While lamb or beef is traditional, I prefer ground turkey for these flavorful Middle Eastern skewers, and the creamy cool yogurt adds a lightened dipping sauce that’s full of flavor.
Food that is delivered in an unexpected way is always more fun. It must be true, because there’s even a cookbook all about the food phenomenon.
Thai food has it’s skewered Satay, Mexicans love their mayo with cotija-dressed cob of corn on a stick and in China you can even find yourself a fried scorpion on a stick—if you dare. Thank you very much but I’ll “stick” with a good old American mustard-dipped corn dog.
Probably one of the most universal foods on a stick is kofta, a simple blend of garlic-studded, spiced meat shaped on a stick that you’ll find in Greek, Persian, Indian and Lebanese cuisine.
If you think that because it hails from an exotic land that it must be difficult to make, you’re wrong. If you think man, that sounds like it has a lot more flavor than a regular burger, you are right!
And if you can shape a simple meatball, this skewered turkey kofta is going to totally hit your sweet spot.
Traditional koftas are made with lamb or beef or a blend but I’m not much of a lamb fan so turkey is my go to for this recipe. I’m always looking to lighten things up and turkey is a great meat for doing so, which is why I’m partnering with Plainville Farms to share this easy, but super flavorful recipe with you.
Plainville Farms produces turkey that is antibiotic and hormone-free. We’re hearing that statement made a lot these days as food producers are moving in the right direction because of consumer demand. Thank you for listening!
Plainville Farms turkeys are vegetarian fed and humanely, raised to roam free in barns and open air spaces. They eat and drink on their own schedules, like a farm bird should. All that effort shows in the taste.
About the Recipe
At first I thought I should use a fattier blend of turkey, but after using the 94% lean ground turkey I found the grilled kofta to still taste rich and juicy. Bonus: who needs the added fat?
One reason the turkey stayed moist is from grating the onion. When grated the onion releases a lot of moisture so be sure to scoop it all up and put in the bowl to mix. When mixing, use a light hand. This isn’t a massage parlor where kneading is preferred. The less you handle your meat, the more tender it will be. When shaping the meat on the skewer, wet hands make for a less messy production line.
Warming spices are essential in this recipe. I used cinnamon, coriander and allspice. Sometimes I’ll add in cumin if I’m feeling it. Be generous with the kosher salt and use a generous pinch of cayenne. Like baking with chocolate, they brings out the spiced flavors.
Fresh herbs are key here and I don’t think you can go wrong with too much. I chopped a few sprigs of mint and parsley from my garden and added at will. A good handful of chopped herbs—fresh cilantro works wonders, too—is what you’re aiming for.
Grilling these kofta on medium high heat yield nice grill marks. Turn down the heat once you’ve gotten the marks so the outside becomes caramel color, rotating the skewers often.
The extra flavor field for this recipe lies in the garlic enhanced, minty yogurt sauce. I use non-fat Greek yogurt for it’s richness and cut it with a bit of lemon juice. Be careful how large a clove of garlic is used and go for one on the smaller side as the garlic flavor becomes stronger as it sits in the yogurt. I’ve found myself waking up in the morning after eating these with a hangover of garlictosis. Not that it’s such a bad thing. Kiss me, honey!
Recipe Ideas to Serve With Your Kofta
Grilled Turkey Kofta Skewers with Yogurt Sauce
- For the Kofta
- 1 pound Plainville Farm ground turkey
- scant 1/3 cup grated onion , (about 1/2 small onion)
- 2 sprigs parsley , chopped
- 2 sprigs mint leaves , chopped
- 1 clove garlic , minced or pressed
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- extra-virgin olive oil or grape seed oil
- For the Yogurt Sauce
- 1 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
- 3 tablespoons mint leaves , chopped
- 1/2 lemon , juiced
- 1 clove garlic , pressed
- Pinch of kosher salt
- For the Kofta Skewers
- In a medium bowl, gently combine the turkey with the grated onion, chopped herbs, garlic, kosher salt, coriander, cinnamon, allspice and cayenne pepper. Wet your hands and scoop about 1/3 cup of the meat into your hands and shape into oval shaped logs. Place on a sheet pan or plate covered with parchment paper and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
- If using wooden skewers, soak the skewers in cold water for 15 min to 1/2 hour. Heat the grill to medium-high heat and oil the grate. Grill the skewers for about 5-6 minutes, turning occasionally so that grill marks form. Reduce the heat and cook the skewers for another 5-8 minutes or until they begin to caramel in color and the meat is cooked through.
- For the Yogurt Sauce
- Mix the ingredients together in a small bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Thank you for reading and here’s to cooking something good!
This post is in partnership with Plainville Farms. As always, thank you for reading and for supporting companies I partner with, which allows me to create more unique content and recipes for you. All opinions are always my own.
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