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Monday, June 17, 2024

Chicken Kofta Kebabs (Middle Eastern-Inspired)


Plate of grilled chicken kefta kebabs over lemon rice with hummus and veggies in bowls around it

Grilling season is here, and today we’re bringing you an EASY, flavorful addition to your grilling rotation: kofta kebabs! These Middle Eastern-inspired kebabs feature ground chicken, herbs, spices, and aromatics arranged on skewers and grilled to perfection.

They’re elegant yet simple and are especially delicious served with lemon rice, hummus, tahini sauce, tabbouleh, grilled veggies, and/or pita. Just 1 bowl, 10 ingredients, and 25 minutes required! Let’s make kofta kebabs!

Ground chicken, onion, garlic, breadcrumbs, spices, parsley, and avocado oil

What is Kofta or Kefta?

Kofta, also spelled kefta, kafta, or kofte refers to meatball- or meatloaf-style dishes made from ground meat mixed with spices and other ingredients. They can be shaped into balls, patties, or cylinders. There are many variations of the dish, and it’s enjoyed in regions ranging from the Middle East to North Africa, South Asia, and beyond.

The first recipes for kofta are believed to have come from early Arab cookbooks and were made with lamb. The following is our inspired version made with chicken, and it requires just a few simple spices that achieve a taste similar to what we’ve enjoyed at Middle Eastern restaurants.

How to Make Chicken Kofta Kebabs

We begin this dish by mixing together the ground chicken, herbs, spices, onion, garlic, and breadcrumbs. To keep the recipe simple and approachable, we stuck with just a few basic spices: cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and salt. Black pepper and cayenne are optional and add a little kick!

Ground chicken, bread crumbs, minced onion and garlic, spices, and chopped parley

After combining the mixture until the spices are evenly distributed, we form it into cylinders and slide them onto metal skewers. Bamboo skewers also work, but they are prone to burning, so it’s best to soak the bamboo in water if going that route.

Placing chicken kofta around a metal skewer

Once all the kebabs have been formed and skewered, it’s grilling time!

Plate of chicken kofta kebabs before grilling

For grilling, you can use an outdoor BBQ or a cast iron grill pan on the stovetop. While grilling produces the best flavor, if you don’t have one, you can also form the mixture into patties and cook in an oiled skillet.

Chicken kofta kebabs on a grill pan with grill marks on one side of them

We hope you LOVE these kofta kebabs! They’re:

Elegant yet simple
Subtly spicy
Satisfying
Quick & easy
Middle Eastern-inspired
& SO versatile!

What to Serve with Kofta Kebabs

The serving options are endless! We especially enjoy these kebabs with lemon rice, hummus, tahini sauce, tabbouleh, grilled veggies, and/or pita. They would also be delicious with harissa chickpeas, couscous, dolmas, falafel, and other Middle Eastern dishes.

More Grilling Recipes

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo @minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Chicken kofta kebabs cut open with a fork over a bowl of lemon rice

Prep Time 15 minutes

Cook Time 10 minutes

Total Time 25 minutes

Servings 4 (two-kebab servings)

Course Entrée

Cuisine Egg-Free, Gluten-Free (optional)

Freezer Friendly No

Does it keep? 2-3 Days

Prevent your screen from going dark

  • 1 lb ground chicken (we used 93% lean)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (or sub up to half with fresh mint)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs (or store-bought // gluten-free as needed // almond flour also works)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cayenne (optional)
  • Avocado oil (or spray // for greasing grill)
  • If using bamboo skewers, soak in water for at least 30 minutes before using to prevent them from burning on the grill. We prefer metal skewers.

  • To a medium mixing bowl, add ground chicken, chopped onion and parsley, garlic, breadcrumbs, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, salt, pepper (optional), and cayenne (optional). Use your hands (with food prep gloves, if desired) to combine the mixture until the spices are evenly distributed. Wash hands thoroughly after touching raw meat.

  • Preheat a grill pan or outdoor grill to medium-high heat. Lightly spray the grill pan or lightly brush the grill with avocado oil.

  • Take ~1/4 cup of the chicken mixture and shape it into a log. Press a skewer through the center and shape to about 5 inches long and 1 inch thick. Repeat with the remaining chicken mixture. Recipe as written should make ~8 skewers.

  • Once the grill is hot, use a lightly greased metal spatula (or clean hands holding onto the meat, not the skewer, to prevent it from sliding off) to add as many kebabs as will fit without touching. Cook for 3-4 minutes on the first side, then flip gently with a metal spatula or tongs, and continue cooking for 3-4 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into the center reaches an internal temperature of 165 F (74 C). When done, the skewers should have dark brown grill marks, shrink in size by about 25%, and no longer be pink. If the sides don’t look cooked, your skewers may be thicker, in which case you should flip onto each of the thin sides for 1-2 minutes to cook until done.

  • Enjoy the kofta kebabs hot with lemon rice, hummus, tahini sauce, tabbouleh, grilled veggies, and/or pita bread!
  • Best when fresh. Leftovers keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days and reheat well on the stovetop in a skillet over low-medium heat until warmed through. The uncooked mixture can also be frozen into patties and cooked directly from frozen in a skillet over medium heat for ~5-6 minutes per side.

*If you don’t have skewers, a grill, or a grill pan, you can form the mixture into patties and pan-fry in an oiled skillet over medium heat for ~4-5 minutes per side, or until the center reaches an internal temperature of 165 F (74 C).
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with 1/2 tsp avocado oil and without optional ingredients.

Serving: 1 (two-kebab) serving Calories: 228 Carbohydrates: 10.2 g Protein: 22.2 g Fat: 11.5 g Saturated Fat: 2.9 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.2 g Monounsaturated Fat: 5.5 g Trans Fat: 0.08 g Cholesterol: 97 mg Sodium: 426 mg Potassium: 759 mg Fiber: 1.6 g Sugar: 1.3 g Vitamin A: 66 IU Vitamin C: 6.7 mg Calcium: 96 mg Iron: 5.7 mg



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