Kofta Kebabs with Tzatziki

Whether it's Indonesian satay, French brochette, or Turkish kebab, food on a stick is just plain fun. "Kofta" refers to kebabs made with ground rather than cubed meat.
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 5 min
  • Prep: 15 min
  • Inactive: 30 min
  • Cook: 20 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
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Ingredients

Kebabs: 

4 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus a pinch

1 pound ground beef chuck or lamb

3 tablespoons grated onion

3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Freshly ground black pepper

Olive oil, for brushing the grill

Tzatziki, recipe follows

Grilled flat bread

Tzatziki: Yogurt Sauce (Greek yogurt and cucumber sauce)

2 cups plain whole milk yogurt or 1 cup Middle Eastern-style plain yogurt

1 medium cucumber, peeled, halved, and seeded

2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus a pinch

1/2 clove garlic

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon dried mint, crumbled

Directions

  1. Smash the garlic cloves, sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt, and, with the flat side of a large knife, mash and smear mixture to a coarse paste. Mix the paste and the remaining 1 tablespoon salt with the meat, onion, parsley, and spices. 
  2. Line a pan with aluminum foil. Divide the meat mixture into 28 rough balls. Mold each piece around the pointed end of a skewer (if you use wooden ones, soak them in water for 15 minutes before threading them), making a 2-inch oval kebab that comes to a point just covering the tip of the skewer. Lay the skewers on the pan, cover, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 12 hours. 
  3. Heat a grill pan over medium heat or prepare a grill. Brush the pan lightly with olive oil. Working in batches, grill the kebabs, turning occasionally, until brown all over and just cooked through, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter and serve with tzatziki and flat bread.

Tzatziki: Yogurt Sauce (Greek yogurt and cucumber sauce)

  1. If you're using plain whole milk yogurt, line a small sieve with a coffee filter. Put the yogurt in it, set it over a bowl, and refrigerate 12 hours. Discard the expressed liquid and put yogurt in the bowl. 
  2. Grate the cucumber on the large holes of a box grater into another bowl. Sprinkle with the 2 teaspoons salt and rub into the cucumber with your hands. Set aside 20 minutes, then squeeze the cucumbers to express as much liquid as possible. 
  3. Smash the garlic, sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt, and, with the flat side of a large knife, mash and smear the mixture to a coarse paste. Stir the cucumber, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and mint into the yogurt. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. 
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