Lamb Kofta Kebab

Grill your kofta with or without vegetables.  Photo courtesy of American Homestead.

Grilled kofta with vegetables.
Photo credit to American Homestead


We’ve been on a Middle Eastern food kick lately.  Something about the change in the seasons has us craving the exotic and layered spices associated with the food of this region and simple grilled meats served with a yogurt sauce, fresh herbs, and rice.

Kofta kebabs use ground meat (lamb, ground chuck, or ground sirloin) mixed with onion, garlic and spices and are easy and quick to cook.  Inexpensive and flavorful: can’t beat that for a good summer meal.

I based my kofta on this recipe from but there is an almost identical one from The Food Network site.

Break open the spice cabinet, I used 10 different spices in these to imbue them with maximum flavor.

Break out the spices, this recipe calls for 10 different dry spices.

It is a very good practice to measure all your spices beforehand and place them in ramekins or on parchment paper.

Garlic paste, minced onion, and chopped parsley.

Garlic paste, minced onion, and chopped parsley.

Lamb Kofta Kebabs


  • 4 T. crushed garlic (I have been using the Gourmet Garden brand of garlic paste in the tube.  It’s just easier than chopping.)
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 lbs. ground lamb
  • 6 T. grated yellow onion
  • 6 T. chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 T. ground coriander
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 T. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika


  • Place the ground lamb in a large bowl. Add the spices along with the onion and garlic, and mix well.
  • Form the mixture into 22 balls (about 1.5 ounces each).  Mold each ball around the tip of a skewer, pushing the ball down the skewer and flattening into a 2 inch oval; each skewer should have a total of 3 koftas (if you are  not threading them with vegetables.) Repeat with the remaining skewers.
  • Place the kebabs onto a baking sheet, cover, and refrigerate at least 1 hour.  This is an important step because if the kofta are not chilled they may fall off the skewers when you grill them.
  • Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat and lightly oil grate.
  • Cook the skewers on the preheated grill, turning once or twice, until the lamb has cooked to your desired degree of doneness, about 6 minutes for medium.


Lamb ready for chilling.  You can chill too.

Lamb ready for chilling. You can chill too.


Serve with tzatziki (recipe follows) and basmati rice.

Grilled kofta, ready to eat.

Grilled kofta, ready to eat.



recipe adapted from “Ask the Barefoot Contessa,” House Beautiful magazine

2 cups plain Greek yogurt (such as Fage Total 2%)

1 medium cucumber, peeled, halved, and seeded

2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 T. crushed garlic (Gourmet Garden brand is nice)

2 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 T. white vinegar

1 T.  minced fresh dill (optional)

Place the yogurt in a bowl.  Grate the cucumber on a box grater and squeeze the grated cucumber with your hand to remove most of the liquid.  Add to the yogurt.  Add the lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, salt, and dill.  Stir gently until blended and chill at least 30 minutes to allow flavors to develop.


Tzatziki = refreshing sauce of yogurt, cucumber, garlic, and dill

Tzatziki = refreshing sauce of yogurt, cucumber, garlic, and dill


Kofta are incredibly versatile.  If it is raining when you want to grill, you can broil these on high (preheat your broiler).  You can also skip the skewering step and make them into small lamb sliders and broil them.  Serve them over rice or tucked into flatbreads with some lightly dressed salad greens.


Kofta kebabs are versatile, eat them with rice or in flatbreads. Photo credit:  Jamie Oliver,

Kofta kebabs are versatile, eat them with rice or in flatbreads.
Photo credit: Jamie Oliver,


3 thoughts on “Lamb Kofta Kebab

  1. These sound yummy! I just bought tabouli and these would be perfect with it. Garlic paste is new to me. Can you get it anywhere and does the brand matter? Does TJ’s carry it? Can you mix ground beef and lamb?

  2. Hi Connie: you can definitely mix ground beef and lamb. You can also mix in bulgur or ground pistachios (very authentic) if you want to lighten the kofta or make it go farther without having to buy more meat. I find the Gourmet Garden crushed garlic in the tubes at our Safeway (refrigerated section in the produce aisle). I’ve also bought the lemongrass paste and the ginger paste. It is a real timesaver. I used to enjoy chopping garlic (and some recipes really do require a mince and not a paste) but for these and for some other dishes a squirt of garlic will do them just fine!

    (I went to the Gourmet Garden website and it looks that right now they are only available on the East Coast.) Maybe your local Trader Joe’s carries something similar.

    If you can’t find it, you can make your own garlic paste by finely chopping 3 cloves of fresh garlic, sprinkle them with a good amount of kosher salt, and then work it into a paste with the tines of a fork. Really mash it. If that’s too time-consuming, minced garlic also works fine in these–just make sure it’s nicely distributed throughout your meat mixture.


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