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Beef Kofta in Pitta Pockets with Yoghurt Dressing and Tomato and Cucumber Salad

Beef Kofta in Pitta Pockets with Yoghurt Dressing and Tomato and Cucumber Salad

You can make these Greek-style beef patties as big or as small as you like – small ones make good lunchbox treats. They are also a great weekend dinner treat and it’s still pretty healthy.

Beef Kofta in Pitta Pockets with Yoghurt Dressing and Tomato and Cucumber Salad

Serves 4

4 wholemeal (whole-wheat) pocket pitta breads

Small handful of flat-leaf (Italian) parsley leaves, roughly torn (optional)

Small handful of mint leaves, roughly torn (optional)



1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 tablespoons olive oil

¾ large red onion, very finely chopped (use the remaining 1/4 for the salad)

1 ½ garlic cloves, crushed or finely chopped (use the remaining 1/2 clove for the yoghurt sauce)

600 g minced beef

2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 tablespoon finely chopped mint leaves



3 firm, ripe tomatoes, or 250 g cherry tomatoes, diced

2 Lebanese (short) cucumbers, diced

¼ large red onion, thinly sliced

1 lemon

1 tablespoon olive oil


Yoghurt sauce

200 g Greek-style yoghurt

1–2 teaspoons lemon juice

½ garlic clove

pinch of sea salt


For the kofta, heat a medium, dry frying pan over a medium heat. Add the ground coriander and cumin and cook for 1–2 minutes, or until fragrant, shaking the pan regularly. Tip the spices into a large bowl.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in the same pan over a medium heat and fry the onion and garlic for 3–4 minutes until softened. Add to the spices in the bowl.

Add the beef, parsley and mint to the bowl and season with salt and pepper. Using clean hands, mix thoroughly for 1–2 minutes. Divide the mixture into 8–12 portions, depending on whether you want larger or smaller koftas, then form them into kofta (short, fat sausage) shapes. Don’t make them too fat or they will take quite a while to cook. Chill the koftas for 20 minutes if you have time.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan-forced and line a baking tray with baking paper. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in the frying pan over a medium–high heat and fry the kofta, in batches if necessary, for 4–5 minutes, turning regularly until they are browned all over. Transfer the kofta to the lined tray and finish cooking them in the oven for 8 minutes if smaller, and 10 minutes if larger. Wrap the stack of pitta breads in a piece of foil, then put them in the oven for 3–4 minutes to warm though while the kofta are cooking.

Meanwhile, prepare the salad. Combine the tomato, cucumber and onion in a bowl. (If your family prefers not to mix their food, leave them separate and serve the dressing on the side.) Squeeze the juice from half the lemon and cut the remaining half into wedges. Drizzle the olive oil and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice over the salad and toss to combine.

For the yoghurt sauce, combine the yoghurt with the lemon juice, garlic and salt.

Combine the parsley and mint (if using) in a separate small bowl. To serve, cut each pitta pocket in half across the middle, then carefully open out each half to form a pocket. Add a spoonful of yoghurt sauce, a kofta and a spoonful of salad. Top with the herbs, if desired, and another dollop of yoghurt.


This is an edited extract from Dinner Like a Boss by Katy Holder published by Hardie Grant Books RRP $29.99 and is available in stores nationally.

Photographer: © Benito Martin

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