One of my favorite meals in Middle Eastern cuisine is kofta, that is, spiced meatballs. But achieving the right balance of herbs and spices, the right consistency and flavor making these at home has thus far eluded me. Today I give it another go!
My first attempts failed because I tried to go TOO low carb and reduce the breadcrumbs way too much. That was before I understood the true importance of a well-hydrated breadcrumb to making good meatballs. Since then, I’ve struggled with the spice mix. I like kofta that are cinnamon-forward in flavor, so I always make sure to include a larger portion of cinnamon. The problem is that I have such a vast spice cabinet that it is tempting to add so many more spices in this category… cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, mace, coriander seed, etc. etc. I think I have to hold back and simplify my kofta so that the flavors I like best are the ones most prominently featured.SARAH’S KOFTA or SPICED MEATBALLS
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
1 lb ground meat
2 cloves garlic
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1⁄2 teaspoon allspice
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon pepper
1 spring onion, chopped or snipped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or fresh parsley or fresh mint, or all three
Preheat oven to 350. In a medium-sized bowl, beat the egg into the breadcrumbs with a fork. Let stand at least ten minutes to allow the egg to hydrate your breadcrumbs. Add the meat, garlic, spices, salt, pepper, onions and herbs. Let stand at least another ten minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
Form the meat mixture into meatballs, patties, or log-shapes. Place in a shallow baking dish. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Serve with tahini cream (below) and/or hummus.
One of my favorite dressings for kofta is tahini cream:
SARAH’S TAHINI CREAM
4 tablespoons sesame tahini
4 tablespoons sour cream or yogurt
4 tablespoons cream or half & half
Combine all ingredients in a food processor, or with an immersion blender. Chill. Serve as a dressing for kofta meatballs, above.