Kufta Kebab

Grilled lamb skewers with deep roots in the Middle East.


Print this pagePrint page
kufta kebab

Like so many foods on Israeli menus, kebab has its roots in the Arab kitchen. According to the Oxford Companion to Food, the name "shish kebab" is derived from an Arabic term for any type of fried meat. Only during Turkish dominance of the region did the term come to consistently refer to small chunks of meat (usually lamb) marinated, then skewered with vegetables and grilled.

The kebab that Israelis are familiar with is actually a variation of Kufta kebab, which comes from the Syrian term kooftah, or pounded meat. This favorite appears in early cookbooks from the region. Every country, from India to Afghanistan, has its own variation.

These lamb kebabs are easy to throw together, and they make a crowd-pleasing dish for a summer barbecue. Make sandwiches for your guests, or create a stuff-your-own-pita bar with fresh-baked pitas, chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, spicy harissa or schug (hot pepper sauce), and a drizzle of tahini.<<< Less


1 1/2 lbs ground lamb
1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/3 cup finely chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
4 cloves garlic, crushed






Categories: Entree, Grill, israel, Israeli food, Seasonal, Sephardic, Shabbat, Yom HaAtzmaut, Yom Yerushalayim


Spray 8 metal skewers with cooking spray and set aside.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and incorporate well with hands. Form meat mixture into about 18 to 20 equal-sized oval or round patties, and thread 3 patties onto each skewer. Preheat a clean grill or well-seasoned grill pan over medium-high heat. Grill skewers until cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Remove from heat and slide off skewers. Serve warm.

Did you like this article?  MyJewishLearning is a not-for-profit organization.

Please consider making a donation today.

Adeena Sussman

Adeena Sussman is a food writer and chef based in New York. She writes the bimonthly food column "Season to Taste" for Hadassah Magazine.