Grilled Moroccan Lamb Kefta
Kefta is a popular street food in Morocco that’s traditionally made with ground lamb or beef combined with an aromatic blend of fresh herbs and spices and formed into long, oval meatballs that are skewered for grilling.
Our version is made with ground lamb flavored with fresh mint, cilantro, onion, garlic, cumin, coriander and cinnamon.
Served with crisp lettuce and wedges of ripe tomato, grilled pita bread or naan and a cool Cucumber-Yogurt sauce for dipping, Moroccan lamb kefta makes a delicious dinner that’s both richly flavored and easy to prepare.
- 1 lb ground lamb
- 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
- 1 to 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of cayenne (optional)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, loosely packed
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint, loosely packed
- Vegetable oil
- Romaine lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
- 2 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges
- Pita bread or naan, warmed or briefly grilled
- Lemon wedges
For the Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce:
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup cucumber, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh mint, very finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Make the dipping sauce by combining the yogurt, cucumber, garlic, mint and lemon juice in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Place the ground lamb in a large mixing bowl. Add the onion, garlic, cilantro, mint, salt, a few grinds of black pepper, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and cayenne.
- Using your hands, combine the ingredients until thoroughly blended.
- Divide the mixture into 8 equal portions and form them into 3-inch long oval patties.
- Arrange the patties on a platter, cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
- Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to medium-high heat (about 450°F).
- Thread the lamb patties on skewers (see notes) and brush all over with a little olive oil.
- Oil the grill grates as well, then add the skewers.
- Grill until the patties are cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side.
Tip: It helps to have a spatula handy when turning the skewers to prevent the patties from breaking.
- Serve with lettuce, tomato, warm pita (or naan), lemon wedges and the Cucumber-Yogurt dipping sauce.
If you are using wooden skewers, soak them in water while the lamb chills to be sure they don't catch fire on the grill.