Lamb koftas are one of my favourite starters if I go to an Indian restaurant. Minced lamb is a meat that soaks all the flavours really well, and served with a nice cucumber raitha they are so tasty. They are really simple and perfect for many an occasion - buffets, barbeques as well as part of an Indian meal.
Kofta is probably derived from Persian/Arabic meaning 'to beat' or grind. Certainly derivations of the word are common all over the middle east and into parts of eastern Europe.
The original koftas were made into balls rather than the typical sausage shape we usually see today, and often contained hard boiled eggs these are nargisi kofta, rather like the British Scotch egg (which was probably inspired by these anyway) Koftas can also be made of a vast variety of other things such as prawns, beef, chicken and are sometimes 'padded out' with bulgar wheat or rice or vegetables.
Notes on Ingredients
Onion. This is optional and most recipes I have read don't include it - I like it
Coriander leaves. You can use mint instead if you wish.
Chilli. I use about ½ to 1 teaspoon dried chillis but you can use chilli powder or fresh chilli to your own taste
Salt is optional but I think lamb mince usually benefits from a little salt - about ½ teaspoon
Peel and grate the onion
Peel and finely chop the garlic
Roast the coriander and cumin seeds in a dry frying pan for a minute or so then grind to a fine paste
Chop up the coriander leaves
If you are using fresh chilli then chop these very finely
Mix all the ingredients together
Divide the meat into about 10 ball and roll these out into sausage shapes
Cook under a medium high grill for about 8- 10 minute turning occasionally
Notes on Method
Lamb koftas really are pretty simple. You can cook them on a barbeque on skewers if you wish, soak wooden skewers in water before using.
As you are rolling them out a little flour is a good idea. This stops them sticking to your hands and surfaces too much and also acts as a bit of a binding agent.
Some recipes suggest brushing with a little oil before grilling I don't usually bother but it does make the outsite a bit crispier and so the koftas don't fall apart so easily.
You really can make your lamb koftas to suit yourself. Grated ginger gives a nice zing to them and you can use other spices if you wish. You can't really use big chunks of food but if you are prepared to chop things very finely then red peppers are really nice. Ground bulgar wheat is also a common addition in the middle east
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