Why not try a taste of the orient at your dinner party

Helen Keown


Helen Keown

Why not try a taste of the orient at your dinner party

Kofta is a kebab type dish popular in Middle East and Southeast Asia

Hello and welcome to all about food. This week is all about cutting down on cost but not on taste…enjoy.

Ask Gingergirl

Hello Gingergirl,

Money is a little tight at the moment but I am overdue inviting some friends over for dinner. Do you have any recipes I could try? I want low cost but I don’t want my friends to notice!

Many thanks,

Dearbhla, Annacotty.

Hello Dearbhla,

When it comes to good value and lots of great taste I recommend the ever-reliable… mince! Be it minced lamb or minced beef there are plenty of options – meatballs, homemade burgers, Bolognese, chilli, lasagne, cottage pie, meatloaf, keema… I could go on! Kofta is a kebab type dish popular in Middle Eastern and South Asian cuisine. There are many variants to this dish – on last count there were 291 different kinds of kofta in Turkey alone - but the simplest form contains minced meat mixed with spices and/or onions.

Moroccan kofta with spicy tomato sauce

(Serves 4 but feel free to double up. I do!)

500g of minced lamb

1 small red onion, finely chopped

1 teaspoon of ground coriander

1 tablespoon of chopped mint

1 teaspoon of ground cumin

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes

2 teaspoons of harissa

1 teaspoon of sugar

200g tub of Greek yoghurt

2 tablespoons of toasted pine nuts

Soak eight wooden skewers in cold water for thirty minutes – this is to prevent them from burning.

Meanwhile, mix the meat in a bowl with the onion, coriander, cumin, mint and plenty of seasoning. Shape the meat into eight sausage shapes, about 10 cm long. Thread a bamboo skewer through the centre of each sausage.

To make the sauce: Heat the oil in a pan, add the garlic and fry for a few minutes. Add the tomatoes, harissa, sugar and seasoning. Simmer the sauce for twenty to thirty minutes or until the sauce has thickened.

Grill the kofta for eight to ten minutes, turning until they are nicely browned (keep an eye on the skewers!). Place the kofta on a warm platter, spoon over the sauce, drizzle over the yoghurt and scatter with the pine nuts. Serve with warm pitta or flat breads and some cous cous.

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email: helen@gingergirl.ie

Gingergirl aka Helen Keown is an artisan food producer who produces a range of handmade luxury jams, preserves and chutney’s made from local, seasonal or organic ingredients. Helen’s produce is available nationwide from independent food emporiums and is also available at selected food delis across Europe.

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