kefta, kofta, kufta, keftedes, albondigas, meatballs…. I put a recipe for Scandinavian meatballs in my book 5:2 Healthy Eating for Life, with a number of variations. This summer I have been making it as kefta kebabs, with Moroccan-inspired spices, which have proved to be hugely popular. Combining beef and pork helps to keep the cost down and they taste delicious. I find that one is enough for me on a fast day. Really good served with a tomato and cucumber salad topped with toasted cumin seeds, or stuffed into pita bread with chopped lettuce, some luscious sliced tomatoes, sliced onions and tsatsiki.
I love basic recipes like this which can be easily varied to suit different styles of cooking -
- Italian meatballs – oregano, lemon rind, black pepper;
serve with a tomato and basil sauce on a pile of spaghetti or courgette ‘noodles’
- Greek keftedes – garlic, chopped fresh mint, coriander seed;
serve as part of a meze, or stuffed into pita with tsatsiki and salad
- Swedish meatballs – cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg;
serve with a sauce made with butter, flour, cream, pepper and parsley with mash
- Moroccan kefta – garlic, cumin, paprika, ras al hanout, coriander seed;
serve with ginger yogurt dip, tomato, cucumber and cumin salad and couscous
- Spanish albondigas – garlic, nutmeg;
serve with a chunky onion, green pepper and tomato sauce and saffron rice
- Indian kofta – curry spices, garlic, ginger;
serve with raita and chappati or a spicy sauce with basmati rice
- Lebanese kefta – parsley, allspice, pepper, salt;
serve with flatbread and herby green salad – or cook and then top with onion, tomato and potato, sprinkle with spices and bake in the oven
The kefta or meatballs can be frozen uncooked.
Makes about 18 kefta (75 grams each) or 40 meatballs (30 grams each)
- 600g minced beef 1115 kcals
- 400g minced pork 572 kcals
- 2 onions, roughly chopped 88 kcals
- 2 large eggs 143 kcals
- 1 cup of flour or fresh breadcrumbs 427 kcals ( I use wholewheat breadcrumbs)
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- spices and herbs to taste
Whizz the onions and eggs in a blender (with garlic if using) and then add the flour/breadcrumbs, seasoning and spices.
Put this mixture with the meat in a large bowl and work it with your hands, adding water if needed to get a firm mixture that holds together.
Let it rest for at least 15 minutes in the fridge.
For the kefta I weigh into 75 gram amounts and form into rolls. Use a walnut sized portion for meatballs. Either can be prepared ahead and refrigerated or frozen (defrost before cooking).
For kefta, put a metal skewer through the middle and BBQ over medium-high heat for about 15 minutes, turning regularly.
For meatballs, fry in a little butter or oil until well browned all over (add 40 calories per tsp of oil)
Per kefta (75 grams): 135 kcal
Per meatball (30 grams): 60 kcal