Kebab, kabob, kofta – whatever you call this, it’s fragrant, it’s exotic, and it’s fantastic for midweek because it’s something different but so easy and fast to make. 30 minutes, start to finish. And perfect for summer grilling! Adapted from a recipe by Efendy, a popular Turkish restaurant in Balmain, Sydney.
I was watching the latest Food Safari series called Fire the other night which showcases food from around the world cooked over charcoals and in wood fired ovens. I have neither a charcoal grill nor a wood fired pizza oven, but when I saw these Turkish kebabs, I knew straight away that these would be still be fabulous made on the stove or on an ordinary gas BBQ.
I’m really fond of my Middle Eastern Kebabs, but they require more spices than these! So this easy recipe really appealed to me. They really did take 30 minutes to make, from start to finish.
The original recipe is made using a combination of veal and lamb mince (ground meat) plus lamb fat. I don’t know about you, but I don’t even know where to get lamb fat here in Sydney!
So to make this midweek, I made a few alterations. I kept the spice mix the same – super simple, just pepper, cumin and red pepper flakes. But I added extra flavour by adding onion and garlic to compensate for the absence of lamb fat. I know, I know, onion and garlic isn’t the same as lamb fat but they definitely do add extra flavour!?
The original recipe calls for pistachio nuts too, which I included because I happened to have them in my pantry. Only because I visited a Middle Eastern grocery a few weeks before and got overly excited by how cheap the pistachios were!
They definitely add an extra layer of flavour and richness into the kebabs. But honestly, I think these are worth making even if you don’t have pistachios. Truly. ?? – Nagi x
- 1 lb / 500g lamb mince (ground lamb) (or substitute with beef)
- 1 small onion , grated or minced using a food processor - about 1/4 cup (white, brown or yellow) (Note 1)
- 1 garlic clove , minced
- 1/4 cup pistachio nuts , ground (Optional. I use my food processor) (Note 2)
- 1 1/2 tsp salt (table salt, not flakes, use 2 1/2 tsp if using kosher or sea salt flakes)
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp cumin powder
- 1 tbsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3/4 cup plain yoghurt (I use Greek)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 garlic clove , minced
- Salt and pepper
- Pita bread or lebanese flat bread , warmed
- Lettuce leaves of choice
- Sliced tomato
- Sliced red onion
Mix together Yoghurt Sauce ingredients and place in the refrigerator to allow the flavours to develop.
Place the Kebab ingredients except the oil in a bowl and use your hands to just combine (don't over mix).
Divide into 8 portions and mould onto skewers.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add skewers (I could fit all in, placing them in alternating directions) and cook for 8 minutes, turning to brown all sides.
Meanwhile, slice tomatoes and red onion.
Serve kebabs with pita bread, lettuce, tomatoes, red onion and yoghurt sauce on the side. Wedges of lemon are also a great accompaniment.
1. I used an ordinary box grater, but it would have been smarter to use my food processor which I used to ground the nuts! You could also finely chop it, but I find you get better flavour by grating because the juices mix throughout.
2. The pistachio nuts are included in the original recipe and add richness and flavour but these are still really delicious even if you exclude them.
3. The original recipe is more complicated because it requires a mix of lamb and veal mince PLUS lamb fat. So this is a simplified version using just lamb. To compensate for these changes, I added more flavour by adding onion and garlic.
Also, these are traditionally cooked over charcoal, but they are great made on the stove! Great for summer grilling too!
4. If you want to cook these on a BBQ with a GRILL, as opposed to a hot plate, soak the skewers for at least 30 minutes in water so they don't burn.
5. Nutrition per serving, assuming 4 servings, for kebabs and Yoghurt Sauce only (2 kebabs per person, bread not included).