Lamb Kofta with Yogurt and Cucumber Salad

This recipe is largely inspired by my favorite neighborhood hole-in-the-wall. In this version, I pull my favorite elements from a couple dishes to create my favorite combination. Feel free to go crazy with homemade pita bread and sides or substitute anything with your favorite store-bought variety.

You’ll need:

  • Lamb Kofta (recipe below)
  • Cucumber Salad (recipe below)
  • Yogurt Sauce (recipe below)
  • Pita (recipe below)


Yield: 10 skewers | Total time: 50 min | Active time: 30 min

  • 5 lb. ground lamb (you can use a mixture of beef and lamb depending on your taste)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 2 tbsp mint, chopped
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cayenne powder or harissa
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Mix: Combine meat, onions, garlic, herbs and spices in a large bowl until incorporated. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 min and up to 24 hours.
  2. Form: Divide meat mixture into 10 equal portions. Using wet hands, form meat into logs  and set aside.
  3. Cook: Preheat your grill/pan over medium high heat. Once preheated, lightly brush grill grates with oil to help prevent sticking. Sear kafta until caramelized, about 2-3 minutes, flip and cook for another 2 minutes. Reduce heat and finish cooking to desired doneness.

Cucumber Salad

Yield: 6 servings | Total time: 1 hours | Active time: 20 min

  • 2 cucumbers, seeded and chopped
  • ½ small red onion, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup parsley
  • ½ cup Feta (optional)
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice (from 1 large lemon)
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp harissa
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Combine: Mix all the ingredients in a medium, non-reactive bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, taste salad and adjust seasoning. I like my salad to be extra sharp so I usually add an extra splash of vinegar or lemon juice.

Yogurt Sauce

Yield: About 2 cups | Total time: 40 min | Active time: 10 min

  • 1 cup (8 oz.) plain Greek-style yogurt
  • 4 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp mint, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic, finely chopped/grated
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice (from 1 large lemon)
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp za’atar
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Combine: In a medium bowl, mix yogurt, herbs, spices, olive oil and lemon juice until combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Refrigerate: Cover and let mixture sit in refrigerator for at least 30 min and up to 2 days to let flavors marry.

Pita Bread

Yield: 8 pitas |Total Time: 2 hours | Active Time: 4 min

  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1.5 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 3.5 cups bread flour, divided*
  • 2/3 cup warm water
  • 1/3 cup warm milk (you can substitute with water, but the milk helps enhance flavor and texture)
  • 3-4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided


  1. Form dough: Combine water, milk, 2 tbsp oil with yeast, sugar, and 2 cups flour in a large bowl or bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. (No stand mixer? No problem! This dough works perfectly if mixed by hand.)
  2. Mix ingredients on low until a shaggy mass forms, then add remaining cup of flour and continue to knead for 5-7 minutes until smooth and elastic
  3. If the dough appears too sticky, add flour one tablespoon at a time.
  4. Let rise: Place dough in a clean, lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set in a warm place to rise for an hour (dough should nearly double in size). After an hour, punch down dough and transfer to a lightly floured work surface.
  5. Divide: Cut dough into 8 pieces. Roll pieces into a loose ball, dust lightly with flour, and cover with a damp kitchen towel for 10-15 minutes. This second rest will help the dough relax and make it easier to work with.
  6. Shape: work with one round at a time to ensure dough doesn’t dry out. Using a floured rolling pin, roll dough into a circle 8” circle (dough should be about ¼” thick.)  If the dough starts to pull back, set aside to rest for a few minutes, then continue.
  7. Cook: Heat ½ tbsp. olive oil in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Gently place flatbread in pan, and cook for 1½-2 minutes per side. Dough will puff slightly and develop golden-brown spots.  Remove from heat and wrap with a clean kitchen towel to keep soft.
  8. Repeat with remaining dough, adding oil to the pan as needed.


  1. Once cooked, bread will keep for up to 3 days in an airtight container. To store longer, individually wrap pitas in plastic and freeze.
  2. Need to make ahead? Once risen, dough can be kept refrigerated for up to 5 days. To cook simply remove dough from refrigerator and let sit for 30 min before proceeding with the remaining steps.


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