Harissa Chicken Kofta

Kofta are a popular Middle Eastern dish of ground (minced) meat, ie. lamb, chicken, beef or even pork, which may be shaped into meatballs, patties or loaves. Or sausage shaped and threaded onto skewers and then grilled. It’s the latter that I decided to make and bake off in the oven, as winter in Ontario, Canada is NOT a good time to go outside and fire up your barbecue.

Harissa is a spicy chili pepper paste common to the Middle East (Tunisia) which gives flavour to the blandest of dishes. I recently bought a dry spice blend at Bulk Barn and decided to give some zip to my chicken skewers by adding a generous amount to the meat mixture along with some other spice blends from my pantry.

Harissa Chicken Kofta

Harissa Chicken Kofta – serves 4

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into chunks roughly one inch in size
1 tsp vegetable oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp Harissa spice blend
1/4 tsp Chicken shawarma spice blend
1/4 tsp Bharat spice blend

Preheat oven to 425 deg Fahrenheit.

In a food processor add all of the above ingredients and pulse until you get a relatively homogenous mixture with some texture left to the meat.

Divide into four portions and with wet hands, form into 4-4 1/2 inch sausages. Thread onto soaked wooden skewers and place onto a baking sheet lined with a sheet of aluminum foil generously coated with vegetable oil.

Bake for 20-25 min, turning after 10 minute, until set with some bounce left to the meat. Turn on the broiler and broil for a couple of minutes until lightly browned.

Serve with the starch of your choice … roasted potatoes, rice or couscous as a main dish.


17 thoughts on “Harissa Chicken Kofta

    1. I had the 2 spice blends that I’d made some time ago … kind of bland … so I used the harissa spice blend to jazz them up. 🙂

      No indoor griddle/ exhaust fan over the stove so the oven was my only option.

      1. Since harissa stays in my fridge for months at a time, I just get a ready-made Israeli brand in a jar that my son prefers. Other Israeli guests are also familiar with it and like it, so I don’t have to mess around with stuff that burns holes in plastic gloves. 😻

      2. I don’t think I’ve ever had a hot sauce that was quite THAT hot. 🙂

        I enjoy the occasional touch of heat so there’s Sriracha, sambal oelek and even Korean gochujang in my fridge. As well as Frank’s Hot sauce in my pantry. I use them in moderation. And a bit of this dry harissa spice blend added to a bean or lentil soup will be nice.

      3. I see. As I said, I like some heat but I’m not one of those people who eat ‘ghost peppers’ and other very very hot types. 🙂

    1. This Middle Eastern/Greek spice blend has a wonderful assortment of spices, similar to masalas (spice blends) found in Indian cuisine.

      Like the Korean gochujang, harissa is a chili paste found in the Arabic world closely associated with Tunisia, Libya, Algeria, and Morocco (for those who don’t know) and I’ve used the paste form but I was surprised to see a dry spice/herb blend too.

      The cuisines of the world are so rich with condiment/spice blends that it’s impossible to know them all … I just learned about ajika (a Georgian/Russian dip used to flavor meat and fish dishes made with hot red peppers, garlic, herbs and spices) from a reader and commenter. And then there’s ajvar, a pepper-based condiment made principally from red bell peppers. It may also contain garlic, eggplant and chili peppers used in the Balkans in Gottscheerich, Slovenian, Albanian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbian cuisine.

    1. I enjoy using my food processor to grind up pork or chicken or turkey and then making patties with the meat. Especially with the variety of seasonings, add-ins and shapes you can turn that meat into. 🙂

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