Lamb Kofta with Raita

KOFTA

makes 10-12 skewers  

INGREDIENTS

1 pound of ground lamb

1 large egg

4 large shallots, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced or grated

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped

1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

1 tablespoon harissa - or substitute 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste if you don’t want it spicy

1 teaspoon garam masala

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

  • 15-20, 10-12 inch wooden or steel grilling skewers - if using wooden, soak in warm water for 20 minutes 
  • Cucumber Raita for dipping - recipe follows 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Add the shallot, ginger, garlic, and spices to a food processor and pulse to throughly combine. 
  2. Add the mint and cilantro and pulse, then add the harissa and pulse until you have an incorporated paste of herbs and spices. 
  3. Add the egg and a 1/4 of the lamb, pulse to combine. Add the remaining lamb a bit at a time and pulse to incorporate, scraping the sides of the food processor as needed. 
  4. Pulse a few more times just to ensure the mixture has completely incorporated and remove mixture from processor and place into a small mixing bowl. 
  5. Separate the lamb into 10-12 even balls. Skewer each ball through the center with the grilling skewers. Wet your hands and begin forming the seasoned lamb around each skewer into elongated patties. You want the patty to be as even as possible and to cover about a 6 inch section of the skewer, leaving a good amount towards the end of the skewer exposed for easy handling while grilling.
  6. The Kofta is now ready to grill or sauté in batches. You can make this a day ahead and let the Kofta set in your refrigerator overnight. This will create a more dense sausage-like Kofta as the salt and spices absorb into the meat. I prefer this technique for the denser texture, but it’s completely optional. 
  7. Garnish with orange zest and mint leaves. Serve with cucumber raita. 

RAITA 

This recipe is blended in a food processor to yield a smooth dipping sauce for the Kofta recipe above. See directions below for a few variations. 

INGREDIENTS

1cucumber, peeled and seeded

1 cup yogurt

1/4 cup freshly chopped mint leaves

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped 

1 green onion, bulb minced and green finely chopped

2 tablespoons lime juice (approximately 3 limes)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander 

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

DIRECTIONS

  1. Add all ingredients to a food processor and pulse to incorporate.
  2. Serve chilled with warm pita or as an accoutrement to the Kofta.  
  3. If you would like a more traditional version, peel and cut the cucumber into small dice. Allow the cucumber to drain over a colander while mixing the remaining ingredients in a bowl. Then combine the drained cucumber with the seasoned yogurt mixture.
  4. If you would like a thickened dipping sauce, place this mixture into a cheesecloth lined colander and allow the yogurt to drain in your refrigerator overnight.