Kofte is an umbrella term for a style of Middle Eastern cooking that starts with ground or minced meat mixed with onions and spices. The meat is often shaped into patties or balls and is then affectionately referred to as Turkish meatballs. Kebabs are made from meat that’s skewered and roasted on a spit or grilled. When you combine the two, you get a delicious Middle Eastern street food that is prepared with lamb or some other ground meat, seasoned with the most aromatic and flavorful spices that originally traveled the Silk Road. Kofte Kebabs are ubiquitous to the 'Fertile Crescent' region of the Middle East and can be found in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, Syria, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Cyprus.
Spices like Sumac, Cumin, and Maras Chiles along with fragrant herbs like Greek Oregano come together to impart a rich, warm flavor to this popular street food, grilled and served with pita bread and a cooling, cucumber tzatziki sauce. Small outdoor restaurants and street stands throughout Turkey play welcome locals and tourists alike who are all looking to satisfy the craving born from the wonderful aromas of spices, smoke, and grilled meat.
The essence of the Kofta Kebab can be replicated at home on the grill or flat top. Wrap the grilled kebabs in a warm pita and add traditional garnishes of tomatoes, lemon slices, red onions, parsley, and tzatziki to enjoy a delicious, savory meal that brings the flavors of the Middle East to the home cook.
Helpful hint: If you are using wooden skewers over a flame, soak the skewers in water for several hours or overnight to help prevent them from burning.
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 1 pound ground lamb
- ¼ cup minced green onion
- 3 eggs
- ¼ cup bread crumbs
- 1 Tablespoon Greek Oregano
- 1 Tablespoon Ground Sumac
- 1 Tablespoon Crushed Maras Chiles
- 2 teaspoons Ground Cumin
- 2 teaspoons California Granulated Garlic
- 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
- 2 teaspoons Ground White Pepper
- 1 teaspoon Ground Allspice
- 1 recipe Tzatziki Sauce
- Prepare a medium-hot charcoal or gas grill.
- Place all ingredients in a large bowl and thoroughly combine.
- Shape the mixture into sausage-shaped tubes, approximately 3 ounces each.
- Make sure the grill grates are clean and brushed with oil.
- Cook the Kofte Kebabs for roughly 10 to 12 minutes, carefully turning them to brown on all sides.
- Allow to rest for 5 minutes then serve on skewers, with pita bread, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and tzatziki sauce