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How to Make Köfte: Authentic Recipe, Tips and Calories

How to Make Kofte Authentic Recipe Tips and Calories 1

Köfte is one of Turkey’s most beloved culinary exports, a dish that transcends regional variations to embody the flavors of Turkish cuisine. Essentially Turkish meatballs, Köfte is made from ground meat—often lamb, beef, or a combination thereof—mixed with herbs, spices, and sometimes with onions and garlic. This versatile dish can be found grilled, fried, baked, or stewed in kitchens across Turkey, each preparation reflecting the unique culinary traditions of its region.

Köfte’s appeal lies in its simplicity and the depth of flavor achieved with just a few ingredients. It is not only a staple dish in home cooking but also a popular street food, often served sandwiched in bread with a side of salad or wrapped in lettuce leaves. The history of Köfte dates back centuries and is thought to have originated from the Persian word ‘kufta’, which means ‘to pound’, a reference to the pounded meat used to make them.

This guide will walk you through how to prepare traditional grilled Köfte, capturing the essence of Turkish street cuisine with flavors that are robust and deeply satisfying. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a novice in the kitchen, mastering Köfte promises a delicious journey into Turkish culinary traditions.

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How to Make Köfte: Authentic Recipe, Tips and Calories
How to Make Authentic Kofte Recipe Tips and Calories

Köfte is one of Turkey’s most beloved culinary exports, a dish that transcends regional variations to embody the flavors of Turkish cuisine. Essentially Turkish meatballs, Köfte is made from ground meat—often lamb, beef, or a combination thereof—mixed with herbs, spices, and sometimes with onions and garlic. This versatile dish can be found grilled, fried, baked, or stewed in kitchens across Turkey, each preparation reflecting the unique culinary traditions of its region.

Type: Main Dish

Cuisine: Turkish, Serbian, Croatian

Keywords: kofta, turkish dish, turkish meatballs, kofta meatballs

Recipe Yield: 4 to 6 people

Calories: Approximately 260 calories

Preparation Time: Abut 30 minutes

Cooking Time: 8-10 minutes per batch

Total Time: 30-40 minutes

Recipe Ingredients:

  • Ground Meat: 1 pound (usually a mix of lamb and beef for authentic flavor)
  • Onion: 1 medium, finely grated or minced
  • Garlic: 2 cloves, minced
  • Breadcrumbs: 1/2 cup (optional, helps bind the mixture)
  • Egg: 1, beaten (helps to bind the ingredients)
  • Parsley: 1/4 cup, finely chopped
  • Mint: 2 tablespoons, finely chopped (optional, for additional flavor)
  • Paprika: 1 teaspoonc
  • Cumin: 1 teaspoon
  • Salt: 1 teaspoon
  • Black Pepper: 1/2 teaspoon

Recipe Instructions:

Prepare the Köfte Mixture::

In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground meat, grated onion, minced garlic, breadcrumbs (if using), and beaten egg. Mix well to ensure the ingredients are evenly distributed.

Add the chopped parsley, mint (if using), paprika, cumin, salt, and black pepper to the meat mixture. Mix until all ingredients are well incorporated. If the mixture feels too wet or sticky, you can add a little more breadcrumbs to adjust the consistency.

Shape the Köfte:

With damp hands, take portions of the meat mixture and shape them into small oval patties or elongated cylinders. This should yield about 12-15 Köfte, depending on the size.

Refrigerate:

Place the shaped Köfte on a tray, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to help them firm up and to allow the flavors to meld.

Grill the Köfte::

Preheat your grill, grill pan, or skillet over medium-high heat. Brush each Köfte with a little oil and grill them for about 4-5 minutes on each side, or until they are thoroughly cooked and have nice char marks.

Editor's Rating:
5

Ingredients for Cooking Köfte:

How to Make Authentic Kofte Recipe Tips and Calories

For Köfte:

  • Ground Meat: 1 pound (usually a mix of lamb and beef for authentic flavor)
  • Onion: 1 medium, finely grated or minced
  • Garlic: 2 cloves, minced
  • Breadcrumbs: 1/2 cup (optional, helps bind the mixture)
  • Egg: 1, beaten (helps to bind the ingredients)
  • Parsley: 1/4 cup, finely chopped
  • Mint: 2 tablespoons, finely chopped (optional, for additional flavor)
  • Paprika: 1 teaspoon
  • Cumin: 1 teaspoon
  • Salt: 1 teaspoon
  • Black Pepper: 1/2 teaspoon

For Serving:

  • Flatbreads or Pita Bread
  • Sliced Tomatoes
  • Sliced Onions
  • Lettuce
  • Cucumber Yogurt Sauce or Tahini

Preparation for Cooking Köfte

How to Make Authentic Kofte Recipe Tips and Calories 2
  1. Prepare the Köfte Mixture:
    • In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground meat, grated onion, minced garlic, breadcrumbs (if using), and beaten egg. Mix well to ensure the ingredients are evenly distributed.
    • Add the chopped parsley, mint (if using), paprika, cumin, salt, and black pepper to the meat mixture. Mix until all ingredients are well incorporated. If the mixture feels too wet or sticky, you can add a little more breadcrumbs to adjust the consistency.
  2. Shape the Köfte:
    • With damp hands, take portions of the meat mixture and shape them into small oval patties or elongated cylinders. This should yield about 12-15 Köfte, depending on the size.
  3. Refrigerate:
    • Place the shaped Köfte on a tray, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to help them firm up and to allow the flavors to meld.
  4. Grill the Köfte:
    • Preheat your grill, grill pan, or skillet over medium-high heat. Brush each Köfte with a little oil and grill them for about 4-5 minutes on each side, or until they are thoroughly cooked and have nice char marks.
  5. Prepare the Sides:
    • While the Köfte are grilling, prepare your sides. Slice the tomatoes and onions, wash the lettuce, and get your bread and sauces ready.
  6. Serve:
    • Serve the grilled Köfte wrapped in flatbreads or pita with sliced tomatoes, onions, lettuce, and a drizzle of cucumber yogurt sauce or tahini.

Yield and Servings

How to Make Authentic Kofte Recipe Tips and Calories 4
  • Serves: 4 to 6 people
  • Total Yield: Approximately 12-15 Köfte, depending on size

Nutritional Information (per serving, without sides)

  • Calories: Approximately 260 calories
  • Total Fat: 17 grams
  • Cholesterol: 85 mg
  • Sodium: 600 mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 5 grams
    • Dietary Fiber: 0.5 grams
  • Protein: 20 grams

Tips and Tricks for Perfect Köfte

  1. Quality of Meat: Use fresh, high-quality ground meat for the best flavor and texture. A mix of lamb and beef provides a rich taste, but you can adjust the proportions based on your preference for fat content and flavor.
  2. Finely Chop Ingredients: Ensure that onions, garlic, and herbs are finely chopped or grated. Large chunks can prevent the Köfte from holding together properly during cooking.
  3. Chilling the Mixture: After mixing your Köfte ingredients, chilling the mixture in the refrigerator not only helps the flavors to meld together but also makes the patties easier to shape and keeps them from falling apart when cooked.
  4. Avoid Over-Mixing: Mix the ingredients until just combined. Over-mixing can make the meat mixture tough when cooked, leading to dense and chewy Köfte.
  5. Uniform Size: Shape your Köfte into evenly sized pieces to ensure they cook uniformly. Consistent thickness means every piece will be ready at the same time, preventing some from drying out while others are still cooking.
  6. Test for Seasoning: Before shaping all your Köfte, cook a small piece in a skillet to test the seasoning. Adjust the spices and salt as necessary, ensuring the final batch is perfectly seasoned.
  7. Prevent Sticking: Lightly oil your hands when shaping the Köfte to prevent the mixture from sticking to your hands, making it easier to shape them.
  8. Turning While Cooking: Turn the Köfte gently and only once or twice during cooking. Excessive handling can cause them to fall apart.
  9. Resting Before Serving: Allow the Köfte to rest for a few minutes after cooking. This helps the juices redistribute throughout the meat, making them juicier and more flavorful.
  10. Accompaniments: Serve Köfte with a variety of sides to enhance their flavor. Fresh vegetables, tangy sauces, and warm bread like pita make traditional and delicious accompaniments that balance the savory taste of the meat.

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