These are easily one of my family’s favourites from all of Ottolenghi’s recipe books. They are so easy to make… and eat! I also love that you can pre-make the sauce and Koftas and leave them in the fridge until they are ready to use, making dinner time cooking super fast!
I serve them with warmed flat breads, the tahini sauce from the recipe, and a finely sliced white cabbage and red onion salad, dressed simply with freshly squeezed lemon juice. Then we basically we all make up our own Kofta Kebabs and eat until we nearly pop as they are so delicious.
Ottolenghi’s recipe uses a hot red chile which I leave out as Evie, my 9-year-old, hasn’t quite got the chile bug yet, but there will always be some freshly sliced red chillies to be found on the side as well.
The original recipe that follows is taken directly from Yotam Ottolenghi’s “Jerusalem” Cookbook, but I made the following changes…
*I used Tahini paste rather than Light tahini paste, because I can’t buy it here.
**I had to use pork mince instead of ground veal as again I can’t buy it locally.
***I omit the Red Chile and slice one one the side instead.
****I put all the Kofta ingredients in my stand mixer and use the dough hook to mix it all together as I really dislike the feeling of the minced meat under my fingernails!
*150g Light Tahini Paste
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed Lemon Juice
1 medium clove of garlic, crushed
30g unsalted Butter (optional)
400g ground Lamb
**400g ground Veal
150g onion, finely chopped
2 large cloves of Garlic, crushed
50g Pine Nuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
30g Flat-leaf Parsley, finely chopped
***1 large medium-hot Red Chile, seed and finely chopped
1½ teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1½ teaspoon ground Allspice
¾ teaspoon grated Nutmeg
1½ teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
1½ teaspoon Salt
Toasted Pine Nuts
Flat-leaf Parsley, finely chopped
Prep the Koftas:
****Put all the ingredients in a bowl and use your hands to mix everything together well.
Now shape into long, torpedo-like fingers, roughly 8cm long and 60g each. Press the mix to compress it and ensure each kofta is tight and keeps it’s shape. Arrange on a plate and chill until you are ready to cook them, for up to one day.
Make the Tahini Sauce:
In a medium bowl, whisk together the tahini paste, lemon juice, water, garlic and ¼ teaspoon of salt. The sauce should be a bit runnier than honey; add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water if needed. [Put in an air-tight bowl and chill until needed. Bring to room temperature before serving]
Cook the Koftas:
Preheat the oven to 425℉/220℃.
Heat the sunflower oil in a large frying pan over high heat and sear the kofta. Do this in batches so they are not cramped together. Sear them on all sides until golden brown, about 6 minutes per batch. At this point, they should be medium rare. Lift out of the pan and arrange on a baking sheet. If you want to cook them medium or well done, put the baking sheet in the oven now for 2-4 minutes.
[Obviously if you are using pork instead of veal then you need to make sure they are well done, not medium. I also put the flat breads into the oven to warm at this time too and make a white cabbage and red onion side salad]
Spoon the tahini sauce around the kofta so it covers the base of the pan. If you like, also drizzle some over the kofta, but leave some of the meat exposed. Place in the oven for a minute or two, just to warm up the sauce a little.
Meanwhile, if you are using the butter, melt it in a small saucepan and allow it to brown a little, taking care that it doesn’t burn. Spoon the butter over the kofta as soon as they come out of the oven.
Scatter with the pine nuts and parsley and then sprinkle with the paprika. Serve at once.
This recipe has been taken from “Jerusalem”, by Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi
Jerusalem Cookbook: https://ottolenghi.co.uk/books/jerusalem-shop
Ottolenghi Website: https://ottolenghi.co.uk
Ottolenghi Store: https://ottolenghi.co.uk/shop-online