Thursday, October 06, 2011

Kofta

Oh, Kofta. The jewel of my eye, truly. Kofta, the lovely grilled meatballs who sometimes define my very existence, is generally the highlight of my week when I eat them. They, like falafel, are so very much my favourite dishes that I unfairly judge every Middle Eastern restaurant by them. If they're excellent, I fall head over heels with the restaurant. If they're not that good, it's unlikely I'll eat there again (which of course means I don't ever get to find out what they actually do well). But there you have it. It occurred to me that I never did tell you how I like to make kofta, and so today is that day. The other bit of happiness is that these are perfect with the toum you know how to make, with tahini sauce, with mast-o-khiar (this recipe will be along sometime soon, but you can use homemade or store-bought tzaziki if you prefer), etc. Kids like them because they're kind of like breadless hamburgers on sticks, and adults love them because they're delicious. They're easy to make and highly adaptable, so please change the spices and such to suit your own personal tastes. I generally serve this with hummus, sauces, fresh pita, raw or grilled tomatoes and raw or grilled onions, plus some tabouleh or whatever other sides I felt like making that day. Hope you enjoy!

1 small yellow onion, peeled and trimmed, then cut into large chunks
1/4 - 1/2 cup each: parsley, mint
salt and pepper to taste (I use kind of a lot, so don't ask about my quantities)
1/2 - 1 full batch kebab spices
1/8 cup bulghur wheat
2 cups water
1 pound ground lamb (if you prefer beef, use that)

Put wheat and water in a bowl and let soak for a half hour. Drain well. In a small blender or food processor, combine onion, herbs, salt, pepper and spice mix. Blend into a paste (alternately, you could use a knife to accomplish this, but prepared to be at it a while). Mix together wheat, meat and onion-herb paste until it's one cohesive unit. Split the mixture into four pieces and make a ball. Thread each ball onto a skewer (or if you're using massive skewers like I am, two per skewer), and then work the mixture out until it looks like a log on the skewer. Grill. Serves 2-4.

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