Kofta with Yogurt-Tahini Sauce
4 servings
Adapted from Tartine All Day: Modern Recipes for the Home Cook by Elisabeth PrueittI changed the recipe a bit, grating the onions rather than chopping them. While red pepper flakes probably aren’t traditional, I liked the little bit of spiciness they added. If you have it, you could try these with Lebanese spice mixture, baharat in place of the ras el hanout, which would add another kind of spicy aroma.Because Elizabeth is gluten-intolerant, she uses quinoa in her kofta. She cooks 1/4 cup (45g) of rinsed quinoa in 1/2 (125ml) water with a large pinch of salt for 15 minutes in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat and let sit for 15 minutes, covered. To plump bulgur, start with the same amount of bulgur and hot water, bring to a boil, cover, then remove from heat. Drain and gently squeeze out any extra water. But different types of bulgur can vary so check the instructions for the bulgur that you’re using for recommendations on how to prepare it.I prefer to use regular, rather than Greek yogurt, for the sauce. Greek yogurt is quite thick and if you do use it, you may need to thin it with water or milk.
For the kofta
1 pound (450g) ground lamb
1/4 cup (60g) cooked bulgur or quinoa, (see headnote)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt
1 teaspoon ras el hanout
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1 small onion, peeled
For the yogurt-tahini sauce
1/3 cup (80g) tahini
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt
1 cup (240g) plain yogurt, preferably not Greek yogurt
2 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
big pinch cayenne pepper or hot red pepper powder
1. Soak 8 wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes. Put all the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl, except for the onion.
2. Grate the onion into the bowl with the other ingredients.
3. Use your hands to gently mix the ingredients together until well-combined, but do not overmix them, which can make the kofta tough.
4. Divide the ground lamb mixture into 8 portions and using your hands, shape one part into an oval about 4-inches (10cm) long. Press one skewer in the center then use your hands to mold the lamb around the skewer, finishing by pressing it flat. Lay it on a tray or plate, and repeat with the remaining ground lamb and skewers.
5. The skewers can be cooked over a hot grill, brushed with oil, until cooked through, or in a grill-pan or skillet on the stovetop, turning them over midway during cooking. They’ll take about 6 to 8 minutes, total, to cook.
Yogurt-Tahini Sauce
1. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the tahini, garlic and salt.
2. Stir in the yogurt, lemon juice, parsley and red pepper, until smooth. If the sauce is too thick, thin it with a small amount of water or milk. Add additional salt, lemon juice and pepper, to taste.

Serving: Serve the kofta warm with the yogurt-tahini sauce. It goes well the flatbread, as part of a meze (appetizer) platter, with a green salad, or alongsideĀ tabbouleh. Instead of the Yogurt-Tahini Sauce, you could also serve them with Tzatziki.

Storage: The uncooked kofta can be kept in the refrigerator for up to two days. The mixture can be frozen for up to two months. The sauce can be made up to five days ahead.