Kofta – also spelled kufta, kofte, kafta, and so on – are, in essence, Middle Eastern meatballs. They can also take the form of a small meatloaf or oblong kebabs. The spices that go into kofta and what the kofta get served with varies by region. This is the way I like mine: very simple, bite-sized, with a yogurt sauce. Red oak or hickory grilling planks provide a flavor boost.
Total Time: 35 minutes
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: about 24 kofta
For the kofta
- 1 lb ground Venison
- 1 Egg, scrambled – optional
- ½ Cup Shallot, minced
- 4 cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp Advieh or mild Yellow Curry Powder
- 1 Tbsp Ras el Hanout or Garam Masala
- 1 tsp Kosher Salt
For the sauce:
- Fresh Mint
- 1 Tbsp Honey
- 1 Cup plain Greek Yogurt
Kofta are an excellent choice for potlucks or other events that call for hors d’oeuvres. They’re flavorful and unusual but a crowd pleaser. It’s also s good way to use ground venison besides making burgers or pasta sauce.
- Begin by soaking your Wildwood Grilling planks – Hickory or Red Oak, cook’s choice – in warm water for at least 15 minutes. Preheat your oven to 400°F.
- Make the yogurt sauce by measuring the Greek yogurt into a small bowl. Chiffonade the mint and stir into the yogurt. Warm the honey until it runs like oil and pour it into the yogurt while stirring gently. Set the yogurt sauce aside in the fridge.
- Mix the ground venison, shallot, and garlic in a large bowl by hand until the minced components are evenly spread throughout. If your ground venison has very little to no fat added – less than 10% fat added by weight – you can mix in a scrambled egg or 1-2 egg whites to help bind the meat.
- Mix all the dry spices together and sprinkle them evenly over the meat. Mix well by hand.
- Form the mixture into meatballs in the palm of your hand, roughly 2-3 tablespoons of meat each.
- Place meatballs onto your pre-soaked planks; I fit 10-12 in two rows on mine.
- Cook the meatballs in your preheated oven until they reach an internal temperature of about 140°F, 20-30 minutes. If you added pork fat to your venison, aim for about 160°F. In either case, you want it to be 5-10°F below the “safe” threshold.
- At this point, up your oven’s temperature to a broil and cook the kofta for about 2 more minutes, until they crisp up on the outside.
- Quickly remove from the oven and enjoy your kofta warm or cold with a dollop of yogurt sauce on top.
*Keep a spray bottle of water handy in case of flare-ups.