when i was a teenager, my mother had a friend with the most fantastic tzatziki recipe. he'd picked it up while living there, stationed as a soldier. i loved the incredible combination of the creamy, tangy greek yogurt and cool cucumber, sharp notes of garlic and bright, acidic lemon. i loved it so much that i asked for it for every occasion. birthdays? tzatziki. high school graduation? tzatziki. thursday night? tzatziki.
now it also makes me think of my mother, who will be here next week, who i remember standing at the kitchen sink with her hair in a ponytail, carefully draining yogurt through cheesecloth. today, since greek yogurt has exploded in the last ten years, we can thankfully skip that step.
this kofta pairs perfectly with it. it's evenly spiced with notes of cumin and greek oregano, just like you'd buy off a street cart near grand central. everything comes together in less than twenty minutes and all you need is access to either a stove or a grill - perfect for a quick summer meal.
1 lb ground beef
1/4 grated onion
2 tbsp minced parsley
2 tbsp minced mint
1 clove grated garlic
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp greek oregano
pinch cayenne pepper or paprika
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (more as needed)
1 oz canola oil
1 cup greek yogurt
1 english cucumber, grated
1 clove garlic, grated
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp chopped dill
salt & pepper
in a small bowl, combine all ingredients for kofta. add more breadcrumbs until mixture is sticky and comes together to form a ball. roll in hands to form a tube about an inch wide. skewer with a bamboo skewer. repeat.
heat a pan with 1 oz canola over medium high heat. place kofta skewers in. turn every 1-2 minutes until fully browned on all sides. remove.
in a separate small bowl, combine all ingredients for tzatziki. adjust seasoning to taste. serve.
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