What is Kofta and How To Make it at Home
What is Kofta?
Kofta is a type of "meatball" that originates from the Middle East and India. The word kofta comes from the Persian word kūfta, which means "to beat or to grind," which references the ground meat typically used to make kofta recipes. For ultra-tender Kofta patties or kebabs, we recommend grinding your meat twice, either by grinding your already-ground meat in a food processor or by asking the butcher to "double-grind" your meat.
Where did Kofta originate? Where is it commonly enjoyed today?
While kofta originated in Persia, it is now enjoyed in many parts of the world, including the Middle East, India, Pakistan, and Greece. In each culture, kofta has been adapted to suit local tastes and ingredients. As a result, there are countless ways to enjoy kofta, making it a delicious and versatile dish. You may have had this dish in the form of a patty or kebab, on a skewer or just on its own.
How is kofta made? How is kofta served?
Kofta is traditionally made with ground beef or lamb, although chicken, fish, or vegetarian versions made with beans or vegetables are becoming increasingly popular.
Kofta is commonly served in a sauce or stew, and it is often paired with rice or flatbread. In India, kofta is often served in a curry sauce, while in the Afghan and Middle Eastern cuisine, kofta is commonly enjoyed kebab-style. Kofta is also a popular ingredient in dishes like kofte piyaz.
Most kofta recipes are typically seasoned with spices like cumin, coriander and chili pepper, and can then be grilled, baked or pan-fried.
What are the different variations of kofta? How is kofta served?
Kofta is a versatile dish that can be made in a variety of ways. One popular way to prepare kofta is as kebabs. Once the meat is mixed with spices, it is then formed into small balls which are grilled or roasted on a skewer. Another popular way to prepare kofta is as patties. To make kofta patties, the meat is again mixed with spices, but it is then formed into larger patties and fried or grilled.
Kofta can also be baked in the oven or added to stews, soups or simmered in rich sauces. Both kofta kebabs and kofta patties make great appetizers or main dishes - serve with your favorite dipping sauce, fresh vegetables, and enjoy. The kofta can be served with other traditional middle eastern foods, such as hummus, couscous salad or a fresh chopped vegetable salad of cucumber and tomato.
What is the difference between kofta and koobideh?
Koobideh is seasoned ground meat that is formed into long, thin cylinders. Kofta, is also ground meat that is seasoned but it is usually shaped into patties or thicker, shorter kebabs. While they are made with many similar spices, koobideh kebabs incorporate more turmeric and sumac.
Why we love kofta
Aside from the bold, rich spices that make kofta patties so uniquely flavorful, we particularly love Kofta for its versatility. Serve them up as an appetizer, as a wrap for a hearty lunch, or as a simple weeknight dinner alongside warm pita, rice and veggies.
In the warmer months, grill your kofta patties and serve with fresh veggies and yogurt-based sauces. In the cooler months, let your kofta patties simmer in warm stews or rich sauces. The applications when it comes to tender Kofta patties are endless, but these delicious meat patties are flavorful enough to enjoy all on their own.
Get our simple ground lamb kofta recipe here.