These lamb skewers are boldly flavoured with cumin, sumac and harissa. The accompanying dipping sauce is both spicy and cooling – fresh green chilli brings the heat and creamy yogurt balances it. You’ll have some sauce leftover, but it’s delicious served with all kinds of grilled meat or cooked vegetables.
250g natural yogurt
40g mint leaves
1 small, hot green chilli, deseeded
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tsp light or dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 garlic clove
1 tsp cumin seeds
225g minced lamb
5g coriander leaves, finely chopped
1 tbsp harissa
2 tsp sumac
1 large egg
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Stack of pita bread, warmed
5g mint leaves
5g coriander leaves
- Make the yogurt-mint sauce. Spoon the yogurt into a shallow serving bowl. In a blender or food processor, combine the mint, chilli, lime juice, sugar, salt and several grinds of pepper. Pulse until very finely chopped. Spoon the mint mixture onto the yogurt; you can leave as is or stir the two together. Chill until ready to serve.
- Make the kofta. Using a mortar and pestle or the side of a large knife, crush the garlic into a paste. Mix the cumin into the garlic paste and smash the two together until the cumin is coarsely ground. Transfer the garlic-cumin paste to a medium bowl and add the lamb, coriander, harissa, sumac, egg, salt and lots of pepper.
- Mix well to combine (your hands are the best tool for this), then shape into 10 golf-ball-size meatballs. Pierce each meatball with a little, flat wooden skewer, then mold each into an oval shape around the skewer for the classic kofta look. (If you don’t have little skewers, don’t worry, the kofta will be just as delicious.)
- Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Swirl in the oil, then cook the meatballs until browned on one side, 3-4 minutes. Turn and fry on the other side until just cooked through, another 4 minutes or so.
- To assemble, serve the kofta on a platter or board with the bowl of yogurt-mint sauce for dipping. Stack the pita (whole or cut into wedges) alongside. Arrange the mint and coriander leaves in a little pile. Squeeze some lime juice over the herbs and season them with a pinch of salt and several grinds of pepper.
Now buy the book
Our recipes are from Boards, Platters, Plates by Maria Zizka, published by Artisan Books, price £15.99. To order a copy for £13.59 until 16 May call 020 3308 9193 or go to mailshop.co.uk/books. Free p&p on orders over £20.
Photographs: Erin Scott. © Maria Zizka 2021