Shish kebab refers to skewered and grilled meat chunks, while kofta kebabs are made from finely ground or minced meat. You can also skewer up seafood, or veggies.
Then roast or grill up those bad boys! From tapas to entrees, kebabs offer a festive and fun way to serve up food favorites. Kebabs are part of virtually every culture, too. Try something new, a family favorite, or an old traditional kebab.
Super Simple Kufta/Kafta/Kofta Bites
Every Mediterranean culture has a variation on these gems. In Armenia, my ancestors had an additional stuffed and boiled variation that was often served in soups.
½ c finely chopped sweet onion
1-2 lg eggs, beaten
½ tsp garlic powder
2 T chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp each: cumin & thyme
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ginger
2 tsp sea salt
¼ – ½ tsp black pepper
2 lbs ground lamb
After mixing all other ingredients, mix in lamb. Form 18 balls and then shape into ovals (long for entree or short for tapas). Refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 24 before cooking over med-high grill heat. (Cook or at least serve on skewers.)
KISS Tips: Add 1 tsp ground sumac for a true Mediterranean essence. If grilling on bamboo skewers, be sure to soak in warm water for at least 30 minutes beforehand to prevent burning. These are nice served as they are or with a yogurt, cucumber, tahini or other sauce for dipping.
- Soak 8 bamboo skewers in water for 30 minutes. Pat dry.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir together all ingredients except the lamb. Add the lamb and mix until just combined. Do not over-mix.
- Divide the meat into 16 sections. Mold each section of meat around a bamboo skewer, making it a few inches long and about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick. You’ll fit 2 sections of meat per skewer, about 1-2 inches apart.
- Preheat the grill to medium-high heat and oil the grates lightly. Place the skewers on the grill and cook for 2 minutes. Flip and cook for 2+ minutes more, to desired level of doneness. Time on the second side will be about 2 minutes for medium rare, 3 minutes for medium, 4 minutes for medium-well and 5 minutes for well done. (NOT recommended.)
These are great served with a Tzatziki Sauce for dipping.
Super Simple Tzatziki Sauce
1 c Greek yogurt
½ c finely diced or shredded English cucumber (peeled)
1 -2 tsp finely minced garlic
1 T lemon juice
1 tsp dill
½ tsp sea salt