These sizzling lamb koftas are a joy – as soon as they come off the grill they’re rolled in smashed nuts and spices, before being wrapped up with pickles and crunchy veg in a soft tortilla. They’re super simple to make, fulfilling, and in various shapes and sizes have been the ultimate street food for hundreds of years. These are brilliant in the summer, cooked on a barbecue to really enhance that beautiful, charred smoky flavour.
1. Very, very finely slice the cabbage, discarding the core, and put it into a bowl with the vinegar, sugar and a pinch of salt and pepper. Gently scrunch with your hands and put aside. Bash the pistachios and fennel seeds in a pestle and mortar or blitz in a food processor until fairly fine, then sprinkle over a board and put to one side, ready to go. Slice the lettuce.
2. Blitz the bread into breadcrumbs in a food processor with a pinch of salt and pepper and put into a bowl with the lamb. Scrunch and mix together, then divide into 4 pieces and mould each piece around a skewer into a long sausage shape – if it’s a little rustic and taking on the curves of your fingers that’s all part of it (if you’re cooking on a griddle, it’s best to use wooden skewers that you’ve soaked in water, cut to size). Get your barbecue going or put a griddle pan on a high heat to get screaming hot. Add the koftas and cook to your liking – I like them just cooked through but dark golden and really sizzling on the outside. Remove from the heat, brush with sweet chilli sauce, then simply roll in the nuts and spices until well coated.
3. Briefly warm each tortilla on the griddle or barbecue (give it a quick wipe or brush first), then load with a slice of iceberg, a kofta, a couple of radishes and a dollop of yoghurt. Squeeze the excess salty liquid out of the pickled cabbage and add a little handful of cabbage to each tortilla, then serve.
4. Tip: You can use this recipe to embrace other crunchy veg like carrots and onions as well as the lettuce and radishes, and add soft fresh herbs like mint and flat-leaf parsley, if you have them.
5. Tip: Having flat skewers makes this much easier, as the round ones can just spin around inside the minced meat. Otherwise, I recommend putting two skewers together and moulding around those, like in the picture. You could even prune some long rosemary sprigs, strip off the leaves and use those for extra flavour, and they look great too.