Middle Eastern lamb kofta balls shallow fried in olive oil, served with flatbreads and garlic lemon sauce.
As I grew up in the Middle East my love for Middle Eastern food also grew. The flavours are beautiful, the food is always prepared with the freshest ingredients and the food is healthy too. I love the fact that the Middle Eastern cuisine uses a lot of protein and veg in the food. My favourite thing is the mezze, you know all the amazing dips like Hummus, Mtabbal and Baba Ganoush served with freshly baked pita bread? And then you have all the incredible salads like Tabouleh and Fatoush.
For the main course, it usually includes either meat, chicken or fish. And you probably have heard of and maybe tried Kofta or Kufta before, as it’s a popular dish in South Asia, not just the Middle East. It’s also popular in Turkey, Greece, Cyprus and even Russia (called Tiftele) and Romania (Chiftele). Each country, of course, has its own version, and the version that I’m sharing with you today is the Jordanian one.
What is kofta?
Kofta is usually made with minced beef, lamb or chicken or a mixture or beef and lamb. Mixed with diced onions, garlic and herbs. In South Asia, the koftas are usually cooked in curries or sauces, while in the Middle East the koftas are fried in olive oil and served with vegetables or baked in tomato or tahini sauce.
The most popular kind of Kofta in Jordan is lamb kofta. This is also my family’s
In Jordan, Koftas are either shaped like meatballs by mixing the ground meat with ground black pepper, salt, diced onion and chopped herbs like parsley and mint leaves. And then fried in olive oil or cooked in tomato or tahini sauce. Another version is by spreading out the meat in a semi-shallow baking pan and topping it with either tomato and possibly potato slices which is then baked in the oven. Or cooking the spreaded kofta or kofta balls with tahini sauce in the oven.
The simplest version is to fry the koftas in olive oil, and eat them with flatbreads and a simple garlic sauce. I love such easy and healthy dishes that I can quickly make at home for a delicious mid-week dinner.
MIDDLE EASTERN VEGAN GARLIC SAUCE (TOUM)
This sauce is very popular in the Middle East and is usually served with Falafel, Shawerma or Sheesh Tawooq. I like to serve it with these simple kebabs. The traditional sauce is made with sunflower or canola oil, garlic cloves, lemon juice, water and salt. All of the ingredients are then added to a food processor and processed until you reach a smooth consistency.
TIP: Make sure that the food processor doesn’t get too hot as sauce might start separating. I use ice cold water to make sure that this does not happen.
The sauce that you can see in the picture is exactly as explained above, but I also added parsley leaves to the food processor and some extra lemon juice.
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Middle Eastern Lamb Kofta Balls
- 1 kg ground lamb
- 1 onion sliced
- 2 garlic cloves
- 15 grams parsley
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- In a food processor, add all ingredients and process until onion and parsley are finely chopped and well mixed with the meat.
- shape the lamb mixture into meat balls. Make sure that the size of the koftas is even.
- In a pan, heat olive oil and fry the Koftas on medium heat until brown on all sides.
- Serve with flatbreads, and garlic sauce.