“Tucked away in Istanbul's Eminonu market, I found an esnaf lokantasi (workers’ café) specialising in kofta, a kebab made from ground beef or lamb, then mixed with onions and spices."






Skill level

Average: 4 (12 votes)

"While these traditional kebabs are always prepared the same way, following a recipe that’s been handed down through the generations, I convinced the owner to let me use his kitchen to make my own version. My kofta were larger than the traditional cigar-sized kebabs in the restaurant, but you can make whatever size you like. If you do want to make large ones, it’s a good idea to mould them around long flat metal skewers that won’t burn on the barbecue like bamboo skewers do.” Ainsley Harriott, Ainsley Harriott's Street Food 



  • 450 g lean minced lamb
  • 125 g trimmed lamb neck fillet, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • good pinch chilli flakes (optional)
  • 1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves and stems coarsely chopped
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper



  • handful pickled green chillies
  • handful grated carrot
  • handful cooked white beans, such as haricot
  • 1 little gem lettuce, trimmed and shredded
  • good squeeze of lemon juice
  • lemon wedges, to garnish


Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Preheat a barbecue flat plate or chargrill to medium.

To make the koftas, place all the ingredients in a bowl and season well. Using your hands, mix until well combined. Divide the mixture into 4, then shape into four large sausage shapes and mould around 4 flat metal skewers.

Cook the koftas, turning regularly for about 15 minutes or until golden and cooked through. 

Meanwhile, put the salad ingredients on plates, then serve with the hot koftas and a lemon wedge.



• You can find metal skewers in Middle Eastern grocers or barbecue shops.


Ainsley Harriott’s Street Food starts Thursday 6 August 2015 at 8.30pm on SBS and finishes 1 October 2015. Visit the Ainsley Harriott’s Street Food program page to catch-up on episodes online, scroll through recipes and read our interview with Ainsley.