A kofta is a small spiced meatball made from ground meat. You can use any ground meat (turkey, beef, chicken or even fish) but traditionally in the Middle East koftas are made from lamb. The yogurt sauce is so good you’ll just want to drink it or use it as a salad dressing. This recipe is the closest I have found to replicating the taste of a lamb gyro although it is much friendlier for the home cook. It is not necessary to grill the koftas - they taste just as good baked or broiled. This recipe serves 4. The koftas could also be shaped into mini-meatballs, baked, and served as a appetizer with the yogurt dipping sauce on the side. Feel free to vary the spices depending on your likes.
1 pound ground lamb
1 small onion, chopped
2 pieces bread - preferably crusty white bread torn into pieces (or 1/2 cup unseasoned bread crumbs)
1/2 cup parsley
1/4 cup mint
2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon each cumin, cinnamon, ginger, and salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 Tablespoon red curry paste (optional but a nice addition, find it in the Chinese food aisle)
1 large egg
4 large pita breads
2 tomatoes chopped into small dice
lettuce leaves, torn
For Yogurt Sauce:
1 cup (8 oz) yogurt - preferably Greek
1 small cucumber - peeled, seeded and finely diced
1 teaspoon lemon juice
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon dried dill or fresh if available
1 minced garlic clove (for garlic lovers)
Place bread in food processor and pulse until it forms a fine crumb. (Alternately, use 1/2 cup bread crumbs.) Add onion, parsley, mint, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper and pulse until mixed and finely chopped. Beat the egg in a separate large bowl. Add the ground lamb and the bread, onion and herb mixture to the egg and mix well with your hands.
Shape into oblong balls (resembling small sausages using about 2 Tablespoons/kofta) and place in refrigerator for 1/2 hour if you have time. (The chilling will help to keep the koftas together when grilling.)
Bake, broil or grill depending on your preferences.
Yogurt Sauce: Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and let sit to combine the flavors. Serve it chilled.
To assemble: Insert three koftas into a piece of pita bread. Top with chopped tomatoes and lettuce. Drizzle with the Yogurt Sauce.