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Lamb Kofte

A white bowl filled with lamb kofte and parsley and tomato salad.
Lamb kofte, small, deep-fried meatballs, are filled with aromatic spices and crunchy bulgur. Served with a tomato, parsley, and pepper salad, they're snacking perfection, as well as dinner.
Marianna Leivaditaki

Prep 45 mins
Cook 15 mins
Total 45 mins
6 servings
415 kcal


For the lamb kofte

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil optional
  • 5 1/2 oz lamb hearts chopped extremely finely and seasoned with salt (optional)
  • 3/4 cup coarse bulgur
  • 2/3 cup boiling water
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 tablespoon walnuts very finely chopped
  • 1 medium-large tomato (7 oz | 200 g) finely chopped
  • 2 long green Turkish chile peppers or other peppers you like, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground fenugreek
  • 1 handful each of fresh parsley mint, and dill, all finely chopped
  • Sea salt
  • 1 1/4 cups mild vegetable oil, for frying

For the parsley salad

  • 1 bunch fresh Italian parsley (3 oz | 85 g) chopped
  • 1 small tomato (6 oz | 170 g) chopped
  • 1 small green pepper (3 oz | 85 g) deseeded and chopped
  • 1 green chile pepper deseeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon about 3 tablespoons
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Bread for serving (optional)


Make the lamb kofte

  • If using lamb hearts, in a skillet over medium heat, add the oil and lamb hearts, and fry briefly for a couple of minutes. Remove to a bowl and allow to cool a little.
    If you are not using lamb hearts, proceed to step 2.
  • In a medium bowl, cover the bulgur with the boiling water, and let it sit until slightly softened, about 10 minutes. Drain, if necessary.
  • In a large bowl, combine the lamb hearts, if using, drained bulgur, and all the remaining kofte ingredients, except the salt and oil, and mix very well. Season with salt and form into even balls about the size of walnuts.
  • In a deep saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the oil until hot but not smoking (the oil should bubble as soon as you lower the kofte into it). Working in batches, fry the lamb kofte in the oil until golden and crispy, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Use a slotted spoon to remove from the saucepan and drain on paper towels.

Make the parsley salad

  • Put the parsley, tomato, pepper, and chile on a cutting board. Go over them again and again with a big knife until you have something that looks a bit like a salsa. It’s a bit messy but it’s totally worth it.

    TESTER TIP: To speed up the prep of the salad, toss the parsley, tomato, pepper, and chile in a food processor and pulse just until everything is finely chopped.

  • Dump the parsley salad into a bowl and season with the oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
  • Serve with the kofte and some nice bread, if desired.