Lamb kofta with muhammara

Ask your butcher to freshly mince the lamb shoulder. This cut will remain juicier when cooking. It's also great to barbecue. You can substitute the pomegranate molasses with a balsamic reduction. Muhammara is a pepper dip. This one is warm, but double the amount of chilli if you like it hotter.


  • For the kofta
  • 1 small red onion
  • 800g lamb shoulder, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 1½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • ½ tbsp finely chopped fresh mint
  • ½ cup toasted pine nuts, roughly chopped
  • Olive oil, for pan frying

  • For the muhammara
  • 4 red capsicums, roasted and peeled
  • Salt and pepper
  • ½ cup walnuts, toasted
  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs, toasted
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses, approximately
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 4 tbsp olive oil


For the kofta, coarsely grate the onion into a fine sieve and press out excess liquid. Place the onion and all remaining ingredients in a bowl and mix until well combined. Roll mixture into cylindrical shapes about 7cm in length. Place in the fridge to chill.

For the muhammara, roughly chop the roast capsicum flesh. Place in a blender along with remaining ingredients except the oil and blend to a paste. Occasionally turn off the processor and scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure a smooth, even paste. With the processor running, add olive oil slowly and blend until the oil is completely incorporated.

Place a little oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat and fry the kofta until golden brown. Do this in batches, with each batch taking about 6-8 minutes to cook, depending on how you prefer them done.

Serve the kofta on a platter with a bowl of muhammara on the side.

NOTES: Want something to drink?
The trick to pairing red wines with spicy foods is to avoid too much tannin and alcohol. The upfront red fruits and modest alcohol in this 2013 Glaetzer-Dixon Nouveau pinot noir from Tasmania really allow the bold flavours in this dish to shine.

First published in the Good Weekend.