Beef Kofta is generally ground beef with bulghur formed into skewers and grilled. This is how I make soft oven baked (or grilled) kofta, the juiciest you’ll ever have.
Try out this innovative meatballs with mashed potato, called Hassan Pasha.
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This is not just another meatball recipe, I will share with you my family’s secrets to a tender and juicy kofta, that everyone of my friends has been asking me about.
Kofta is usually and traditionally made into cigar or log forms, but you can shape them into rounded meatballs to avoid any inappropriate comments and giggles from kids … if you know what I mean. You can even shape it into a patties to make a middle eastern burger.
How to make kofta soft and tender
Here are my family’s tips for making a soft and juicy kofta.
Tip#1 : Use a bun
Yes, a bun you read it right, my mom, grandma and even great grandma used to soak a piece of bread in water until it softens then squeeze the water out and mix it with the ground meat and do not worry it will not appear as chunks in your meatballs.
Tip#2: Add a little flour
This I’ve found to be a very good tip as it helps in shaping the kofta and maintaining its shape.
Tip#3: Cook in the oven first
I like cooking mine in the oven for 10-15 minutes before grilling them for another 5. Covering the pan with foil and letting them cook in the oven helps kofta to stay tender and juicy and not to dry so fast also it helps them not sticking to the grill racks. Then you just put them on the grill to get those grilling marks and to brown a little more.
Tip#4: Use lamb/beef combination
My late brother in law said that kofta has to have lamb fat, so you should use half beef and half lamb or use 85% ground beef and 15% pure lamb fat. If you’ve been following this blog long enough, you probably know by now that we cannot tolerate lamb so unfortunately I haven’t tested this tip yet.
Some people like to use bulghur instead or with the bun– simply soak bulgur for 30 minutes then squeeze the water out-, this tip came from my mother in law a few weeks ago which got me rave reviews on our latest gathering, and everybody kept asking what is the secret to such tender kofta, but in this case I only used half a bun for the bun tip.
After chopping onion, if you can squeeze the water out, then mix in the onion. Do not throw the onion juice, use it to soak the bread, and use it even more while shaping your kofta. Some even brush the kofta with the onion juice. My mom loves to chop a small bunch of fresh parsley and mix it in with the meat, it gives it a desirable taste and enhances the flavors, but I did not have any this time.
So, these are my tips and tricks for making a perfect – at least for me and my friends- kofta kebab. That’s all I’ve been doing as I’ve been asked a lot about it, I hope I did not forget anything.
How to make kofta kebabs in the oven?
Last time though, I did not have time to put my kofta on the grill and it turned out even better!! Again friends asking me what have I done?, seriously guys!. I’ve received two emails asking about making it without a grill and here is my tip for oven cooking.
Preheat oven to 350, place the kofta on the middle rack for 15 minutes, then move up to the upper rack for 10 minutes but do not turn the broiler on. Of course, every oven is different so just use your cooking senses or meat should reach 160 degrees F on an instant meat thermometer.
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- 2 lbs ground beef
- 2 lbs ground lamb
- 1-2 medium onion finely grated.
- 2 teaspoons salt. or to taste.
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper.
- 1 Tablespoon baharat.
- 1 hotdog bun.
- 1 Tablespoon flour
Soak the bun in water until soft.
Mix all other ingredients together.
Squeeze water out of the bun and add to the meat mixture.
Mix everything until well incorporated.
If you are making meatballs, roll into little balls or else wrap the meat around skewers.*
Cover the kofta with aluminum foil and cook in a 350F oven for 10-15 minutes.
While the kofta are in the oven, fire up your grill on high and grease the racks well.
Place the kofta fingers on the grill for 5 minutes or less to take the grilling marks and be browned.
Enjoy with your choice of side dishes and dips like toomeya, taktouka and tahini sauce.
* Personally I use a wooden spoon and wrap a handful of the meat mixture around and shape it into fingers.
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