Kofte Kebabs

31 10 2010

 Anyone who has read my recipes before will possibly have noticed that I really do like Greek and Turkish food quit a lot, so much in fact that it is probably a very good thing that both cuisines can be some of the healthiest around.

 Kofte or Kefte or Kofta depending on where you are from are made of ground meat such as lamb that is worked with until it is almost like a paste mixed with herbs and spices and then formed into balls, cigar like sausages or worked around a stick before grilling – delicious 🙂

I happen to be particularly fond of a version that I used to have at a Turkish restaurant back home and that I finally managed to get right after many attempts. Whilst you can use most meats and even fish to make your kofte I find lamb to be the best however I do like a 50/50 mix of lamb and beef as well.

Ingredients:

500 g of ground lamb
1 handfull of parsley (stalks removed)
1 slice of white bread with the crust removed
1 medium red onion
1 garlic clove
1 egg
~12 mint leaves
1/4 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp black
1/2 tsp salt

Method:

When you buy your minced lamb ask the butcher to mince it twice for you to try and get it as fine and smooth as possibly, if you don’t visit a butcher and don’t have access to a mincer at home then place the mince on a chopping board and using 2 knives try and break it down as much as possible- imagine you are playing the drums!

Very lightly toast your slice of bread and using a food processor turn it into bread crumbs, if you don’t have a food processor then it looks like you will get to work on your drum skills again.

Peel your onion and garlic and dice both as finely as you can, also at this point chop up your parsely and mint leaves finely.

Beat together your egg .

Add all of your dry ingredients to a mixing bowl which has been greased with a little bit of olive oil and give them a rough mix together. Now add in your beaten egg and really mix everything together well, you don’t want any pockets of meat that haven’t been seasoned or any big clumps of breadcrumbs.

Once your mixture is well mixed together cover the bowl with a clingfilm/a teatowel and pop in the fridge for at least 30 mins.

After taking your mix out of the fridge divide it into equal amounts and shape it as you wish; either into little meatballs, cigar like sausages, patties or shaped around a wooden skewer.

Now for the cooking, pop your koftes onto a nice hot charcoal grill / bbq or if you don’t have a grill/bbq available you can pop them into a hot frying pan.

Cook the kofte until they are done, if you split this amount of mixture into 15 small sausages you will need to give them 3/4 minutes each, different sized portions will differ accordingly.

Serve with some natural yoghurt, a nice simple salad and some flat bread.

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Pitta-Gyros Recipe

1 10 2010

I recently posted my recipe for healthy, tasty, homemade flatbreads and mentioned at the time that I had been seriously craving some pitta-gyros like I used to have back home.

Well we have two options in life, light a candle or curse the darkness or in my case bitch and moan or get cooking…

So here is what to do if like me you fancy a delicious and surprisingly healthy taste of Greece:

Pitta-Gyros

Approx 1 kg of pork loin – you can use shoulder or most other cuts but loin is what I had to hand

Dried Oregano

Sweet Paprika

Coarse Sea Salt

Black Pepper

1tsp Dried Chili Flakes

Olive Oil

To Serve:

8-10 Flatbreads – Click here for the recipe

1 carrot peeled and shredded

2 or 3 tomatoes finely sliced

1 large red onion finely sliced

Tzatziki

Using a sharp knife cut thin slices from your piece of pork and then pound them flat (a cleaver works well)

place the pork into a large bowl and add in  plenty of the dried oregano (I use roughly 1  1/2 tablespoons but adjust to suit your tastes) a good 2 tsp of paprika, the dried chili flakes, a generous pinch of sea salt and the same of black pepper.

Mix everything together with your hands so that all of the meat is covered with the herbs and spices, pour in enough olive oil that all of the meat is coated. Cover with cling film and leave in the fridge for at least an hour, the longer the better.

When you are ready to cook and eat your Pitta Gyros take your meat out of the fridge and cut it into strips, fry in a dry pan until the edges just start to blacken and the pork is cooked through – please ensure that the pork is cooked for the sake of your health!

Pop the pork in an oven proof dish, cover with some tinfoil and place in  a low oven to keep warm.

At this point make your flatbreads and then serve with the shredded onion, carrot, tomatoes and tzatziki and a little extra paprika on top.

Delicious!





Turkish Lahmacun

22 03 2010

If there is one thing that I miss about the UK, and let’s face it there aren’t that many things, it’s the wonderful variety of different cuisines that are available to you on your doorstep, particularly where I am from in East London.

One of the many styles of food that I get a craving for quite regularly is Turkish and when I get that itch there is really and truly only one thing that is going to scratch it – Lahmacun.

These delicious little flat breads topped with spicy meat and a tangy peppery sauce are divine and as soon as you try them you will see why!

As I haven’t got a Turkish or Greek deli anywhere near me I have had to make some substitutions for a couple of ingredients however it isn’t many and the Lahmacun still taste great!

Ingredients:

10 mexican tortillas or any other type of flat bread
500 gr lean ground beef or lamb
2 medium onions
1 handful of parsley finely chopped
1 tbsp red pepper paste*
2 large tomatoes, seeds discarded
1 tsp flaked peppers or 1 red chilli de-seeded and very finely chopped
1 garlic clove
1 tsp salt

Method:

Chop and mix together all the ingredients except the ground beef / lamb. When it is well mixed together  knead it in with the ground beef. Put the mixture into a plastic bag and Refrigerate for about an hour, then let it stand on the work surface for 20 minutes or so before cooking.

Set the oven to about 180 and make sure you have two baking trays ready. Take some of the topping  and spread it over the flat bread as one even layer.

Place on the baking trays and put the trays on the second rack from the top in the oven. Bake for about 3-4 minutes, making sure not to burn the edges of the bread.

Place a paper towel at the bottom of a large pot. Fold the cooked Lahmacun in half and put them in the pot to keep them warm with the lid closed.

 When all are of the lahmacun are cooked, serve with a simple side salad while they’re still warm.

* If you can’t find turkish red pepper paste then you can follow the recipe here in order to make your own.








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