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March 2018
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Kofta & Yogurt Cucumber Mint Sauce (Tzatziki)

With Ramadan coming to a close soon, I thought it would be nice to explore some Middle Eastern foods.  My first exploration is Kofta is a kind of spiced and/or herbed meat ball/meat loaf from theMiddle Eastand Mediterranean region (kefte in Greek, Moroccan it is kefta, andPrussiait is called kofte).  It is a favorite especially inTurkeyandIran.  According to a survey study conducted by a food company in 2005, there are nearly 300 distinct varieties of Kofta inTurkeyalone.  This includes some non-meat variations made with stuff like bulgur wheat or lentils.  Kofta is most often a ground lamb meat ball spiced with cumin, cayenne pepper, garlic, onion, mint and other goodies.  In doing some research I felt a bit overwhelmed and decided to make one from Bon Appetit with modifications but the yogurt sauce w/ mint and cucumbers is all mine (tzatziki as it were).  I am also forgoing the muhammara in their recipe.  This would be good with hummus on the side.   I halved this recipe since the grily does not eat lamb, will try this with ground turkey for her sometime, will let you know how they turn out when I do.


    • 1 Lb. ground lamb (can mix lamb and beef if you want to)
    • ¼ cup mint minced
    • 2 Tbls. Grated onion
    • 2 garlic cloves minced
    • 1 Tbls. Paprika
    • 2 tsp. tomato paste
    • 2 tsp. cilantro minced (optional)
    • 1 ½ tsp. cumin
    • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • Pita or flat bread as needed

    Light the grill for direct heat cooking.  Mean while, mix all ingredients except pita bread, try to mix just enough so there is an even flow of ingredients, over mixing might make them tough.  Roll into golf ball or slightly larger meat balls.  Skewer with pre soaked bamboo skewers (soak skewers in water for an hour or two to prevent burning) I do two per skewer with a little space between them.  Grill and flip until all sides are done, 5-8 minutes.  Serve on pita with grilled onions and fresh tomato slices and yogurt sauce (see below), garnish with lemon wedge and few mint leaves.  Now break that fast and enjoy!

Yogurt Cucumber Mint Sauce (Tzatziki):

    • 1 cup Greek yogurt (drained)
    • ½ cup grated cucumber peeled and seeded (drained)
    • 1 garlic clove minced
    • 1Tbls. Mint minced
    • ½ Tbls. fresh lemon juice

    Drain liquid out of yogurt with cheese cloth (or coffee filter) over night if possible (2 – 4 hours at minimum) to keep sauce thick, also drain liquid off of grated cucumbers for at least an hour.  Put cheese cloth in colander and over a bowl and let drain in refrigerator.   Add rest of ingredients mix well and refrigerate for an hour or more before serving.

This sauce is good on lamb burgers, gyros, chicken, and as a veggie dip as well.

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