Kofta Pocket with Tzatziki Sauce

By • March 22, 2010 • 17 Comments

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Author Notes: In this speedy version of kofta I substitute a pine nut meal for longer cooking bulger. Grilling the kofta infuses the lamb with a slightly charred flavor that is tempered with a cool and tangy tzatziki sauce. Don't worry if you don't have a grill; I have included alternative cooking methods.Food Blogga

Food52 Review: WHO: Food Blogga is a cookbook author and freelance food writer who lives in San Diego.
WHAT: Nutty, vibrant lamb meatballs and creamy-cool tzatziki -- eaten side by side or tucked into a pocket.
HOW: Mix ground lamb with onion, garlic, spices, and pine nuts, shape into balls, and grill. Load into pitas. Dollop with tzatziki.
WHY WE LOVE IT: These kofta -- which are bound with ground, toasted pine nuts -- have spice, heat, and texture. The tzatziki tames all that fiestiness. And when eaten smooshed into a pocket, with lettuce, carrots, and onions, you've got yourself an ideal lunch.
The Editors

Serves 4

Tzatziki Sauce

  • 1 cup plain Greek style yogurt, or regular yogurt, strained until thick
  • ½ cup diced peeled and seeded cucumber
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh mint
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.


  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup minced yellow onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ cup toasted pine nuts, ground into a meal in a food processor
  • 4 pitas, sliced in half and warmed (for a total of 8)
  • optional garnishes include thinly sliced red onions, shredded carrots, and baby lettuce leaves
  1. In a medium bowl combine all ingredients from lamb through pine nuts. Using your hands, mix well until smooth. Refrigerate at least 15 minutes or up to overnight.
  2. When ready to cook, form lamb mixture into 1 ½ - 2-inch balls. Makes about 14-16 balls.
  3. Directions for grilling: Preheat grill to medium heat. If using wooden skewers, soak in water for 30 minutes prior to using. Place 4 balls on each skewer. Grill for 8-10 minutes, rotating skewers, or until the lamb is evenly browned and cooked through.
  4. Slide meat off skewers. Place 2 balls inside each half pocket; top with a dollop of cucumber yogurt sauce and any garnishes you desire. Eat immediately.
  5. If you don't have a grill, then you can broil, bake, or pan fry the kofta. Broil for 8-10 minutes, rotating skewers, or until the lamb is evenly browned and cooked through. Bake on 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, flipping once, or until the lamb is evenly browned and cooked through. To pan fry, place 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook kofta 7-10 minutes, flipping, until the lamb is evenly browned and cooked through.

Tags: lamb, Middle Eastern, pita

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Comments (17) Questions (0)


almost 2 years ago Dima Haddad

You made me look at kefta from a different perspective, I will make your recipe very soon, thank you for sharing it :)


about 2 years ago adele93

would ground slivered almonds work in place of pine nuts as i feel when bead crumbs are used that is all i can taste?


almost 2 years ago Dima Haddad

Actually you don't need to use pine nuts or breadcrumbs, you can make kefta or kofta with minced onions, lamb, parsley, and bharat spice mix (same spices mentioned in the recipe)I made a post about it recently (http://procrastinatorcook...) however I must say that adding pine nuts to kefta sounds delicious and decadent! I will be making this recipe soon.


about 4 years ago Loves Pie

I made this last night for a family dinner with my "home for Spring break" son. Everyone loved it, especially my son. The flavor of the meat was really delicious and the pine nuts were a great touch. Thank you for the recipe; looking forward to making it again.


over 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

I made this tonight and we all loved it at my house. Really great combination of flavors and I loved the idea of grinding up the pine nuts. Thanks for a great recipe!


about 5 years ago MadebyMariko

I found this to be a delightful recipe. You can see the fruits of my labour, and your recipe here: http://www.madebymariko...


about 5 years ago Jennifer Ann

We had this for dinner tonight, and it was really so good. The balance of spices in the Kofta and the yogurt sauce worked perfectly together.


about 5 years ago gluttonforlife

Love the pine nut meal since we don't eat wheat! That's clever gluten-free thinking (even if it was by accident).


about 5 years ago Food Blogga

I'd so love to take credit for it, but it was by accident. ;) I'm so happy is GF for you now.


about 5 years ago Skylor Powell

How exciting. I have been looking for a recipe to use my new food processor with, and I would love the christen it with pine nuts! Can't wait to try this.


about 5 years ago Food Blogga

Christen pine nuts? That's sound like a good idea to me. Have fun!


about 5 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

LOVE IT!!! Looks and sounds wonderful!


about 5 years ago Food Blogga

Thanks so much!


about 5 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Yes! These sound yummy!


about 5 years ago Food Blogga

Glad you like them!


about 5 years ago shayma

mmm. so many beautiful spices.


about 5 years ago Food Blogga

They really add depth of flavor to the lamb. Thanks!