LAMB KOFTAS with flatbread and yogurt
These little north African babies are in constant demand in our house – so easy to make and simply delicious.
This quantity should serve 8 people, with some left over… (often these are piled high on a large platter to feed 50 or more, so just ramp up the quantities as you need it but check seasoning more carefully)
Your best friend for this recipe is a food processor.
First turn on the oven to 180C. Prepare one or two flat roasting trays, very lightly oiled. (By this I mean put some oil on a kitchen towel and wipe it over the tray. You don’t want oil sitting in the tray itself).
Put into the food processor the following ingredients: two medium onions chopped in half, one little finger length red chilli (plus or minus seeds depending on how hot you like it), two fat cloves of garlic, 1.5 tablespoons of freshly roasted whole cumin seed (please don’t use old, stale ground cumin that’s been in the back of the cupboard for a year or five), one flat dessert spoon sea salt, 750g good quality minced lamb and a few grinds of black pepper. Pulse the ingredients in the food processor first till they begin to blend – remember yours might not be as large as mine so you might need to do it in two batches – and then process for about 30 seconds till it looks like the consistency of sausage-meat.
Put all the ingredients in one bowl. Have another bowl beside it filled with hand-hot water, and have some kitchen towel handy
Take walnut sized pieces of the meat mixture and form into balls or torpedoes, wetting your hands frequently to prevent the meat sticking to them. Wipe your hands on the kitchen towel occasionally if you’re getting sticky. Depending on what size you form the Koftas into, you will need one or two roasting trays. Simply lay them out side by side with just 1cm clearance then put in the oven and roast for no more than 8 minutes. They should be brown and sizzling, but soft. So be careful not to overcook – remember they will carry on cooking for a couple of minutes after you take them out of the oven, so if anything take them out when they are just underdone.
Remove from roasting trays after 5 minutes and pile onto a platter or large bowl which has been generously covered with lots of very thinly sliced tomato, very thinly sliced onion and chopped coriander, well seasoned and drizzled with olive oil. Squeeze the juice of one lemon over the koftas.
Eat the koftas with the juicy piquant salad folded into rich warm flatbread or pitta, and have a bowl of creamy natural yogurt with bright green mint chopped into it to dollop on the top.
If you are very lucky there will be three or four left over when everyone has gone home and you can eat them while you are clearing up. If there are none left over you will know its a great recipe and make more next time!