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.

TOTAL TIME: 1 hr 5 min
Prep: 15 min
Inactive Prep: 30 min
Cook: 20 min
YIELD: 4 to 6 servings
LEVEL: Intermediate

ingredients

KEBABS:
  • 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
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Directions

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.

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.

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)
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
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.

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.

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.

Yield: 1 1/4 cups
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 1 hour
Ease of preparation: easy

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