This BEST Authentic beef kofta kebab Recipe is juicy, tender, and made with four simple ingredients: ground meat, onion, fresh parsley, and a blend of spices served with warm pita bread, fresh vegetables, and your favorite dipping sauce such as tzatziki sauce, tahini sauce, baba ganoush or classic hummus.
Writing about kofta reminds me of the strong aromatic smell of the hot grill when I am passing by some of the popular Kebab restaurants in the streets of Cairo.
Table of contents
- What is Kofta kebab?
- Reasons to love this dish?
- Kofta kebab Ingredients:
- How to make this Kofta kebab?
- Important tips:
- How do you get that Charcoal/grill smoky flavor and aroma?
- What are the best ways to cook koftas?
- What do you eat with kofta kebabs?
- Can you use other meats instead of beef?
- How do you store and freeze Kofta Kebab?
- Check out more Middle Eastern recipes:
What is Kofta kebab?
- Kofta Kebab is a popular Middle Eastern dish made from ground meat, usually beef, lamb, or chicken. The meat is mixed with various spices, herbs, and finely chopped onions, then shaped around skewers in a sausage-like form and grilled.
- The name “kofta” is derived from the Persian word ‘koftan,’ which means to grind, referring to the ground meat used in the dish. The term “kebab” in Arabic generally refers to any meat cooked over or next to flames.
- Each region in the Middle East has its own version of kofta kebab, with different combinations of spices and serving methods, making it a truly diverse and universally loved dish.
Reasons to love this dish?
- Flavorful: Each bite of the Beef Kofta Kebab is packed with a symphony of warm spices and flavors, creating a truly satisfying meal.
- Easy Clean up: Baking these kebabs in the oven means less mess and easier clean-up than grilling.
- Versatile: These kebabs can be served as a main course, an appetizer, or even as a party snack. It’s also adaptable – you can tweak the spices according to your preference. Also, it is perfect for sharing with family and friends on special occasions.
- Healthy: This dish provides a healthy source of protein (1) and essential nutrients by using lean ground beef and fresh herbs.
- Easy to Prepare and Quick: Beef Kofta Kebab is relatively easy to prepare and is ready in 30 minutes, making it perfect for a quick weeknight meal and easy meal prep.
Kofta kebab Ingredients:
This easy kofta kebab recipe is my go-to recipe when I am out of ideas for dinner because it needs only four simple ingredients available in your kitchen.
- Ground meat: I used ground beef for my recipe, but you can use ground lamb or a mixture of beef and lamb. Kofta requires some fat to remain juicy, so I recommend using a meat with high fat.
- Onions: I like to use red onion in my kofta because it has a sweet yet sharp flavor that adds depth and complexity to the dish.
- Fresh parsley: Adds a nice color and flavor to the kofta.
- Salt and black pepper are the main spices here.
- Spices: I like to add some fragrant spices such as paprika, seven spices, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, nutmeg and cayenne pepper.
How to make this Kofta kebab?
- Preheat your oven to 375°F and lightly grease a baking sheet with olive oil. *Soak wooden skewers in water for at least 30 minutes before cooking to prevent them from burning. If you’re using metal skewers, you can skip this step.
- Prepare the onions and parsley: First, cut off the stems, place them with onions in the food processor, and pulse until finely chopped.
- Make the kofta mixture: Add the ground beef and spices in the food processor along with onions and parsley and mix until everything is well combined. Then, transfer this meat mixture into a large bowl.
- Shape the kofta kebabs: Divide the mixture into equal portions. Take each portion and mold it around the top part of your skewer, forming a sausage-like shape or an oval. Make sure the meat is spread evenly around the skewer. Place them onto the prepared baking sheet. (Add water in a small to wet your hands; it helps the kofta won’t stick to your hand while molding).
- Bake the koftas: Bake in the preheated oven for about 12-15 minutes, or until the koftas are browned on the outside and cooked through on the inside. (See notes below to get that grilled flavor).
- Serve: Serve immediately over a bed of chopped parsley and sliced onions sprinkled with sumac and fresh tomatoes on the side.
- Note that cooking times may vary depending on your oven and the size of your koftas.
- Do not over-mix the ground beef in the food processor, leading to dry meat.
- For a flavorful and juicy kofta, choose high-quality ground meat. A mix of beef and lamb can provide a rich flavor. If you’re using only beef, opt for a blend that’s not too lean to ensure the kofta doesn’t turn out dry; use 15-20% fat.
- Koftas should be juicy and tender, not dry and hard. Be careful not to overcook them.
How do you get that Charcoal/grill smoky flavor and aroma?
- Start by selecting a piece of charcoal approximately 2-3 inches in size.
- Hold the charcoal over an open flame or stove burner using tongs for safety until fully ignited and covered with a layer of white ash.
- After preparing your charcoal, place it in a small metal bowl on the same dish as your kofta kebabs. This method ensures the charcoal doesn’t come into direct contact with the meat.
- Drizzle a spoonful of ghee, clarified butter, or oil onto the heated charcoal. You’ll notice it will immediately begin to emit smoke.
- As the smoke starts to rise, quickly cover the serving dish with aluminum foil to capture the smoke inside. Let it sit, covered, for roughly 5-15 minutes. Once the time is up, carefully remove the bowl containing the charcoal.
What are the best ways to cook koftas?
- Grilling: This is a traditional method of cooking koftas and is quite popular. You can grill the koftas over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes per side until thoroughly cooked.
- Baking: Baking is a good alternative if you don’t have a grill. You can bake the koftas on a prepared sheet pan at 375°F for about 15-18 minutes.
- Pan Frying: This method can give the koftas a nice crispy exterior while keeping the inside juicy and flavorful.
- Broiling: Arrange the koftas on a sheet pan and broil them until golden brown and cooked through.
- Air Frying: Cook the kofta skewers at 375°F for 8-10 minutes.
What do you eat with kofta kebabs?
Kofta kebabs can be paired with various side dishes for a complete and satisfying meal. Here are some options you might consider:
- Breads: Pita bread is a classic choice, providing a delicious base or accompaniment to the kebabs.
- Salads: A Fattoush salad, Greek salad, or Tabbouleh
- Rice Dishes: Vermicelli rice or yellow rice.
- Dips and Sauces: Tzatziki sauce, hummus, tahini sauce, or baba ganoush.
Can you use other meats instead of beef?
Sure, you can use ground turkey, ground chicken, ground lamb or a mixture of ground beef and lamb.
How do you store and freeze Kofta Kebab?
- Storage: Place the leftovers in airtight containers in the fridge for 3-4 days.
- Make Ahead & Freeze: Making beef kofta kebabs ahead of time is a great way to save time and hassle when preparing meals. Transfer the cooled kebabs to an airtight container or freezer bag. When ready to use, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight and reheat them in the microwave or oven on medium heat.