Using mince is a great way to create quick and tasty meals from scratch. Mince is really quick to season - you don't need to marinade it for hours because there is more surface area for your spices to work their magic. Mince is pretty economical too, and there is nothing more tasty (and easy) on a mid-week night than some really tasty lamb koftas flavoured with the classic Arabic Baharat spice blend. Baharat spice is to the Middle East what Ras el Hanout is to North Africa and Garam Masala is to the Indians - blends will vary, but in general they will always contain allspice, paprika, cumin, cinnamon, cardamon, cloves, and nutmeg. It's sometimes referred to as Lebanese Seven Spice.
The holy trinity of flavoursome spiced lamb with sharp pickled cabbage and creamy, nutty tahini sauce is just heavenly, so although making the extra elements creates a little more work, it's seriously worth it.
I serve koftas with a simple chickpea salad with chopped tomatoes, cucumber, red onion and fresh parsley. I season the salad and dress it with extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice plus a nice dusting of za'atar spice. Toasted or grilled pitta finish things off nicely - a really tasty and quick mid week meal....sorted.
Ingedients for Baharat Spiced Lamb Koftas
500g lamb mince
1 white onion, coarsely grated
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
4 teaspoons baharat spice
A large sprig of flat leaf parsley, leaves picked and finely chopped
A large sprig of fresh mint, leaves picked and finely chopped
Zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon salt
Ingredients for Quick Pickled Cabbage
Half a medium sized red cabbage, finely shredded
200ml white wine vinegar
200ml cold water
3 tablespoons caster sugar
2 teaspoons salt
Ingredients for Tahini Sauce
3 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons of water (roughly)
1½ tablespoons of lemon juice
1 clove of garlic
A pinch of salt
1. Coarsely grate the white onion and then squeeze out as much of the water as you can.
2. In a mixing bowl, add the grated onion with all the remaining kofta ingredients and thoroughly mix (I find using my hands works best).
3. To make the koftas, take a large golf ball sized piece of your lamb mixture and shape it into a small sausage. You should have enough mixture for around 10-12 pieces. Place them in the fridge to chill and firm up whilst you get on with the other items.
4. To make the pickled cabbage in just 10 minutes, combine the vinegar, water, sugar and salt in a saucepan and heat until the sugar has dissolved - you won't need it to boil. Once it's all combined, turn off the heat. Shred up the red cabbage and add it to your pickling solution, mixing it through until all the cabbage is coated. Turn the cabbage around in the pickling liquid every few minutes for ten minutes. It will keep in your fridge for weeks.
5. To make the tahini sauce, combine all the ingredients and whisk together. You are looking for the consistency of pouring cream so add a little more water if it's too thick.
6. Heat a frying pan or ridged griddle pan to medium hot. Oil the koftas and then cook until they are browned on all sides and cooked to your liking - I like mine to be still slightly blushing inside.
7. Serve the koftas with the toasted pitta, your pickled cabbage, plenty of tahini sauce drizzled over and your fresh, spiced chickpea salad on the side.
Enjoy! Don't forget to tag us in your social feed and leave a review for this recipe if you enjoyed it at home.
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I keep reaching for our delicious Pickled Lemon Paste. It's intense lemon flavour provides a great lift to so many dishes whether it's a stew, sauce, dressing or marinade. This little salad is really quick and simple to prepare. The liquorice flavour of fennel is perfectly suited to carrying strong flavours...
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