The origin of the word kofta comes from the Persian word kufteh, which means ‘mashed’. Before food processors, meat was literally mashed using a large mortar and pestle. Turkish koftas are often eaten with cacik, a yoghurt sauce that is similar to tzatziki to balance the intensity of the spices.






Skill level

Average: 3.3 (61 votes)


  • 700 g minced lamb shoulder (see Note)
  • 1 onion, grated
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1½ tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • ¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 8 x 18 cm metal or wooden skewers (see Note)



  • 125 ml (½ cup) goat’s-milk yoghurt (see Note)
  • 1 Lebanese cucumber, peeled, grated
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 tbsp dried mint

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.


Heat a chargrill pan or barbecue grill to medium–high.

To make cacik, combine all the ingredients with 2 tbsp water and ½ tsp salt in a bowl. Makes about 1¼ cups. Cacik will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.

To make kofta, combine lamb, onion, garlic, egg, spices, parsley, 1 tsp black pepper and 2 tsp salt in a large bowl. Divide the mixture into 8 and shape each portion around a skewer into a 15 cm sausage.

Cook, turning, for 10 minutes or until cooked through. Serve with cacik.


• Lamb shoulder is the best cut for kofta. Ask your butcher to mince the shoulder for you.
• Line the area of the barbecue under the ends of the skewers with foil to prevent metal ones getting too hot and wooden ones from burning. Use tongs to turn them.
• Goat’s-milk yoghurt is available from health food shops.



As seen in Feast magazine, October 2011, Issue 2. For more recipes and articles, pick up a copy of this month's Feast magazine or check out our great subscriptions offers here.