that endears Middle Eastern cuisine to me is the fact that many of its key spices are already common staples in my pantry. It always amazes me when I come across a Middle Eastern recipe and realize that I have all the necessary ingredients on hand (excluding fresh produce, of course).

Spices like cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and paprika, which are also found in other popular cuisines such as Mexican cuisine (which is also a regular feature in my kitchen).

And let’s not forget about cinnamon, a baking essential that I always keep stocked – whether it’s for Apple Cake, Churros, Muffins, or Oatmeal Raisin cookies, cinnamon is a constant presence in my kitchen.

It’s the harmonious blend of these spices in Middle Eastern cooking that lends it that unique and exotic taste and aroma, and these Lamb Koftas are a perfect example of that culinary magic!

What goes in lamb koftas

Here’s the list of ingredients you’ll need. How many of these spices are already in your kitchen?

(PS: I understand that panko breadcrumbs aren’t traditionally Middle Eastern, but they offer a superior texture with their larger, fluffier pieces, resulting in softer koftas!)

(PPS: Although this recipe features lamb koftas, it works just as wonderfully with beef!)

How to make lamb koftas

Simply toss all the ingredients into the bowl, give them a good mix, and then thread the mixture onto skewers. I even grate the onion directly into the bowl. Embrace getting your hands a bit messy; it’s all part of the fun and ensures that the spices are evenly distributed throughout the meat.


When it comes to shaping your koftas, you have options:

For skewered koftas, you can go for a smoother, more uniform shape (as pictured), or you can opt for a flatter, dimpled appearance.

If you’re not using skewers, you can get creative with shapes, making them into balls, football-shaped patties, short cylinders, or even long cylinders.

So, let your culinary creativity run wild!

Best way to cook lamb koftas

Grilling over charcoal is the ultimate and traditional method! The added smoky flavor is incredibly delicious.

Using a BBQ is the next best option and my go-to choice for gatherings.

On the stove is my most frequent cooking method.

Using a broiler or grill is a fallback option, although it doesn’t provide quite the same level of surface browning.

Yogurt Sauce for lamb koftas

The koftas, with their robust spices and the deep flavor of lamb, pair beautifully with a zesty yet creamy Lemon Garlic Yogurt Sauce. Occasionally, I enhance the sauce by adding a touch of Tahini, which brings an added depth of richness.

When serving these at social events, I often include Hummus as an additional sauce choice.

What to serve with Lamb Koftas


The most common and delightful way to serve koftas is in wraps, and here’s how I like to present them:

  1. Use flatbreads to create wraps, and you can try making these easy no-yeast homemade flatbreads.
  2. Accompany the wraps with a simple Lemon Yogurt Sauce (included in the recipe).
  3. For an extra or alternative sauce option, offer Hummus.
  4. Add a vibrant and crunchy minted red cabbage salad to provide a refreshing contrast.
  5. Alternatively, consider these salad options for your wraps:
    • Shredded lettuce or other leafy greens, tomato slices, and onions (the quick and easy choice).
    • Tabbouleh (you can find the recipe in the notes of the Doner Kebab recipe).
    • Middle Eastern Chickpea, Tomato, and Cucumber Salad (ensure the vegetables are finely diced for easy stuffing).
    • A generous Greek Salad, although from a different cuisine, pairs wonderfully with the robust flavors of these koftas (again, chop the veggies finely).

Another option is to serve the koftas alongside a rice pilaf, either as an alternative or in addition to the pita bread. Here are some pilaf recipes that pair beautifully with these Lamb Koftas:

  • Middle Eastern Lentil Rice Pilaf (Mejadra – a personal favorite of mine!)
  • Rice Pilaf with Dried Fruit and Nuts
  • Curried Basmati Rice
  • Chickpea Rice Pilaf
  • Red Rice (though of Mexican origin, the flavor complements Middle Eastern cuisine well).

These Lamb Koftas originally appeared on my website back in 2014, when I first started this blog. As patience has never been my strong suit, I shared all my favorite recipes right from the beginning. Now, I’m revisiting them, creating videos, and capturing new photos because I’ve come a long way in both areas since then!

This recipe is perfect for entertaining because you can prepare everything in advance and simply grill the koftas when your guests arrive. Pile all the components on a platter, and let your guests build their own wraps. I’ve served this to my friends on numerous occasions, and they’re quite familiar with this typical Arabian Feast menu. I don’t think anyone is getting tired of it!

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Lamb Koftas with Yoghurt Dressing

Lamb Koftas with Yoghurt Dressing

maimoona
These Lamb Koftas have always been a beloved Middle Eastern dish in my repertoire! Crafted using ground lamb and a generous blend of spices, the aroma while cooking is truly captivating.
prep time
10 mins
cooking time
30 mins
servings
2
total time
40 mins

Equipment

Ingredients

  • KOFTAS

  • 1 lb / 500 g lamb mince (ground lamb)

  • 1/2 onion , grated

  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs , preferably panko

  • 2 cloves garlic , crushed

  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander

  • KOFTA SPICES

  • 2 tsp cumin

  • 2 tsp coriander

  • 2 tsp paprika

  • 1.5 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (this is a bit spicy, reduce to taste or leave out)

  • 1 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/2 black pepper

  • YOGHURT SAUCE

  • 1 cup yogurt , Greek or other thick plain

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 clove garlic , crushed

  • 1 tsp cumin

  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

  • 1/4 tsp salt and pepper , each

  • TO SERVE

  • 8 skewers (Note 1)

  • 8 flatbreads (small) or 4 large, warmed (homemade or bought, Note 2)

  • Shredded Red Cabbage, Carrot and Mint Salad (Note 3)

  • OR shredded lettuce, tomato and onion slices (Note 3)

Instructions

1
Yogurt Sauce: Combine the ingredients for the yogurt sauce, then refrigerate for at least 20 minutes to allow the flavors to meld (even better if left overnight!).
2
Koftas: Grate the onion into a mixing bowl using a standard box grater. Add the remaining ingredients for the koftas and thoroughly mix everything with your hands.
3
With moistened hands, divide the meat mixture into 8 equal portions and shape them onto 8 skewers. You can opt for a smooth surface (for a more polished appearance, as shown in the picture) or a slightly textured one (providing more surface area for browning!).
4

COOKING:

Stove: Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat with 1/2 tablespoon of oil. Cook the koftas in batches, turning them for a total of 5 minutes until evenly browned.
5
BBQ: Grill the koftas over medium-high heat for approximately 6 minutes, rotating them to ensure even browning.
6
Broiler/oven grill: Preheat and cook the koftas 30cm/10" from the heat source for 12 minutes, rotating as needed until they achieve a light browning (note that you won't get as good browning as with a stove or BBQ).
7

SERVING:

Opt for a DIY spread – arrange everything on a platter and let everyone serve themselves.
8
Take a flatbread, spread it with Yogurt Sauce, add a generous portion of Red Cabbage Mint Salad (or explore more options as described in Note 3), place a Kofta on top, and drizzle with additional Yogurt Sauce. Enjoy your meal and savor the happiness!

Notes

If you plan to use wooden or bamboo skewers and intend to cook on a BBQ grill or under the broiler/oven grill, it's a good idea to soak them for 30 minutes before threading the meat. If you're using metal skewers or cooking on a stovetop or the flat side of a BBQ, there's no need to do this. When it comes to flatbreads, any type that can wrap around the koftas will work wonderfully. If you choose small pita breads, you can stuff each one with 2 koftas (which is typically enough for a regular meal), or make them with 1 kofta each, as shown in the post. Alternatively, you can use large flatbreads like Lebanese bread to create one long wrap. You can even make your own flatbreads using these Easy No Yeast Flatbread recipes! For the salad to stuff inside the wraps, my go-to choice is usually the Red Cabbage Mint Salad, which complements the theme and adds a fresh minty flavor. Other options include: Shredded iceberg lettuce (or a handful of leafy greens) with tomato and onion slices (similar to how Doner Kebabs are prepared). Adding some fresh coriander/cilantro, parsley, or mint would be delightful. Tabbouleh (you can find the recipe in the Doner Kebab recipe). More alternatives: The seasoned Middle Eastern Lentil Rice Pilaf (Mejadra) is incredibly flavorful and makes an excellent side dish or stuffing for the pitas. Middle Eastern Chickpea Salad with Cucumber and Tomato (you can omit the chickpeas for a juicy crunch). Consider Hummus as an alternative or additional option to the yogurt sauce. Include a side of juicy marinated BBQ Vegetables (or roast them!) – these are fantastic when stuffed into pitas along with the koftas. Nutritional information provided is per kofta, assuming that 2 koftas are stuffed into 1 pita bread and assuming the use of fatty lamb mince (supermarket mince tends to be leaner, resulting in fewer calories). This calculation takes into account the use of all the sauce (full-fat yogurt).
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