It was one of those special days when both my daughter and son were home at the same time. They wanted to celebrate a birthday and took us out for dinner on Saturday – we had a marvelous time. There is something special about your kids being all grown up, working and wanting to buy you a meal (now I just can’t wait to sit in the back of their cars and kick the heck out of their seats!). The next day, I wanted to make a casual grilled lunch and was going through my list of recipes and found this kofta recipe from the Longo’s Magazine that came in the papers a few weeks ago. Perfect weather, tasty food, great company (both days) and cold drinks (yes with alcohol)!

I picked up Padron peppers on Saturday. If you have never had these, you must try them. They don’t have heat (in the chili sense), but they are packed with pepper taste. Pan fried in a touch of olive oil until the skin is nicely blistered and a bit charred, immediately sprinkled with large flakes of sea salt and immediately consumed. Make a couple of packages (I got mine at Loblaw’s) – they will go fast. The yogurt and mint dip complemented the kofta nicely. I did adapt the recipes a bit – really who makes kofta without chili peppers – just kidding.  I know the kind Chefs at Longo’s were just catering to a general population (but really!).

So try these, with or without the extra chilies and spices. I also served some pillau (flavored yellow rice) and a romaine lettuce salad with yogurt dressing (yes we tried to keep it reasonably low fat).  As always – enjoy!

Kofta Ingredients
1 lb lean ground veal
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh mint
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh coriander
1/4 cup very finely chopped red onion
1 egg
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
6 Thai or 2 Habanero Chilies – finely chopped

Yogurt Mint Dip
1 cup yogurt
1/2 English cucumber, seeded and finely diced
1/3 cup fresh mint, chopped
1/4 cup fresh coriander, chopped
1 Thai chili
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the grill to high – scrub the surface with the brush to clean, rub with a paper towel dipped in oil to complete the seasoning process – reduce heat to medium (you know your bbq grill, it needs to be hot but not so hot it burns the outside and leaves the inside raw)
Mix veal, mint, onion, egg, garlic, cumin, garam masala, coriander salt and pepper until well-combined.
Form meat into patties – oval, round, square, around skewers etc – whatever your preference
Grill, turning, for about 7 to 8 minutes or until no longer pink inside and meat thermometer registers
160°F (71°C)
There are some things that I’m not fussy about temperature – a juicy beef steak, lamb chops as an example, but chicken, pork, any type of ground meat – I don’t mess around. Get yourself an instant read thermometer if you don’t have one and take the temperature of the meat.
If you don’t have access to a bbq, pan fry these in a bit of olive oil – again it’s ground beef so take the temperature
Mix together all yogurt mint dip ingredients – taste, season and taste
It should be minty with some coriander taste in the background
If you don’t want to serve this with rice, just serve it with some soft pita

Veal Kofta, Pan-fried Padron Peppers, Yogurt-Mint Dip

Veal Kofta, Pan-fried Padron Peppers, Yogurt-Mint Dip