Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Turkish Kofte

Turkish Kofte (meatballs) with Persian Cucumbers, Tomatoes and Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

 Kofte is a traditional Middle Eastern meatball.  I have made a Persian version before but after being in Istanbul for three weeks I decided to search for Turkish Kofte recipe.  Food in Istanbul is simple, fresh and delicious.  On my other blog, I have examples of the things that I cooked as well as local street food.  This meal is often served with some kind of potato,(Turks love french fries) but I served it with fresh sliced Persian cucumbers, tomatoes, and homemade cucumber sauce.  

  Tomatoes and cucumbers are a staple in Turkey.  I love them so much that I have even adopted a typical Turkish breakfast with tomatoes, cucumbers, a little cheese, yogurt, fruit and sometimes honey.  I lost weight while I was there so I think they are on to something.  

  Cucumber or Tzatziki sauce is something I have been making for awhile.  You can check out my Tzatziki Sauce recipe here or below I will explain my super quick and easy version that I have now adopted.  

Turkish Kofte

I made a double batch so we would have leftovers but you can easily cut this recipe in half.

1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground lamb - you can use all of one or the other if you want
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp cumin
3 eggs
2 C. fresh breadcrumbs -I added a little more than 2 C - if they feel too wet add a little more too dry add less
3 cloves of fresh garlic - grated
1 large onion grated
Olive oil for frying 

Spray large tray with non stick cooking spray and pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F

For the breadcrumbs I took some leftover Challah bread and pulsed it in my food processor.  Use what ever you have.  

1.  In a large bowl add all the ingredients except the olive oil in a large bowl.  Mix well with hands.   

2.  Take golf ball size pieces of the mixture and shape into tear drops, placing each one on the tray.  

3.  Heat olive oil in a skillet on medium high.  I prefer a cast iron skillet. 

  2 options for cooking...
     A.  Sear each side of the meatball til golden brown, 1 -2 minutes each side, and then       
           place them in a baking dish and finish in the oven for 25 -30 minutes.  

    B.  Sear each side in skillet and then turn down the heat to finish them all the way thru.  

I have tried both and preferred the juiciness of the skillet method

Quick and Easy Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

1 C plain yogurt - regular or Greek - I use FAGE
Juice of 1/2 of a lemon
salt and pepper to taste
1 -2 tsp olive oil
1 Persian cucumber grated (small baby cukes) 1/2 of a regular or English with seeds removed is fine
Sprinkle of garlic powder or 1 clove grated  - I get lazy and go for the powder

1. Mix all ingredients.  You're done!  See wasn't that easy!

I make this all the time and serve it with lamb chops, chicken kebabs, or the Kofte.   My family loves it and it is so good for you.  I have even used it on turkey burgers and lettuce wraps.

I hope that you enjoy my take on this traditional Turkish dish.


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