This Lamb Kofta recipe is so good! I love making this dish because it packs a TON of flavor. I always double the recipe because the leftover lamb kofta is my favorite to eat the next day cold over a simple salad, but it also reheats really well!
We love pairing our lamb kofta over a bed of fragrant basmati rice and serving it with shredded lettuce with tomatoes and cucumbers for a it of crunch and freshness. A side of tzatziki (cucumber yogurt sauce) and hummus, if you have it, are also really nice additions to this meal!
What is Lamb Kofta?
Lamb kofta is a Middle Eastern dish made up of ground lamb, onion, garlic, a variety of spices, formed into a log, balls or patties and grilled. The dish is often found both skewered, kabob style, and not skewered, depending on cooking style and preference.
Our version uses shallots instead of onion and lightly sautés the shallot, garlic and spices before adding it to the ground lamb for a less acidic and more melt in your mouth flavor and texture.
Where is Lamb Kofta From?
Lamb Kofta is mostly associated with Middle Eastern cuisine, but the dish is actually found in a lot of different places. It’s not clear where Lamb Kofta specifically originated from. India, and Central Asia are among some of them. The dish varies depending on where it is from. Middle Easters koftas are usually made from lamb.
A lot of people ask if Lamb Koftas are Greek? There is a Greek version of Lamb Kofta. Greek or Balkin versions typically use beef, pork, and lamb together, or just one variety. In India, there are vegetarian versions of kofta prepared with ingredients like potatoes, banana, paneer, or calabash, and most often served with a curry or gravy.
How to Make Our Lamb Kofta Recipe
- Place a skillet over medium-high heat. Once skillet is hot, add some oil. Add shallot, garlic and ginger (if using fresh minced) to skillet and sauté.
- Add cumin and coriander (and ginger, if using ground dry) and continue to sauté. Lightly season with salt and pepper.
- Remove shallot mixture from heat and slightly cool.
- In a mixing bowl combine ground lamb, shallot mixture, parsley, and mint. Season with salt and cracked black pepper.
- Mix together until fully combined.
- Divide mixture into 6 equal portions and with wet hands form each portion of lamb into a log shape. Press a skewer into the center of each lamb log and form the meat around the skewer until secure.
- Place large grill pan over medium-high heat. Once pan is hot, brush with remaining oil and add skewers. Grill skewers on each side until just cooked through with nice grill marks. Remove from heat, transfer to a platter.
Tools You Will Need
What to serve with Lamb Kofta
The best part of this Lamb Kofta recipe are all the accompaniments. We love the fact you can pick and choose from a big plate of delicious sides. Our favorite thing to do is to make a Lamb Kofta taco. We love wrapping the kofta in pita and smothering it with tzatziki, before topping it will lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes. Here is a list of really delicious pairing suggestions:
- tzatziki – the creamy sauce goes so well with the lamb
- sliced cucumbers – we love the crunch of the cucumber and bright flavor
- basmati rice – the aroma of basmati rice is a favorite of ours
- lettuce – shredded romaine lettuce! Just like from the cucumber, we love the crunchy texture and fresh, mild flavor, but you can use any lettuce of your choice!
- sliced/diced tomatoes or halved cherry tomatoes – the sweet acidity creates a nice balance from the lamb
- pita bread – we love stuffing everything into a nice piece of pita for the perfect bite. If you grill it, even better!
- fresh lemon wedges or halves to squeeze on top of everything
- chopped parsley – to garnish everything
- mint leaves
- cilantro leaves
- sliced red onion
Variations for Our Lamb Kofta Recipe
- If you don’t have skewers, or don’t want to fuss with skewers you can make these into meatballs or patties.
- Use other kinds of lean ground meat – if you don’t like lamb, you can substitute for ground chicken, pork, or beef.
- If you don’t have shallots, you can substitute with diced sweet onion.
Tips and Tricks for Lamb Kofta Success
- Make sure to pre-soak your skewers if you are using wood or bamboo. You don’t want them to catch on fire!
- Be sure to not over mix the ground lamb mixture when you are combining all of the ingredients together to avoid the lamb getting tough when grilled.
- When you form the skewers, we find it easiest to have a bowl of water next to you so you can dip your hands in it while forming the skewers or meatballs. This will prevent the meat mixture from sticking to your hands.
- If you are nervous about cooking meat, we get it! It’s always such a bummer to under cook or over cook your meat. We suggest you invest in a nice instant read thermometer. The thermapen we linked to is expensive, but so so worth it! For ground lamb, you want an internal temperature of 160°F
More Lamb Recipes You Will Love
- Lamb Meatballs
- Herb Crusted Leg of Lamb
- Spiced Lamb with Roasted Hummus
- Grilled Rack of Lamb
- Garlic Butter Lamb Chops
- Lamb Kababs
Watch our Lamb Kofta recipe Google Web Story!
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- 6 bamboo skewers (12” long and 1/2” wide), soaked in water (~30 minutes)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, divided
- 1 small shallot, minced (about 3 tablespoons)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon minced (or ground) ginger
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 pound ground lamb
- ½ bunch parsley, finely chopped
- ¼ bunch mint leaves, finely chopped
- salt and cracked black pepper to taste
- Place small skillet over medium-high heat. Once skillet is hot, add 1 teaspoon oil. Add shallot, garlic and ginger (if using fresh minced) to skillet and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add cumin and coriander (and ginger, if using dry ground) and continue to sauté for 1 minute. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Remove shallot mixture from heat and slightly cool, about 10 minutes.
- In a large mixing bowl combine ground lamb, shallot mixture, parsley, and mint. Season with salt and cracked black pepper.
- Mix together until fully combined.
- Divide mixture into 6 equal portions and with wet hands form each portion of lamb into a 1 ½” by 7” log. Press a skewer into the center of each lamb log and form the meat around the skewer until secure, leaving about a 4” handle on the bottom and a 1” handle on top.
- Place large grill pan over medium-high heat. Once pan is hot, brush with remaining oil and add skewers, about 1” apart. Grill skewers on each side, for 6 to 8 minutes or until just cooked through, with nice grill marks. Remove from heat, transfer to a platter
- Serve with a bed of basmati rice and a romaine, cucumber and tomato side salad and hummus of choice. Serve.
- *Makes 6 (7” each) Kebabs