Lamb Kofta (Spicy meatballs)

Lamb kofta are a really simple snack to have on their own or a great addition to a sauce to make a rich curry (I’ll save that recipe for later).  You can use beef mince if you can’t find good quality lamb mince, but it will change the flavour and lack the sweetness and depth that lamb provides.  Ok, let’s get into it.

Ingredients:

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500 grams of Lamb Mince
2 tablespoons of mixed seed (I’m using half sunflower and half pumpkin seeds, but any seeds will work – even cashew nuts go well!)
2 tsps ground coriander
2 tsps ground cumin
Chili flakes (to taste)
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp of high quality salt (or to taste, but don’t scrimp on the salt, here)
Vegetable oil for frying

Method:

Start by dry roasting your seeds over a moderate heat.  Don’t take your eyes off them as seeds can burn quickly.  Keep them moving in the pan and take off the heat when they’re golden brown on all sides.

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Pour your roasted seeds into a mortar

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And smash them with your pestle.  You don’t need to smoosh them to a powder, but make sure they’re decently ground.  You can use a grinder, too, but I have had a long day and I need the released of bashing something…DSC05032

Pour in the spices in with the lamb.

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And add in your ground seeds – the seeds give the lamb an earthiness that is missing if you went seedless – they also help with binding the meat

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Now, mix all the ingredients together.  Forget the spoon and get your hands in there (remove any rings first, of course).  Let the mince squish through your hands – this process not only helps blend the spices into the meat but also aid in creating a smoother, sausage like, texture from the mince.

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Time to make the kofta.  Wet your hands and take a small palm sized lump of meat…

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Close your palms together and roll gently (not into a ball, but more an oval patty, similar to the shape of half closed palms)

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And there’s your kofta – easy!

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Cover your finished kofta with some plastic wrap and leave in the fridge for an hour – this doesn’t only help the spices infuse a little more into the meat but also lets the meat relax a little after being mushed in your hands – this helps when it comes to the cooking

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Time for cooking.  The best flavour comes from cooking over charcoals. Second best is using a heavy cast iron grill pan.  You’ll still get good flavour from a frying pan, though.  Use a medium/low heat and generously add some vegetable oil.  I’m using about 2 tablespoons for the first 6 kofta in my medium sized grill pan.

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When the oil is hot add in your kofta, one by one.  I always put items in my pan in order so I know which ones need to be turned first.  In this case I’ve gone clockwise from the top left – a good habit to get into so you can turn your protein at the right time.

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Press down your meat a little – it’s good practice to use a flat spatula, rather than fingers but meh, I’m cooking for family and I have asbestos fingers

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Flip your kofta after pressing down

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I’m a fan of Heston’s quick flip method for cooking, which means turning your meat every 20 seconds (rather than the old school thinking of only turning once).  Keep pressing and flipping  your kofta (I’m using a spatula now after my kids came in to watch and didn’t want to set a bad example to them)

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I don’t mind my kofta being a little pink on the inside, but if you prefer yours to be cooked through then put them in an ovenproof pan and put in an oven for 10 mins at 160°C (320°F) or until cooked through.  It will be drier if you do this, but I understand lots of people like their meat to be cooked right through.

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Serve your kofta on a bed of baby spinach leaves or shredded cabbage with some mint raita. Enjoy!