Kofta meatballs are my take on the traditional kofta found in Middle Eastern cooking. Kofta is traditionally made as meat on sticks or kebobs and usually made of lamb.
While I enjoy eating kofta in this traditional way, making them into meatballs saves a lot of time on my end. I can also double this recipe for meal prep during the week by making them into meatballs which is a win for me because of less cooking.
Kofta is traditionally made with ground lamb. For my kofta, I prefer a pork and beef combination which is what is in the recipe but you can substitute lamb if you prefer.
You can also mix and match lamb with pork or lamb with beef. Whatever you prefer most. I just find ground lamb a little harder to come by so this recipe omits it.
What is the difference between kofta and regular meatballs?
One of the main differences between kofta and traditional meatballs of other cultures is the consistency of the meat before it is cooked. The raw ground meat when making kofta is mixed for a a long time to break down the protein structure of the meat.
What this looks like in the kitchen is basically placing your meat into a large bowl and mixing it vigorously for at least 5 minutes. You will begin to notice the consistency of the meat begin to change at this point.
Many Middle Eastern families swear by how long they mix their kofta for and claim to have the best recipe. It is not too different from Italian families with all of their special red sauce recipes and fighting over whose recipe is the best. Mine red sauce is the best by the way! lol
When serving my kofta meatballs, I love adding these on top of a warm bed of basmati rice and then adding a fresh feta, cucumber and tomato salad over top of that. I love the mixture of warm and cool food items together! The salad also helps lighten the heaviness of meat.
If you are looking for more meatball recipes you might want to check out my:
I hope you give this one a try! It has always been a real crowd pleaser when I make it and I am sure it will be the same for you.
- 1 lb ground beef 80-85% lean. You want a little fat here to keep the meatballs tender
- 1 lb ground pork you can substitute ground lamb for the pork
- 1 small onion grated finely on a cheese grater or microplane. You are looking for getting something similar to onion pulp instead of chunks of onion
- 2 cloves of garlic grated finely on the cheese grater or microplane
- 1 slice of bread soaked in water
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tbsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 3/4 cups water
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tomatoes cut into large chunks
- 1/2 cucumber cut into large chunks
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta
- 2 tbsp fresh dill course chopped
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lemon juiced
To make the Meatballs
- Add all of your ingredients except the bread to a large bowl
- Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees
- Now take your slice of bread that has soaked in water and pick it up a squeeze out the water
- Add the bread to the bowl with your other ingredients and mix well. Keep mixing your mixture for about 5 minutes until it starts to look smooth.
- Now grab a handful (about 1/8 cup full) of the meatball mixture and roll it into a ball.
- Place your rolled meatballs on to a baking sheet
- Continue to do this until you have made all of the meatballs
- Now place your meatballs into the oven and bake for 15 minutes
- While the meatballs are baking, I like to start making my rice and salad (directions below)
- After 15 minutes remove from the oven and turn on your broiler
- Once the broiler is ready, add your meatballs back into the oven under the broiler to crisp up on the edges (about 2-3 minutes)
- After 2-3 minutes, remove the meatballs from the oven and serve immediately with rice and your salad
- Heat your olive oil on medium high heat in a medium sauce pan with lid
- Now add your rice and mix around to coat well
- Increase the heat to high heat
- Add your water and bring to a boil
- Once it comes to a boil, add your salt, bring the temperature down to low and place the lid on top and cook for about 10 minutes or until all the water is absorbed
- Prepare your tomatoes and cucumbers by cutting them up into large cubes. It doesn't need to be perfect.
- Add this a medium bow
- Next add your feta, salt, pepper, dill, olive oil and lemon juice and mix well and set aside