You don’t need meat to make kofte, and this is a dish that both meat-eaters and vegetarians will enjoy. The sauce they’re served with has real depth-of-flavour thanks to the use of roasted capsicums, chillies and garlic.
- 250 g (9 oz) fine-grain burghul (bulgur wheat)
- 3 romano capsicums (peppers)
- 2 red chillies
- 2 garlic cloves
- 200 ml (7 fl oz) extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
- salt, to taste
- 175 g (6 oz) fine semolina
- 2 tbsp red-pepper paste (biber salçasi)
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.
- Sprinkle a little water over the burghul and set aside. Using tongs, blacken first the capsicums and then the chillies one by one over the open flame of your gas hob (or, if you don’t have a gas hob, on a hot barbecue, or under a grill/broiler set to its highest temperature). Turn regularly to blacken each vegetable all over, then set aside. When cool enough to handle, peel and deseed the vegetables and place the flesh into the bowl of a food processor. Add the garlic and oil and blend to a purée. Season to taste with salt.
- In a large bowl, mix together the semolina, burghul and red-pepper paste until it forms a stiff dough (add a splash or two of water to bind and moisten the dough as necessary; it should not be too dry). Roll the dough into firm balls about the size of ping-pong balls. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil, then lower the kofte into the water, in batches if necessary, and simmer for 30 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove from the pan using a slotted spoon and arrange on a serving platter.
- Pour the roasted capsicum and garlic sauce over the kofte and set aside for 10 minutes to allow the flavours to mingle. Drizzle with more extra virgin olive oil and serve.
Recipe and images from Under the Mediterranean Sun by Nadia Zerouali and Merijn Tol, Smith Street Books, RRP $55.00.