Kofta Kebab
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3 or 4 sprigs cilantro
  • 3 or 4 sprigs parsley
  • 1 1⁄2 pounds lamb shoulder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of cayenne or red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
Optional accompaniments:
  • Pita, Naan, or similar soft flatbread
  • Diced and drained tomato
  • Plain yogurt, or yogurt mixed with diced and lightly salted cucumber 
Time Estimates

Prep time: 15 min  

Cook time: 25 min  

Total time: 40 min  


  1. Combine the onion, garlic, cilantro, and parsley in a food processor and chop finely.
  2. Separate the meat along the natural seams, discarding any large chunks of fat, and cut the meat into 1-inch pieces. Include any marrow from the arm bone if using shoulder chops. Add the meat, salt, and spices to the processor and process until the meat is finely chopped, the mixture forms a ball around the blade, and the fat smears the sides of the bowl. Check the seasoning (cook a bit in a skillet if you don't want to taste it raw) and adjust as needed.
  3. With hands dipped in cold water, form the meat into 12 small cylinders, each molded around a short skewer. Pack the meat firmly onto the skewers to prevent its falling apart on the grill. Chill the skewered meat until about 15 minutes before grilling.
  4. Light a moderate to hot fire in the grill. Grill the kebabs to the desired degree of doneness, about 7 minutes for medium-rare. Try to leave the meat in place on the grill for at least 4 to 5 minutes; if moved too soon, it is likely to stick or come apart. Serve on the skewers, sliding the meat off onto plates or onto soft pita or Indian-style bread, to top with tomatoes and yogurt.


Makes 4

Good to know

Cuisines all along the spice route have a tradition of molding meatball-like kofta mixtures of seasoned ground lamb onto metal skewers for grilling.

Which beer should I drink with this?

Your favorite lager, or not-too-bitter ale.

Go back to The Microbrew Lover's Cookbook index page.

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From The Microbrew Lover’s Cookbook, Copyright © 2002 by Jay Harlow. Used by arrangement with Jay Harlow.

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