Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Turkey Zucchini Kofta with Spring Onion & Cumin

Inspired by a recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi's cookbook Jerusalem, where they explore the recipes and flavours of their home city, I was drawn to their Turkey Zucchini Kofta with spring onion, fresh mint, cilantro and cumin. Bringing together their unique cross cultural perspectives – the Arab east and Jewish west — Ottolenghi and Tamimi bring to life the intensity and vibrancy of dishes they grew up with, such as these delicious kofta or meatballs. A dish that transcends cultures, kofta seem to have originated with the Persians, who passed it to the Arabs. According to The Oxford Companion to Food, kofta appears in some of the earliest Arabic cookbooks, where it consisted of ground lamb rolled into orange-sized balls and glazed with egg yolk and saffron. They likely traveled from the Arab world along trade routes to Greece, North Africa, and Spain. Nearly every major culture has its own version of the meatball: Spanish albondigas, Dutch bitterballen, Italian polpettes, Chinese lion’s heads, and South African skilpedjies. Kofte, too, are cooked everywhere from India to Morocco. Light and flavourful, these Turkey Zucchini Kofta are a delicious new addition to the culinary pantheon of luscious bite size morsels.

The turkey-zucchini mixture is formed into small balls and fried in a little oil until golden brown

Once browned on both sides, the kofta go into the oven for 5-7 minutes until cooked through

Turkey Zucchini Kofta with Spring Onion & Cumin

Makes 12-16 kofta
Recipe courtesy of Yotam Ottolenghi

1 lb ground turkey

2 cups coarsely grated zucchini, about 1 large zucchini
5 green onions, thinly sliced, about 40 g
1 large egg
2 tbsp chopped mint
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
6 tbsp vegetable oil

Sumac Sauce:
3 1/2 oz sour cream
5 oz Greek yoghurt
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, crushed
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sumac
1/2 tsp salt

Mix all of the ingredients for the sauce in a bowl and stir well to combine, then cover and refrigerate. Preheat oven to 425°F. Combine all of the ingredients except for the oil in a large bowl, and mix thoroughly with your hands. Once evenly mixed, shape into small flat meatballs about 2 oz each, being sure to  press the mixture together to ensure the kofta keep their shape. 

Pour enough oil into a large frying pan to get a thin layer at the bottom. When hot, sear the kofta in batches on medium heat from all sides. Cook them for about 4 minutes, adding oil as needed, until golden brown. Carefully transfer the seared kofta into an oven tray lined with parchment paper and place in the oven for 5-7 minutes, or until just cooked through. Serve warm or at room temperature, with the sauce spooned over or on the side.

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