By Tiffany Bader:
Kofta/kofte/kafta/kufta—however it’s spelled, they are really just a meatball or kebab with Middle Eastern flavors. They are made and adapted in many different regions; some grilled, some baked in the oven in a tomato or curry sauce. They contain spices, fresh herbs, onions, garlic and ginger, and are combined in a multitude of ways, depending on the person preparing it. Some people add bread crumbs or bulgur wheat, but I like to keep it simple; focusing on using quality meat, a few spices, herbs and onions to ensure that the flavor of the meat is not overtaken. Traditionally, a combination of beef and lamb is used; however, I find that it works very well with game meat.
When shaping the kofta, it’s important to mix the meat and other ingredients well, which will ensure that the kofta don’t break apart when grilling. You are not making delicate meatballs, you want it mixed together to the point that the meat becomes sticky. Once the meat is mixed and formed into whatever shape you prefer, it’s beneficial to let the mixture sit for a few hours, or overnight if you can, to let the flavors marry and it will make the kofta less delicate when grilling.
- 2 pounds ground moose—you can use whatever ground meat you like or have on hand, but these kofta are excellent made with game.
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon ginger, grated
- 1 small red onion, finely minced
- 1 cup lightly packed flat leaf parsley, minced
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon sumac—if you can’t find sumac, feel free to omit or just add the same amount of lemon zest.
- 2 tablespoons Urfa pepper—if you can’t find Urfa pepper, you can substitute cayenne, Aleppo or ancho but keep in mind these other chilies are spicier than the Urfa.
- Sea salt
Add all ingredients to a large bowl and mix together well with your hands for a few minutes. Once the meat has become sticky and almost bouncy to the touch you are done. Shape the meat onto flat metal skewers if you have them, or into whatever shape works best for you. As the meat is quite sticky, forming the meat is much easier with wet hands. The kofta will benefit by resting in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight if possible so the flavors can marry and the meat will be easier to cook.
Heat a grill until very hot and cook the kofta until fully cooked through. Set aside to rest for 10 minutes and top with additional ground sumac or lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil and sea salt. You can eat the kofta in a naan wrap, topped with garlic sauce (toum), chopped tomatoes, sliced onions, flat leaf parsley and cucumbers.
Stay tuned for an upcoming episode with Travis and Tiffany Bader from SilverCore Training!