Kofta were one of my students’ favorite dishes this year. I suppose they’re technically in the meatball category, but my students and I preferred to call them meat torpedoes on account of their oblong shape. This led to many ping … ping … ping … sonar imitations in class: mainly from me.
These kofta are some of the tastiest foods on Earth nomatter which shape you make them. There is some dispute about their origin, as with many Middle Eastern foods.
I couldn’t dream of unraveling the mystery or even taking a stance on who created kofta, but I can say that many Middle Eastern nations and some Northern African ones have versions of these tasty little morsels for a reason. These are a crowd pleaser with or without the accompanying tahini sauce.
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Kofta with Tahini Sauce
Adapted from “Jerusalem: A Cookbook”
For the Kofta:
1 lb. ground lamb
1 lb. ground beef
1 small onion, finely chopped and squeeze in a tea towel to remove the excess liquid
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced or pressed
7 T. toasted pine nuts, roughly chopped
½ c. chopped parsley
1 jalapeno pepper, stem and seeds removed, finely minced
1 ¾ t. ground black pepper
1 ½ t. kosher salt
1 ½ t. ground cinnamon
¾ t. ground nutmeg
Ghee or grapeseed or canola oil for frying
For the Tahini Sauce:
2/3 c. tahini
3 T. fresh lemon juice
½ c. water
Ingredients for Garnish:
Chopped toasted pine nuts
Place all the kofta ingredients except for the ghee or oil in a large bowl and mix together with your hands. Divide into 2-ounce portions and shape into torpedoes that are about 3-inches long. Use enough pressure to make them hold firmly together without mashing them. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.