Kofta, believed to have originated from a Persian word “Kūfte” means “to beat” or “to grind” or meatball, is a surprisingly common dish in many countries, spanning from Greece, Middle Eastern Countries, to Indian and Pakistan. Not surprisingly though as these countries do share quite similar varieties of herbs and spices. Unlike the Italian meatballs, which are usually doused in general serving of tomato sauce, Kofta is usually served dry with dippings. Though in South Asian it’s often cooked in curry gravy too.
There are of course regional variations; In Turkey for instance, it’s usually made with Lamb, Beef, Mutton or Chicken, while the Greeks would also use Veal or Pork. One thing in common though is the presence of spices like cumin, paprika and herbs like parsley, coriander and sometimes mint; Stuff that are always present in my pantry/fridge.
I’ve chosen to stay closer to the Turkish version and made Lamb Kofta and pairing it with one of my favourite dips: Baba Ganoush. Partly because I think the name is quite endearing, but mainly because eggplant is my favourite thing to eat. Baba Ganoush is also quite easy to make, and the fun part is charring the skin over open flame. Minimal utensils needed for this recipe, which is a bonus. Put these 2 dishes together, you have a tasty yet nutritiously balanced meal. I shall also add that this is perfectly Paleo too.
I found that the lamb version is tastier than beef (probably because of the fat content) and there is not much of a gamey taste from the lamb because of the lovely spices. So this is probably a good introduction to Lamb and Middle Eastern dishes if you don’t know where to start. As for the Baba Ganoush, it’s a must try if you love eggplants.
500g lamb mince
1 small brown onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/3 cup Coriander leaves, chopped finely
1/3 cup Parsley leaves, chopped finely
1 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
Salt and Pepper to taste
12 Skewers, pre-soaked (so it doesn’t burn)
Place mince, onion, garlic, mint, parsley, paprika, ginger, cumin, coriander seeds and egg in a bowl. Mix to combine.
Shape 1/4 cup lamb mixture at a time into sixteen 8cm-long sausages with tapered ends. Thread 1 sausage onto each skewer. Place on a large baking tray or plate. Cover. Refrigerate for 20 minutes or until firm.
Heat an large pan on high with some olive oil. Add koftas. Reduce heat to low. Cook, turning occasionally, for 10 minutes or until cooked through. Rest for 5 minutes before serving.
1 Large Eggplant
1 tablespoon Tahini Paste
2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 clove of Garlic, minced
Salt and Pepper to taste
Parsley leaves to garnish
Paprika, to garnish
Char the skin of the eggplant over the stove for 10 minutes (this imparts a lovely smoky taste), then cut the eggplant in half lengthways. Place on a baking tray, skin side up and bake in 180c oven for 30 minutes or until eggplant is completely tender.
Cool the eggplant for about an hour, then remove the skin. Place the eggplant flesh, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl and mash with a fork until smooth. It doesn’t have to be completely lump free, rustic is good. Taste to adjust seasoning. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil, some paprika and parsley.
Ah….. I can only tell you I had a wonderful time in the kitchen by myself, and later on the dining table. I don’t mind more of the tender lamb and silky eggplant. *Pat myself on the back*