Life’s a Feast: BBQ lamb kofte pita pockets


It’s no secret that Kiwis love lamb, and these Middle Eastern spicy meat morsels will not disappoint. They are a great way to utilise this much-loved meat. Otherwise known as a kofte, these lamb delights refuse to respect any national boundary and are enjoyed in a variety of forms from Greece, Iran, Morocco to India!

Usually cigar-shaped, for ease of eating and serving in the pita, I have turned them into bite-sized balls.

A twist on the classic meatball, enjoy this quick and tasty week-night meal.

PREP TIME: 15-20 mins

COOK TIME: 10 mins

SERVES: 4-5 people


Lamb balls

500g lamb mince

1 shallot, diced very finely

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon sumac (optional but good)

2 tablespoons fresh mint, sliced

1 teaspoon salt

Cucumber yoghurt dressing

1/2 cucumber grated

250ml natural yoghurt

Juice of half a lemon

Salt to taste


8 pita breads (I used the garlic ones for added flavour)

1 pack coleslaw (or make you own, alternative is to make a tabbouleh)


1. Pre-heat your oven to 180degC and heat your BBQ plate to a medium-high heat.

2.Place all your ingredients for the lamb balls in a mixing bowl and get your hands in there and thoroughly combine (note you can soften the garlic and shallot before you add in by frying on a medium heat in a pan with oil).

3.Next roll the lamb mince into balls slightly smaller than a golf ball and set aside.

4.Squeeze the grated cucumber to get a lot of the moisture out then combine the ingredients for the dressing, cover and pop in fridge.

5.Mix together your coleslaw (or tabbouleh) and set aside.

6.Pop out to your pre-heated BBQ and cook your lamb balls with a little oil until golden brown and cooked through (about 5-6 minutes). Place on to a serving platter and cover to keep warm until ready to serve.

7.While these are cooking, place the pita on an oven tray and heat for about 4 minutes until warmed through.

8.Cut each pita around the rim half-way so you can fire in the ingredients.

9.Place the lamb balls, coleslaw or tabbouleh and yoghurt dressing on the table so everyone can help themselves. I like to smear the inside of the pita with the yoghurt, add in the coleslaw or tabbouleh, then place in three lamb balls on the top and drizzle with a little more dressing.