That Spicy Chick

Spicy Lamb and Chicken Kofta

These Spicy Lamb and Chicken Kofta are easy to make, beautifully spiced, and can be cooked on an indoor grill pan or outdoor grill. Pair them with your choice of sides, toppings, and sauces for a delicious meal any day of the week or serve them at your next party or gathering!

These Spicy Lamb and Chicken Kofta are super quick and easy to make and jam-packed with flavor! They’re made with ground lamb and chicken, red onion, parsley, coriander, fresh red chilies, and seasoned to perfection.

What are Kofta?

Kofta (also known as kafta in Lebanon or kefta in Morroco) are oblong shaped grilled marinated meat. They’re essentially Middle Eastern meatballs, though India has a variation too.

You can cook them indoors any time of the year using a grill pan. In the summer you can grill them on your outdoor BBQ grill too.

Serve them over rice or with pita bread and a side salad. Don’t forget the kebab shop style sauces like garlic sauce, cilantro and mint sauce, and spicy harissa mayo to make this an EPIC lunch or dinner any day of the week!

Why This Recipe Works

  • Easy to make. All you have to do is marinate the meat, shape the kofta, then grill and serve!
  • Customizable. While traditional Lebanese kofta are made with beef or lamb, you can use either lamb, beef, chicken, turkey or a combination of two types of meat.
  • Adjustable spice level. Use less or more of the spicy ingredients to adjust the spice level to suit your heat level preference.
  • Can be cooked indoors or outdoors. You can grill them in a grill pan or griddle on the stovetop or on an outdoor grill.
  • Make ahead and freezer-friendly. They can be made ahead and frozen for up to 3 months.
  • Great for any occasion! Enjoy them for an easy lunch or dinner any day of the week. Or serve them at your next party or gathering where they’re sure to be a hit!

Ingredient Notes and Substitutes

Labeled ingredients for Spicy Lamb and Chicken Kofta on a wooden board.
  • Ground Meat: I used a combination of ground lamb made from lamb shoulder and lean ground chicken. You can use only one type of ground meat such as lean ground beef (10-15% fat), turkey, chicken, lamb or a combination of any two types you like.
  • Aromatics and Herbs: Red onion (or use yellow onion), garlic, fresh Thai Bird’s Eye red chilies, fresh coriander (cilantro), and Italian parsley. Feel free to use any type of small hot red chilies you like. Use less chilies or omit completely if you’re sensitive to heat.
  • Spices & Seasonings: While kofta requires several spices and seasonings, most of them are everyday pantry seasonings that you likely already have on hand. Traditionally “baharat” (Lebanese 7-spice seasoning) is used to make kofta. I like to use a homemade garam masala instead in addition to other warm spices like ground cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, cumin, coriander, and cayenne for heat. Other spices I add are za’atar and sumac. Za’atar is a spice blend usually made with dried thyme, sumac, sesame seeds, and occasionally other spices and dried herbs depending on the regional variation. Sumac is a Middle Eastern spice with a dark maroon color and lemony flavor. You can leave these two out if you don’t have them on hand. Just add an extra splash of lemon juice to replace the sumac.
  • Harissa Paste: A smoky and slightly spicy Tunisian hot chili pepper paste that is made with roasted red peppers and other spices and herbs. Look for it in the Middle Eastern aisle of your local supermarket, Middle Eastern/Mediterranean grocery stores, or order it online.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: This not only helps to flavor the meat but also keeps it moist during cooking.
  • To Serve: I love serving these spicy lamb and chicken kofta over steamed rice with a side salad made with baby arugula, cherry tomatoes, chopped parsley and coriander and a light dressing made with lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. For sauces, my kebab shop garlic sauce, creamy cilantro and mint sauce, and smoky spicy harissa mayo taste delicious with the kofta and tossed with the salad too.

Full ingredient list and amounts are in the recipe card below.

How to Make Spicy Lamb and Chicken Kofta

1. Prepare the aromatics and herbs. Process the chopped red onion, garlic, fresh red chilies, coriander, and parsley in a food processor until finely minced and almost like a paste.

Processed aromatics and herbs in a food processor bowl.

2. Marinate the meat. Combine the ground lamb and chicken, processed aromatics and herbs, spices and seasonings, harissa, double concentrated tomato paste, lemon juice, and extra virgin olive oil in a large mixing bowl. Use your hands to mix until combined well. Transfer the mixture to an airtight sealed container. Place in the fridge to marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight for best flavor.

Marinated meat in a mixing bowl.

3. Shape the kofta. Shape the marinated meat mixture into oblong shapes. You can shape them on skewers or without them.

Oblong shaped kofta on parchment paper lined baking tray.

4. Grill. Heat oil in cast iron or nonstick grill pan or griddle over medium-high heat. Place a few kofta pieces on the grill pan and grill each side for a few minutes until cooked through or to your desired doneness. Use tongs to turn the kofta onto their sides and cook each side for a few seconds. Transfer to a clean plate and grill the remaining kofta.

Raw kofta on an indoor grill pan.
Grilled kofta on grill pan.

Serve! Serve immediately while hot with your choice of sides, toppings, and sauces!

Kofta over steamed rice and salad on a plate.

Full detailed instructions are in the recipe card below.

Cook’s Tips

  • Avoid overmixing the meat. Overmixing causes the meat to become tough and dry when cooked. Use your hands to incorporate the ingredients instead of mixing with a spoon to avoid overmixing.
  • Marinate overnight for the best flavor. Although 2 hours is good enough if you are short on time, the flavors of the marinade intensify over time and will make the meat more delicious the next day.
  • Adjust spice level to taste. Feel free to use more or less (or omit completely) of the fresh red chilies, ground cayenne, and harissa to make the kofta milder.
Closeup of cut kofta pice on a spoon with garlic sauce on a plate with rice.

FAQs

Can I cook kofta on an outdoor grill?

I recommend shaping the kofta into longer (3 to 4-inch long) oblong pieces) if using an outdoor grill. To grill them, grease the grill grates and preheat to medium-high heat. Place the kofta on the grill and cook each side for 4-5 minutes until cooked through or to your desired doneness.

What to serve with kofta?

Kofta can be served with a variety of toppings, sides, and sauces. You can serve them with cooked rice, pita bread, cucumber, tomatoes, red onion, parsley, coriander, toasted pine nuts, and an arugula or other salad with salt, pepper, and a light lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil dressing. For sauces, kebab shop style garlic sauce or toum (Lebanese garlic sauce), creamy cilantro and mint sauce, spicy harissa mayo, and tahini sauce pair well with kofta.

Can I freeze kofta?

After shaping the kofta, freeze them on a parchment paper lined tray until solid. Transfer to a sealed airtight container or Ziploc bag lined with foil and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge the day before you want to cook them. Grill as per instructions on a grill pan/griddle or on an outdoor grill.

How long will they keep?

The kofta will keep in an airtight sealed container for 3-4 days in the refrigerater. They can be reheated in the microwave for 30-50 seconds or until hot throughout.

Cut kofta with garlic sauce and plate with kofta over rice and salad. Text overlay "Spicy Kofta with Lamb and Chicken" and "thatspicychick.com".

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Kofta over steamed rice and salad on a plate.

Spicy Lamb and Chicken Kofta

 These Spicy Lamb and Chicken Kofta are easy to make, beautifully spiced, and can be cooked on an indoor grill pan or outdoor grill. Serve with your choice of sides, toppings and sauces for a delicious meal any day of the week!

  • Author: Lavina
  • Prep Time: 25
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 15 kofta 1x
  • Category: Lunch
  • Method: Grill
  • Cuisine: Lebanese
Scale

Ingredients

For the Spicy Lamb and Chicken Kofta:

  • ½ medium Red Onion – finely chopped
  • 6 Garlic Cloves – finely chopped
  • 24 fresh Red Chilies (I used Thai Bird’s Eye, but any small hot red chilies will work), to taste – finely chopped
  • 2 TBLS chopped fresh Italian Parsley
  • 2 TBLS chopped fresh Coriander (Cilantro)
  • 227 grams / 8 ounces Ground Lamb
  • 240 grams / 8.5 ounces Ground Chicken
  • ½ TSP freshly cracked Black Pepper
  • 1.5 TSP Kosher Salt (use half the amount if using iodized table salt)
  • ½ TSP Coriander Powder
  • ¼ TSP ground Cumin
  • ½ TSP ground Cinnamon
  • ¼ TSP ground Nutmeg
  • ¾ TSP Garam Masala (homemade preferred but store-bought is fine too)
  • 1 TSP ground Cayenne, to taste
  • ¼ TSP ground Cardamom
  • ¼ TSP Dried Thyme
  • ½ TSP Za’atar (see note 1)
  • ½ TSP Sumac (see note 1)
  • 1 TBLS Harissa Paste (see note 2)
  • 1 TBLS Double Concentrated Tomato Paste
  • 1 TBLS freshly squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 1.5 TBLS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 TBLS Olive Oil (for cooking)
  •  

To Serve (optional sides/toppings/condiments):

  • Cooked Rice or Rice Pilaf
  • Pita Bread – pan toasted/warmed
  • Cucumber slices
  • Cherry Tomatoes (or chopped garden tomatoes) – halved
  • Red Onion slices
  • Italian Parsley – chopped
  • Toasted Pine Nuts
  • Arugula salad
  • Kebab Shop Garlic Sauce
  • Cilantro and Mint Sauce
  • Spicy Harissa Mayo
  • Tahini Sauce

Instructions

  1. Prep: Finely chop the red onion, garlic, fresh red chilies, coriander, and parsley. Transfer to a food processor bowl and process until finely minced.
  2. Marinate the meat: Combine the ground lamb, ground chicken, the processed aromatics and herbs, all of the spices and seasonings, harissa chili paste, double concentrated tomato paste, lemon juice, and extra virgin olive oil in a large mixing bowl. Mix using your hands until combined well. Transfer the mixture to an airtight sealed container. Place in the fridge to marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight for best flavor.
  3. Assemble the kofta: Take out the marinated meat from the fridge 30 minutes before you plan to cook the kofta to take the chill off. Form into 2-inch long and 1-inch thick oblong shapes. (You can form them on metal or wooden skewers or without.)
  4. Grill: Brush 2 tablespoons of oil in a cast iron or nonstick grill pan or griddle and heat over medium-high heat. (See note 4 to cook on an outdoor grill.) Place 5-6 kofta on the grill pan (depending on the size of your pan) and grill each side for 4-5 minutes until cooked through or to your desired doneness. Use tongs to turn the kofta onto their sides and cook each side for 30 seconds. Transfer to a clean plate and repeat until all the kofta are cooked.
  5. To Serve: Serve hot with your choice of sides, toppings, and sauces.

Notes

  1. Za’atar and Sumac: Za’atar is a spice blend usually made with dried thyme, sumac, sesame seeds, and occasionally other spices and dried herbs depending on the regional variation. Sumac is a Middle Eastern spice with a dark maroon color and lemony flavor. They are available at Middle Eastern/Mediterranean grocery stores and online. Omit the za’atar if you don’t have it on hand. Add an extra splash of lemon juice to the meat marinade to replace the sumac.
  2. Harissa Paste: This is a smoky and slightly spicy Tunisian hot chili pepper paste that is made with roasted red peppers and other spices and herbs. Look for it in the Middle Eastern aisle of your local supermarket, Middle Eastern/Mediterranean grocery stores, or order it online.
  3. Adjust spice level to taste. Feel free to use more or less (or omit completely) of the fresh red chilies, ground cayenne, and harissa to make the kofta milder.
  4. To cook on an outdoor grill: I recommend shaping the kofta into longer (3 to 4-inch long) oblong pieces) if using an outdoor grill. To grill them, grease the grill grates and preheat to medium-high heat. Place the kofta on the grill and cook each side for 4-5 minutes until cooked through or to your desired doneness.
  5. Make ahead: After assembling the kofta, freeze them on the tray until solid. Transfer to a sealed airtight container or Ziploc bag lined with foil and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge the day before you want to cook them. Grill as per instructions on a grill pan/griddle or on an outdoor grill.
  6. Storing and reheating. Kofta will keep in an airtight sealed container for 3-4 days in the refrigerator. They can be reheated in the microwave for 30-50 seconds or until hot throughout.
  7. Cook time: Total cook time indicated in the recipe card does not account for the 2-4 hours/overnight marinating time for the meat mixture.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 3 kofta
  • Calories: 342
  • Sugar: 3.4g
  • Sodium: 479.5mg
  • Fat: 27.2g
  • Saturated Fat: 7.5g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 18.1g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 7.8g
  • Fiber: 1.5g
  • Protein: 17.3g
  • Cholesterol: 74.4mg

The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary based on several factors. It should only be used as a general guideline. For more information, please see our Disclosure.

This post may contain affiliate links. We are a part of the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you) by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary based on several factors. It should only be used as a general guideline. For more information, please see our Disclosure.

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