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Kofta Kebabs

Kefta Kebabs

Chef notes

This is a Tila house favorite and one of the dishes Ali and I had on our first date. We also competed on Guy's Grocery Games making this dish and won best dish of that round, so don't pass this one by! A kabab is simply any meat or seafood cooked on a skewer or spit. It's a technique you need to know because of its limitless applications using a wide range of proteins.

Technique tips: Don't let the lack of a grill deter you from making these delicious skewers. You can cook them in a flat pan or even a griddle. Another key technique is to grate your onions either with a food processor or box grater and use them as a paste. This really helps distribute the onion flavor throughout.

Swap options: You can switch up the protein here. Chicken and lamb are great for this recipe, too.


  • 9 (6-inch) wood skewers
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon ground sumac
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds ground beef



Soak the skewers in warm water for at least 1 hour. This will keep them from burning.


If you're using a food processor, rough chop the onion, then process to a rough paste. Scrape down the bowl and process again as needed. Transfer to a strainer and press to remove excess liquid. Return to the processor and add the garlic, parsley, spices and oil. Process until well-combined. Transfer to a large bowl and add the ground beef.


With your hands, knead the beef with the seasonings until thoroughly combined. It may start out crumbly, but it should come together. Knead for 2-3 minutes, until the mixture is uniform and holds its shape.


Divide into 9 portions, approximately 6 ounces each. Lightly roll into a football shape, then flatten to approximately 1/2 inch. Pierce with the skewer, place in a container, cover and hold in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, which allows the flavors to develop, like marinating.


Preheat your grill to high, about 450 F, for 3-5 minutes. You want the grill to be hot to sear the meat and not stick. Reduce the heat to medium and apply oil to the grates. Grill the kebabs on one side until well-marked, about 2 minutes, flip and cook for another 2 minutes for medium (135 F internal temperature) or your desired doneness.


Remove from the skewers and serve the koftas with the sauce or your favorite Mediterranean dip, salad and/or a side of rice.