وفته kufteh In Search of the perfect………….Kebab!

I love a Kebab, the only issue I have is that they are typical a bit bland, covered in a ‘not very nice’ tasting Tomato Chili sauce and the meat origin is suspect. This is a generalization as I have had some awesome Kebabs, but whilst dining in a half decent restaurant. This post is the result of some creative I have been working on over the past few months, and uses some unusual and exotic spices to create an amazing flavour. I cannot repeat/print what the boss said last night as we were munching our way through them but it was highly commendable 😉

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For me, food is about what you see, smell, taste and FEEL. Texture is important when eating, and this version of the popular take-away will have you wondering why you did not make them yourself before. I will start with the ingredients, you may need to invest in some of them as they are not found in your typical supermarket, but are readily available from my favourite suppliers such as Ottolenghi’s and Steenbergs, once you have tried this dish, you can experiment with other Middle Eastern Delights!

For the Kebab

  1.  500 grms Lamb Mince
  2. 1 Red Onion
  3. 1 Clove Garlic
  4. 1/2 tsp. Anardana
  5. 1 tsp. Sumac
  6.  1 tsp. Aleppo Pepper
  7. 1/2 tsp. ground Cumin
  8. 1 tbsp. ground Coriander powder
  9. 1 tsp. Ground Ginger
  10. 1 tsp. Thyme
  11. 1 tsp. Peppermint
  12. 1 tbsp. Dukkah
  13. 1 tsp. Pomegranate Molasses
  14. Zest of 1 lime
  15. 2 tbsp. dried Barberries

For the Red Onion Relish

  1. 1 Red Onion
  2. 2 tbsp. White Wine Vinegar
  3. 2 tbsp. Castor Sugar
  4. 60 ml Rapeseed Oil
  5. 1 tbsp. Poppy Seeds

For the Mint Yoghurt Dressing

  1. 250ml Greek Yoghurt
  2. 2 tbsp. Dried Mint
  3. 1 tsp. Sumac

To Serve

  1. 1 Baby Gem Lettuce, Leaves separated and halved lengthways
  2. 2 Tomatoes, sliced and sprinkled with some Sea Salt,  covered in 1/2 small bunch Chopped Coriander
  3. Pitta’s Grilled and Cut width ways to form pockets

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Part of the secret of this dish (it’s probably not a secret really, but the phrase sounded good at the time of writing!), is to cook the Onion and Garlic/Spice mix first, and add It to the meat when cooled, to marinade. So cut the Onion finely and cook in some Butter and Oil (or Ghee), on a lowish heat for at least 15-20 minutes, then add a splash of water and continue to cook, until the Onions are soft, melting and sweet, about another 15-20 mins. Crush a clove of Garlic and add to the Onions cooking for 2-3 mins then add all the other herbs and spices, fry for 2 minutes more then take off the heat, add the dried barberries, Lime Zest, Pomegranate Molasses, stir and leave too cool.

WP_20140126_17_26_37_ProWhen the mixture has cooled, mix well into the Lamb mince, cover and pop into the fridge for at least a couple of hours, half way through, take out and mix again, making sure the Onion/Spice is well distributed.

The accompaniments make this special, a simple dressing of Yoghurt and lots of dried Mint, with some Sumac sprinkled on top, and for me, a killer Onion Relish which is dead easy to make, and comes from one of Yotam Ottolenghi’s salad recipes which I have posted before. Thinly slice the Onion and place in a bowl. Dissolve the Sugar in the White Wine Vinegar and add to the onion, mixing well, then add the Rapeseed Oil, using your fingers to blend everything together, then finish by adding the Poppy Seeds and set aside for at least an hour (in the fridge).

The Lamb Kebabs need to be gently fried, about 3-4 minutes each side. To Serve, take a halved Pitta, opening up the large end, pop in 2-3 pieces of lettuce, some of the Onion Relish, some of the Tomato and Coriander Slices, pop in a Kebab and spoon on some Yoghurt Mint dressing.

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A simple dish to make but packed with flavor and texture, its well worth investing in some new and unique spices to make this dish. I started my culinary journey when I was seven, but only really discovered the delights of Middle Eastern flavours in recent years, and I am so glad I did. Using Cold, Hot, Piquant and Spicy really makes this dish stand out, its not Chili Hot, so you experience waves of flavor, and texture.

Till next time.

L8ers…….

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