Lamb and Pistachio Köfte

. October, 2015
Photography by James Murphy.
Lamb and Pistachio Köfte

Rick Stein's latest book From Venice to Instanbul has dozens of achievable yet delicious recipes; Rick calls this dish the "epicentre of Turkish cuisine."


1 teaspoon cumin seeds
½ tsp fennel seeds
½ tsp coriander seeds
1.2 kg minced lamb
handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon dried mint
2 eggs, beaten
2 cloves garlic, crushed or grated
75 grams pistachios, roughly crushed
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
1 teaspoon salt
3 turns black peppermill
juice of 1 lemon
plain flour to bind, if necessary
olive oil, for brushing

For these you really do need a flat metal skewer, the sort of thing that you are bound to buy in a shop somewhere in Turkey on holiday and then find again a year or two later languishing in the back of the garage. You need the surface area to enable you to turn them. If you use a thin, round skewer, the meat will fall off. Köfte are popular all the way from Greece to Iran and as far as India, but the combination of fennel, coriander and cumin with minced lamb, pistachio nuts and chilli flakes sums up Turkey.


Crush the spice seeds with a pestle and mortar, then mix all the ingredients together. If the mixture is too wet, add a little plain flour.

Form with wet hands into sausage shapes on metal skewers. Brush with a little oil.

Cook on a charcoal barbecue or under a hot grill for about 8 minutes, turning regularly, until cooked through.

Best served with pide bread, cacık and a simple salad.

Read our practical cookbook reviewer's thoughts on Rick Stein: From Venice to Istanbul