What is Lebanese Kofta?

Flatbread, which is usually served with kofta.

Kofta is a Middle Eastern and Asian dish that is similar in composition and texture to North American meatloaf. Made with minced meat and a combination of seasonings, it can have different flavors and presentations. Lebanese kofta is based on traditional Lebabnon meats, spices and cooking methods, although it is widely available in North America, often as a slightly reinterpreted dish.

Kofta is made with minced meat.

Lebanese kofta is traditionally made from lamb or beef. The meat is a lean cut, usually taken from the shoulder. After mincing, cooks combine the meat with parsley, onions and spices, including cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. They form the mixture into tubes and wrap them lengthwise around wooden skewers before grilling.

When making Lebanese kofta, the meat mixture must be tender and smooth, but still able to maintain its shape and integrity during cooking. To obtain a homogeneous mixture, the meat, onion and seasonings can be combined and blended in a food processor. Sometimes cooks will add an egg to make the mixture firmer and better able to hold its shape. Ideally, cooks should prepare the mixture a few hours or even a day before cooking it, as this allows the seasonings to infuse the meat and intensify the flavors.

The traditional way of cooking Lebanese kofta is to grill the skewers over coals. As this is not always practical, cooks can grill kofta in a regular oven. It is important in either method to make sure that the skewers, if wooden, are well soaked before use; otherwise, they can burn.

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Kofta is also molded into hamburgers and balls. These can also be cooked on the grill or on the grill. Meatballs are usually cooked together with vegetables, such as peppers, which are alternately placed on skewers. Another popular way of cooking Lebanese kofta is kofta bi sanieh, in which meatballs are cooked on a plate along with tomatoes and potatoes.

Kofta, or kebabs as they are commonly called in North America, are eaten as a main meal. Cooks serve them with Lebanese flatbread, flatbread or hummus. Rice, salad and tabbouleh are also popular side dishes. Meat is also often served with a sauce, usually yogurt mixed with mint or tahini. There are a number of adaptations in the protein used in Lebanese kofta, where cooks replace beef or lamb with chicken, seafood or even goat, although the seasonings tend to remain the same.

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