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Meliz Berg’s Köfte Kebabs and Garlic Sauce

by Meliz Berg from Dinner Tonight

Meliz Berg's cheat's version of classic köfte kebabs can be baked in the oven, grilled on the barbecue or cooked in the air fryer. Both the sauce and the kebab mixture can be made the day before cooking, to take the pressure off if you're hosting.

From the book


These köfte are so juicy and versatile, and my preference is to make them with minced chicken thigh fillets or lamb mince. The minty, spiced garlic sauce complements them beautifully, and both the sauce and the köfte mixture can be made in advance and stored in the fridge overnight; however, don’t refrigerate the köfte mixture for longer than 24 hours – instead, freeze it, then defrost, and use when required. I bake the köfte in the oven, but you can cook them on the BBQ (ensure the BBQ grills are hot before you place the köfte on them, to prevent them from sticking, and brush them with a little olive oil as they cook) or in the air fryer.

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For the köfte:
3 tbsp olive oil
500g (1lb 2oz) chicken thigh fillets, blitzed in a food processor/500g (1lb 2oz) lamb mince
1 red onion, coarsely grated or finely chopped in a food processor
1 large kapya biber (capia pepper), red romano or red bell pepper, halved, deseeded and finely chopped in a food processor
30g (1oz) fresh flat leaf parsley, leaves and stalks finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely grated
1 tsp pul biber (Aleppo pepper/ Turkish red pepper flakes)
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp coarse black pepper
1 tsp sea salt flakes
1 tsp dried mint
2 tbsp tatlı biber salçası (Turkish sweet (mild) red pepper paste)
For the garlic sauce:
1 tsp finely grated garlic
4 tbsp mayonnaise
120ml (4fl oz) natural yoghurt
½ tsp finely chopped parsley
1 tsp lemon juice
¼ tsp dried mint
¼ tsp pul biber (Aleppo pepper/ Turkish red pepper flakes)
½ tsp sea salt flakes
¼ tsp coarse black pepper


Prep: 1 hour (plus marinating) Cook: 20 minutes.

Add 2 tbsp of the olive oil and all the remaining köfte ingredients to a large dish, mix together really well, then refrigerate the mixture for at least an hour, or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 230°C/210°C fan/450°F/gas mark 8. Line a large, shallow baking tray with parchment paper.

Take the köfte mixture out of the fridge, wet your hands with cold water (so that the mixture doesn’t stick to them) and shape into 6 long and even-sized köfte, each around 4 x 18cm (1½ x 7in) in length, directly on the lined baking tray.

Using two fingers, gently push down to create indents all along the köfte, ensuring that the köfte keep their shape.

Gently brush each köfte with the remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil, and place the tray in the oven on the middle rack for 18–20 minutes, or until the köfte are golden brown and cooked through.

While the köfte are cooking, prepare your garlic sauce – mix together all the ingredients in a small bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Once the köfte are cooked, take them out of the oven and serve immediately with the garlic sauce, some hot and fresh Fluffy Bidda/Bazlama Flatbreads (page 187 of Dinner Tonight) and any of the salads from this chapter.


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