Middle Eastern Grilled Kofta Kebabs Recipe

Kofta Kebabs
Philip Wilkins/Photolibrary/Getty Images
Total Time: 18 min
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 8 min
Servings: 4

Nutrition Highlights (per serving)

197 calories
12g fat
3g carbs
18g protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving  
Calories 197
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g 15%
Saturated Fat 5g 25%
Cholesterol 63mg 21%
Sodium 1178mg 51%
Total Carbohydrate 3g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 0g  
Includes 0g Added Sugars 0%
Protein 18g  
Vitamin D 0mcg 0%
Calcium 51mg 4%
Iron 3mg 17%
Potassium 314mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Kofta kebabs are a popular dish in the Middle East. You might not want to bother making these deliciously spiced patties into kebabs, but you can put them on skewers if you want. This easy recipe has a nice amount of heat that can be adjusted to your tastes.


  • 2 cloves minced garlic or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 pound ground meat
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander seed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin seed
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • A pinch of cayenne or other hot pepper (or a little Harissa paste)
  • 3 tablespoons finely minced onion or 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • Salt (about 1-1/2 teaspoons works well)


  1. If you plan to use wooden skewers, soak them in water for about 1 hour and remove them when you're ready to use them.

  2. Lightly oil the grates on your grill and preheat for about 20 minutes on medium high.

  3. Mash the garlic into a paste with the flat side of your knife or with a mortar and pestle.

  4. Squeeze any water out of the meat.

  5. In a large bowl, mix the garlic in with the meat, along with the coriander seed, cumin seed, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, black pepper, cayenne, onion, parsley, and salt. Mix until well-blended.

  6. Mold into long meatballs, about 3 to 4 inches long and 1-1/2 inches in diameter, and put on skewers to grill. (Skewers are totally optional.)

  7. Grill the kebabs on medium high for about 4 minutes.

  8. Turn over and grill for another 3 to 4 minutes.

Ingredient Substitutions and Cooking Tips

  • It's easiest to mix all the ingredients together, but you might find that the flavors come out a little more if you warm the spices in about a tablespoon of olive oil until they sizzle.
  • These kebabs can be made with any kind of ground meat or ground meat blend, including the traditional lamb, though the nutrition information here is calculated using 80 percent lean beef.
  • Try serving with tzatziki with mint, a yogurt cucumber side dish that pairs well with these kebabs, and a salad.
  • These are also delicious served with pita bread or flatbread, lettuce, tomato, and yogurt.
  • Another tasty option is to serve the kebabs over rice with a variety of dipping sauces.
  • Try mincing your onion and garlic in a food processor and then adding everything else into the processor and mixing well.
  • Go ahead and make the kebabs ahead of time. When you're finished, put them on a baking sheet and cover. Refrigerate for up to 12 hours before grilling.
  • To save money, buy your spices in bulk at a health food store, Middle Eastern, or Asian market.

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