The Meat Tip You Need For The Perfect Kofta

Whether you're getting ready to celebrate Eid or simply a kofta fan, there is one tip you'll want to know before firing up the grill.

According to Delighted Cooking, kofta is made by mixing ground meat with spices (namely coriander, garlic, cumin, turmeric, cardamom, and nutmeg) and forming the mixture into balls or tube-shapes to grill, bake, or fry. The dish has a Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian origin, it says, and the kebab's trademark smooth texture comes from how incredibly fine the meat is ground to make the dish. In fact, the name "kofta" might have etymological origins in the Persian "koofteh," literally meaning "pounded meat," per 196 Flavors. It's difficult to know for certain, though, since folks have been enjoying the dish since the 13th century.

But for as long as kofta has found its way onto tables across the centuries, there remains one tried and true tip for making the perfect kofta -– and it's all about the meat.

Melty mouthfeels need fat

The cuts of meat that people use to make kofta has changed pretty significantly since the dish's origin in the 13th century. The invention of the meat grinder in the 18th century made smaller cuts of scrap meat a popular option for forming the kebabs, according to Dishes Origins. But the cut of meat you select when making kofta can actually be a crucial enough choice to make or break your kebabs.

The most important part of achieving that classic kofta fall-apart mouthfeel isn't necessarily the flank or even the animal; it's the fat content of the meat. Egyptian kebab shops usually make kofta using "lyieh," a fatty cut of lamb tail, per Amira's Pantry. But, since lyieh is difficult to find in the U.S., Amira's recommends using ground lamb meat instead. If using beef, the site suggests choosing a cut with at least 20% fat. Overly lean meat will make these characteristically melty meatballs tough and chewy. Lamb functions ideally for shaping your kofta because it is naturally fattier than beef — a 100 gram serving of beef contains 4.2 grams of fat, versus 8.8 grams of fat in the same size portion of lamb, via Foods for Better Health. By opting for lamb on your grocery list, you let the ingredients do the heavy lifting when it's time to make your kebabs. Or, if beef is more your speed, be sure to check out the fat content before you hit the checkout line.