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Grills & Roasts – Part 3


Lamb Kofte with Yogurt & Mint Dip

These herbed, spiced kofte are crisp on the outside and meltingly soft in the middle, with a hidden cube of feta cheese providing a salty kick. You can serve this as a main dish with salads and flatbreads. You will need eight small wooden skewers for this recipe.

PREP : 30 minutes
CHILL : 1 hour
COOK : 30 minutes

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh mint, plus extra leaves to garnish
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and stems
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt flakes
  • 1 pound fresh ground lamb
  • 3 ounces feta cheese, cut into 8 cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup Greek-style plain yogurt, to serve
  1. Put the onion and garlic onto a cutting board and, using a sharp knife, mince them together into a paste (do not use a food processor or the mixture will get too wet). Transfer to a large bowl. Add just over half of the mint, all the cilantro, cinnamon, cumin, and ginger, and 1½ teaspoons of salt, and stir. Using your hands, mix in the meat.
  2. Divide the mixture into eight portions, then roll the first into a ball before flattening it on one palm. Place a cube of feta in the center of the ball, then roll up the sides to enclose the cheese before patting the mixture into a flattened torpedo-shape patty. Repeat with the remaining mixture and feta, then cover and refrigerate the kofte for at least 1 hour, or until firm.
  3. Meanwhile, soak eight small wooden skewers in water for 20 minutes, then drain well. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  4. For the dip, mix together the yogurt and remaining mint and salt in a bowl.
  5. Heat a ridged grill pan or heavy skillet over high heat until smoking hot. Thread each kofte onto a skewer and brush them with a little oil. Cook for 6–8 minutes, or until crisp and a golden brown crust has formed, turning halfway through. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, or until cooked through.
  6. Serve the kofte hot, garnished with extra mint leaves, with the yogurt and mint dip.

Cook’s tip : To check the seasoning in the raw kofte mixture, break off a small piece and fry it until cooked, then taste and adjust the seasoning in the rest of the mixture.


Chargrilled Steak with Harissa

The full flavor of the lemony harissa dressing soaks into the steak, which unusually is marinated after cooking instead of before.

PREP : 20 minutes
COOK : 8 minutes
MARINATE : 10 minutes

  • 2 tenderloin or sirloin steaks, about ¾-inch thick
  • pinch of sea salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Harissa dressing
  • 1 heaping tablespoon rose harissa
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
  • grated zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lemon
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • pinch of sea salt
  1. Season the steaks on both sides with the salt and pepper and rub them well with the olive oil. Set aside for 10 minutes.
  2. For the dressing, whisk the rose harissa, mint, lemon zest and juice, extra virgin olive oil, and salt together in a nonreactive bowl large enough to hold both steaks. Add more harissa if you prefer a spicier dressing.
  3. Heat a ridged grill pan or heavy skillet over high heat until smoking hot. Put the steaks into the pan, one at a time if they are large, and cook for 1½ minutes on each side for rare, 2 minutes for medium–rare, and 3–4 minutes for well done. If your steak is thinner or thicker than ¾ inch, you will need to adjust the cooking time.
  4. Transfer the steaks to the dish containing the dressing and spoon it over them. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and let rest for 10 minutes.
  5. Lift the steaks onto plates and slice each one. Pour the juices back into the dressing, whisk, and spoon over the steaks.

Cook’s tip : Sirloin steak is a relatively inexpensive cut; if you buy it from a butcher, ask for a cut from the upper end.


Spiced Baked Cod with Harissa & Pine Nut Crust & Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

This dish takes minutes to prepare, and makes a delicious, easy midweek meal. The spicy, crunchy topping contrasts wonderfully with the soft fish flakes.

PREP : 10 minutes
COOK : 15 minutes

  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • ⅓ cup fresh white bread crumbs or ½ cup dried white bread crumbs
  • grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • about 20 cherry tomatoes, still on the vine
  • 2 cod fillets (about 7 ounces each)
  • 2 teaspoons rose harissa
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Crush the pine nuts in a mortar and pestle. Put them into a bowl, add the bread crumbs, lemon zest, cilantro, salt, and oil, and mix well.
  2. Place the cherry tomatoes on a large baking sheet and add the fish fillets, skin side down, arranging everything in a single layer. Spread a teaspoon of rose harissa over each fish fillet, then top with the bread crumb mixture, pressing down gently.
  3. Bake on a high shelf in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the topping is crisp and golden and the fish flakes easily when pressed with a knife. Serve the fish hot with the tomatoes.

Cook’s tip : Substitute the cod with halibut, Alaskan pollock, or any other firm white fish—whatever is freshest and the best value on the day.


Beef Shish Kabobs with Mushrooms, Red Onion & Red Pepper

Perfect for a barbecue, these spicy marinated beef shish skewers go well with Zhoug and a pile of fluffy white rice or flatbreads. Because they’re only cooked briefly, under a high heat, it’s important to use a quick-cooking steak such as tenderloin. You will need 20 wooden skewers for this recipe.

PREP : 25 minutes
MARINATE : 2 hours
COOK : 15 minutes
MAKES : 20

  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1¼ pounds tenderloin steak, trimmed of fat and cut into ¾-inch cubes
  • 8 ounces white button or cremini mushrooms, halved or quartered if large
  • 1 large red onion, cut into ¾-inch chunks
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into
  • ¾-inch chunks
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro leaves, to garnish
  1. Put the lemon juice, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cayenne, garlic, and oil into a large bowl and stir well. Add the steak, mushrooms, red onion, and red bell pepper and mix well. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
  2. When you are ready to cook the kabobs, soak 20 wooden skewers in water for 20 minutes, then drain well. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil.
  3. Thread the steak onto the skewers, alternating the cubes with the vegetables, and place them on the prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle with the salt. Roast for 10 minutes for medium–rare or 12 minutes for medium, then cut into a steak cube to check it is done to your preference.
  4. Let the skewers rest for 5 minutes under foil. Sprinkle with the cilantro and serve.

Cook’s tip : If you prefer steak well done, increase the baking time in step three to 14–15 minutes. However, be aware that because the steak is cut so small, it will be a lot tougher than well done steak usually is.


Spicy Grilled Chicken Wraps

This spiced grilled chicken is traditionally eaten for lunch or a light dinner.

PREP : 20 minutes
MARINATE : 2 hours
COOK : 25 minutes

  • 2 teaspoons fenugreek seeds
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • grated zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lemon
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes, plus large pinch
  • 2 tablespoons Greek-style plain yogurt
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 6 ounces each)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • large pinch of pepper
  • To serve
  • 8 whole wheat wraps
  • ¼ cup tahini sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rose harissa
  • 2 tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  1. Preheat a skillet over low heat until hot. Add the fenugreek, fennel, and cumin and toast for 2–3 minutes, or until aromatic. Let cool slightly, then crush in a mortar and pestle. Put into a bowl, add the garlic, nutmeg, cayenne, lemon zest, 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of salt, and the yogurt and mix well.
  2. Slash the chicken all over using a sharp knife, then put it into a shallow, nonreactive dish. Rub the marinade all over the chicken. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
  3. To cook the chicken, preheat the broiler to high. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil and place the marinated chicken on the top. Drizzle it with the oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper. Broil a couple of inches from the heat source for 20 minutes, or until cooked through, turning halfway through.
  4. Let the chicken rest for a few minutes, then tear it into large shreds and serve with the wraps, tahini sauce, rose harissa, tomatoes, and cilantro, for your guests to make their own wraps.

Cook’s tip : To check the chicken is cooked through, pierce the thickest part with the tip of a sharp knife. Any juices that run out should be piping hot and clear with no traces of red or pink.

Authentic dishes from the Middle East

Rukmini Lyer