Recipe courtesy of Mike's City Diner

Kofta Kebabs

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 4 hr 15 min (includes marinating time)
  • Active: 1 hr 15 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
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Tzatziki Sauce:

1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt

1/2 English cucumber, seeded and finely diced 

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 

2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped 

2 cloves garlic, mashed into paste 

Kosher salt and pepper

Harissa Sauce:

2 red bell peppers, halved and seeded

6 Fresno chile peppers 

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for salting water 

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds 

1/4 teaspoon caraway seeds 

1/2 teaspoon dried mint 

1/4 cup vegetable oil 

3 garlic cloves 

3 lemons, juiced 

1/4 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 

Tahini Sauce:

1 cup sesame tahini

3/4 cup cold water 

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice 

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 cloves garlic, crushed 


1 1/2 pounds 80/20 finely ground beef, lamb or a mixture of the two

2 teaspoons ground allspice 

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg 

1 tablespoon kosher salt 

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon fine black pepper 

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 

2 cloves garlic, minced 

1 finely chopped small yellow onion 

1/2 bunch finely chopped fresh parsley 

Pita bread 

Butter, for pita

Serving suggestion: pickled turnips, fattoush salad


Special equipment:
4 to 6 metal skewers
  1. For the tzatziki sauce: Strain Greek yogurt through a paper-towel lined colander and let sit for 3 hours to thicken, refrigerated.
  2. Fold the yogurt with cucumbers, fresh lemon juice, mint, crushed garlic cloves, salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. For the harissa sauce: Char red bell peppers over an open flame, then remove seeds and clean the skin.
  4. Boil Fresno chiles in salted water in a pot on medium heat until the vegetables start to soften. Drain, then deseed and remove the membranes of the chiles.
  5. Toast cumin seeds, coriander and caraway seeds in a skillet until fragrant. Crush the toasted spices in a spice grinder with mint and salt until finely ground.
  6. Blend the spice mixture with the roasted red bell peppers, Fresno chiles, vegetable oil, garlic and lemon juice until smooth. Drizzle in olive oil while blending.
  7. For the tahini sauce: Blend tahini, water, lemon juice, salt and garlic.
  8. For the kebabs: Mix ground beef, allspice, nutmeg, salt, cinnamon, pepper, ginger, garlic, onion and parsley in a bowl by hand, then refrigerate overnight.
  9. Form the mixture into 4 to 6 balls, then put each on a metal skewer. Lengthen the meat into elongated kebab shapes and grill over medium heat, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
  10. Warm the pita with a little butter and swipe with the tzatziki sauce. Top with the kebab, then squirt with tahini sauce and harissa sauce.