Moroccan Beef Koftas

Moroccan beef koftas recipe

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 14 mins
Total: 34 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
355 Calories
23g Fat
3g Carbs
32g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 355
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 23g 30%
Saturated Fat 8g 39%
Cholesterol 132mg 44%
Sodium 1012mg 44%
Total Carbohydrate 3g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 32g
Vitamin C 1mg 4%
Calcium 59mg 5%
Iron 4mg 25%
Potassium 520mg 11%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Making kofta is an ancient way of grilling ground meat. Aromatic and savory spices are added to the meat before it is shaped around a skewer for grilling. It is a lot like a sausage without the casing.

The secret to successful koftas is to make sure the meat is sticky enough to hold together on the skewers. To cook these, you will simply need a hot grill, which could be an open hibachi or a charcoal or gas grill. If you are using wooden skewers, soak them in water for about an hour before grilling. This will keep the exposed ends from burning when you grill the kofta kebabs.

Serve the beef koftas alongside four to five warmed pitas, a cup of plain yogurt, red onion sliced into rings, and two limes quartered. You and your guests can make pita sandwiches with these elements for an informal meal. Side dishes that pair nicely with beef kofta include chickpea salad, tabbouleh, spiced carrots, or couscous. Vegetable side dishes are often cooked rather than fresh, such as zaalouk, which is eggplant and tomatoes with spices.

"This recipe uses a bunch of dried spices to make it fast and easy to turn ground beef into flavorful Middle Eastern kofta kebabs. Everything is mixed in a bowl, then pressed around skewers for grilling." —Danielle Centoni

Moroccan Beef Koftas Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef

  • 1 large egg

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons flaky sea salt

  • 2 teaspoons onion powder

  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 2 teaspoons paprika

  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon oil, for grilling

  • Pita, yogurt, red onion, lemon or lime wedges, additional cilantro or parsley, for serving, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.

    Ingredients for beef koftas
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  2. Combine all of the ingredients (except the oil) in a mixing bowl. Mix well.

    Beef and spices in a bowl
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  3. Divide the mixture into 6 portions, about 4 ounces each, or 4 (6-ounce) portions. Shape the portions into long, thick sausages. Make them all evenly sized, and keep in mind the length of the skewer. Insert a skewer through each kofta and squeeze the meat onto the skewer. It should be about 1-inch thick.

    Skewered koftas on a baking tray
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  4. Brush a small amount of oil on the skewered koftas to prevent sticking to the grill.

    Brushing each skewered kofta with oil
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  5. Place the koftas on the hot grill and cook for about 12 to 14 minutes, turning occasionally after 5 to 6 minutes once the meat has firmed up.

    Kofta skewers cooking on grill
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck
  6. Once the internal temperature of the koftas reaches 165 F, remove from the grill and serve.

    Moroccan beef koftas on a baking sheet
    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Tip

  • You can serve the kofta on the skewers or take them off the skewers and arrange sections of the kofta on a plate.

Recipe Variation

  • The spice blend used here relies on those you are likely to have on your spice rack. Moroccan cooks often use a pinch of this and a pinch of that rather than measuring. If you lack one of the spices, don't stress too much. Wing it with the rest of them, or toss in a bit of ground ginger or allspice.
  • There is nothing wrong with omitting a spice you don't particularly like. Cilantro is used—which some people love, and others don't—you can substitute parsley instead.

What Country Is Kofta From?

Kofta refers to a collection of ground meat dishes such as meatballs, kebabs, and meatloaf eaten in a number of countries, including the Middle East, India, and central Asia as well as Morocco and Egypt.

What Is the Difference Between Kebab and Kofta?

Kofta kebabs are made using ground meat and are formed onto skewers before grilling. Many kebabs, like shish kebabs, are made using chunks of meat like chicken, lamb, or beef. There are a variety of different kinds of kebabs, ranging in flavors and techniques.

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