Lamb Koftes with Pitas and Salad

Thursday July 4, 2013

Elemental Custard

I'm continuously on the lookout for inventive and different dinner recipes to add to my rotation. I get tired of the same old dinner fare every week. I need some variety in my life.

My Armenian roots have provided me with a love for Middle-Eastern cooking and these koftes are definitely a crowd pleaser. While I don't particularly LOVE lamb, this is a dish that prepares it in a way that is... well... delicious for lack of a better description. If you really are adverse to lamb however (I understand- really I do) you can mix it half and half with beef or just try an all beef variation. There are no rules in the kitchen. Get messy. Make mistakes.

I can't take full credit for this recipe; this is inspired by a Jamie Oliver dish (I am mildly obsessed) on his 15 minute meals show. If you haven't checked this out you have to watch some episodes. He may be one of the most inspiring chefs I've ever seen. His effortless, playful demeanor and relaxed attitude in the kitchen make it extremely entertaining to watch him cook.

I'll stop swooning.

This recipe is not a "Mara original"- I played around with a few of the ingredients but it stands pretty true to Jamie's version- You have to try this. It comes together in a flash and is flavourful and fun!

Recipe: Lamb Koftes

Mildly Adjusted from: Jamie Oliver's 15 minute meals (took me more like 25 minutes though)

Serves ~6-8


~1 lb (450g) lean ground lamb
1 tsp garam masala
pinch of salt and pepper
1/4 cup shelled pistachios (or ~35g)
a few sprigs of fresh thyme (I used lemon thyme)- this adds so much depth of flavour
zest of 1 lemon (1 tbsp)
1 tbsp runny honey

Serve with pitas and salad for a complete meal
Drizzle with tzatziki


Season the lamb with the garam masala, salt and pepper. Using wet hands, form the lamb into 8-10 pieces and squeeze gently to get an elongated meatball shape (It’s alright if they are uneven and have finger marks! That lends more charm to the dish- if lamb can be charming...)

Heat a non-stick skillet (medium size) over medium heat. Once hot, add the shaped lamb with a light drizzle of olive oil. You don’t need too much because the lamb will render off some fat while cooking. Cook for ~4 minutes before turning them (they should be golden and gorgeous), and continue cooking for another 3 minutes.

Drain the fat off before adding the pistachios, thyme and lemon zest. Drizzle on the honey and toss to coat evenly. Cook for another minute or 2. Serve with warm pitas, greens and tzatziki for a complete meal.


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