I miss my trips to the delicious Turkish restaurants of North London, where more often than not, I would order the big sharing platter so I could get a little bit of everything. So this recipe has brought me a little bit of that experience and I also that it’s another perfect barbecue recipe to share with you all! As we can start to spend more and more time with our friends and family, and with summer underway (please sun stick with us!). However fear not, these köfte can be cooked on the bbq or on a griddle pan so either way you know you can be feasting on these whatever the weather!
I recommend making these juicy köfte with a combination of lamb and beef mince and ensure they have a high fat content. That will stop the köfte going dry and make them super flavoursome. Most of these spices should be available in the big supermarkets (I have noticed that they are getting more and more stocked these days which is making cooking a bit more varied too!), but if you’re struggling to find pul biber or Aleppo pepper, I recommend trying some of the Mediterranean or Turkish supermarkets. We have plenty here in North London, so go for a wander and check out the smaller grocery stores and see if you can get hold of it! If not, you can replace it with chilli powder but tread cautiously as the level of spice will differ!
Some people like to put their köfte on skewers. I have done that in the past, but honestly, it can be a hassle, so, if you don’t want to do that, then there’s no need! Simply add your köfte onto your griddle or bbq individually. This will mean you need to turn each köfte individually so keep that in mind. If you want to use skewers, then soak wooden skewers in water for at least 30 minutes prior to using them. I prefer to do this whilst I am chilling my köfte in the fridge and then I poke the skewers through the middle of the köfte before putting them on the bbq. You can choose to use 1 skewer per köfte and poke it through length ways, or alternatively you can turn the köfte so they are horizontal and poke through the middle of 3-4 köfte depending on the size of the skewer.
These köfte are gluten-free and Whole30 friendly - you simply have to enjoy them without the pita bread and for those on Whole30 unfortunately you won't be able to have the cacik or the hummus, but there will be plenty of Whole30 compliant alternatives that you can serve up alongside this delicious dish including cauliflower hummus (yes it's a thing!).
I love to serve mine with hummus, cacik and a red cabbage salad. I don’t mind some store bought hummus but it’s so easy to make that I prefer to do it myself. All you need is a tin of chickpeas (shelled for a smoother texture), 1 garlic clove, juice of half a lemon, 1 tablespoon of tahini, some extra virgin olive oil and salt. Whiz it all up in a food processor or blender and add a couple tablespoons of water to lengthen it out if needed. Finish it off with an extra drizzle of olive oil and a dash of paprika and you’re done! Homemade hummus ready to serve!
For the cacik, this is similar to a Greek tzatziki, so you can use my version found here, but a traditional cacik includes natural yoghurt, grated cucumber, lemon, garlic and salt, I added fresh dill to mine but some people add mint. For this, I would read around and see what kind of cacik takes your fancy! All that’s left is some pita and you’re good to go! I am still working on my recipe for pitas but I really hope I can share this with you soon! If you know how to make them go ahead otherwise simple store-bought will also do the trick!
Turkish Inspired Köfte
Makes: 26 Kofte
Prep time: 15 minutes + 30 minutes chill
Cook time: 20 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes + 30 minutes chill
500g Beef Mince (15% fat)
500g Lamb Mince (20% fat)
1 White onion, grated
Small handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 Tbsp Sumac
3/4 Tsp Garlic granules
1 Tsp Onion powder
1 Tsp Ground cinnamon
1 Tsp Paprika
1 Tbsp Smoked paprika
1 Tbsp Ground cumin
1 Tbsp Oregano
1 Tbsp Pul biber or Aleppo pepper
1 Tsp Black pepper
1 Tsp Salt
2-3 Tbsp Water
Add all the ingredients except the water to a large mixing bowl and use your hands to mix thoroughly, breaking up the meat until everything is fully combined. Add a Tbsp of water at a time, this will help to bind the meat and use your judgement if more is required.
Form the köfte with 2 Tbsp of meat mixture, rolled into sausage forms Try to keep them as evenly sized as possible and not too fat as this will lead to uneven cooking. Ideally, chill in the fridge for 30 minutes prior to cooking but you can cook them straight away if required.
Heat a griddle on high for a few minutes then reduce to medium. Cook the köfte in batches for around 4 minutes per side. Try to only turn them once to avoid them crumbling.
Serve with warm pittas, red cabbage salad, cacik and fresh hummus.
If you want to avoid using the BBQ or the griddle, you can also cook these in the oven. Preheat the oven to 220℃ / 200℃ Fan. Line a baking tray with foil, spread out the köfte and bake for 20 minutes, turning half way. If you want to get a char on them, you can turn on the grill for a couple minutes or finish them on the griddle/bbq!
These are great to make ahead the night before and if stored in an airtight container, will keep for 2 days in the fridge.