Curry Lamb Kofta Kebabs With Coconut Lime Dipping Sauce

A plate of curry lamb kofta kebabs with coconut mint dipping sauce

Last Updated on October 10, 2023 by Melissa Reome

This post is sponsored by The American Lamb Board, rest assured all opinions are my own.

I’ve been frequenting a number of Middle Eastern restaurants lately to satisfy my desire for grilled kebabs of all types. As eating out frequently is expensive, I sought to make a few versions of kebabs I can make in my own home. My idea for curry lamb kofta kebabs with coconut lime dipping sauce came when I was eating at a local Mediterranean restaurant. As I read through the typical and certainly delicious menu options, I wanted something different. As a lover of both Indian and Turkish cuisine, my idea for this recipe was born.

For my recipe, I used American lamb which is flavorful and nutritious. Buying American lamb helps to support our local farmers. For information on where you can find American lamb near you, visit the American Lamb Board. My curry lamb kofta kebabs are not spicy in regard to heat level at all. If you are more adventurous and would like to add some chiles or red pepper flakes to kick them up a notch, by all means do.

Curry Lamb Kofta Kebabs With Coconut Lime Dipping Sauce
Curry Lamb Kofta Kebabs With Coconut Lime Dipping Sauce

What Is Kofta?

Kofta is a name given to a dish across a multitude of cuisines which includes finely ground meat with a variety of spices.  The meat is either formed into what we would call a meatball or it is shaped into a log and skewered for cooking or grilling. The Persian origin of the word koftah translates to “pounded meat”. This delicacy of kofta is popular in Middle Eastern, South Asian, Central Asian and African cuisine.  The spelling will vary depending on the region and may include kofta, kefta, kufte as well as others. Traditionally kofta is made with ground beef, lamb or a combination of both.

Curry Lamb Kofta Kebabs On A Santa Maria Grill
Curry Lamb Kofta Kebabs On A Santa Maria Grill

What Is The Difference Between Lamb Kofta Kebabs And Lamb Kebabs

Lamb kofta is made with ground lamb and does not have to be on a skewer at all. For instance, depending on the cuisine you are eating, kofta may be in the form of a meatball, a log or a similar form. When you put the kofta on a skewer, it becomes lamb kofta kebab. The term “kebab” by itself typically implies solid chunks of meat that are usually marinated and then cooked on a skewer. When I make kofta, if using metal skewers, I will typically remove the meat from the skewers prior to serving.

Typical Ingredients For Lamb Kofta Kebabs

American Lamb: High quality and flavorful American Lamb is the centerpiece to making lamb kofta kebabs.

Spices: Spices for kofta kebabs will vary depending on the type you are making.  Mediterranean kofta may include cumin, coriander, paprika, sumac, cinnamon for example.  My curry lamb kofta kebabs will include curry, garam masala and ginger as well to fit more of an Indian flavor profile.

Ingredients on tray for kofta kebabs
Ingredients For Curry Kofta Kebabs

Fresh Herbs: The use of fresh parsley or fresh cilantro really brings a pop of bright flavor to the kofta.

Garlic and Onion: The use of garlic and onion in kofta kebabs is fairly universal across different cuisines. Make sure both are finely minced as small as possible.

Bread Crumbs: Much like in the Westernized version of a meatball, bread crumbs act as a binder to help hold the meat together. It will not be found in all kofta kebab recipes however. I find that without out, it is more challenging to keep the kofta from falling off of the skewer.

Salt and Pepper: Although recipes may call for the addition of salt and pepper in the ingredient list, salt and pepper should always be added to your personal taste.

Guide To Making Delicious Lamb Kofta Kebabs

Making grilled lamb kofta kebabs is much easier than you think! If you can make a meatball recipe, then making these is just as simple with a few tips.

In a large bowl, combine all of the lamb, spices, garlic onion, bread crumbs, salt and pepper.

Kofta ingredients in a bowl ready to mix
Mixing Ingredients

Mix the ingredients until thoroughly combined but do not overwork the meat or your kofta kebabs will be tough.

Cover and refrigerate the lamb mixture for 1 hour or up to 12 hours for best flavor.

If using wooden skewers, soak them for at least 30 minutes prior to placing meat on them so they don’t burn when grilling. I highly recommend using flat metal skewers as they hold the meat better than wooden ones.

Forming The Lamb Kofta On A Metal Skewer
Forming The Lamb Kofta On A Metal Skewer

While wearing vinyl gloves or with clean bare hands, form the meat around the skewer. Ideally you are looking for the meat to be flattened out to about an inch wide. Repeat this process until all of the meat mixture is used.  Place kofta kebabs on a lightly oiled sheet pan. Alternatively, place kebabs on a piece of parchment paper on a sheet pan.

Curry Lamb Kofta Kebabs Prior To Cooking
Curry Lamb Kofta Kebabs Prior To Cooking

How To Grill Perfect Lamb Kofta Kebabs

To grill perfect lamb kofta kebabs, make sure your grill grates are clean, and lightly oiled so the meat does not stick to them. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat (375-400°F). Gently place the kebabs on the grill over direct heat. Grill on each side for approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Be gently when flipping the kebabs as the meat will tend to slide on the skewer somewhat until they firm up.

Actual cook time will vary due to variances in grill temperature and size of the kebabs. The kebabs are finished cooking when the internal temperature of the meat reaches 160°F as recommended by the USDA for ground lamb. Once the lamb kofta kebabs are cooked, remove them from the grill and allow them to rest for a few minutes prior to serving.

Curry Lamb Kofta Kebabs On A Santa Maria Grill
Curry Lamb Kofta Kebabs On A Santa Maria Grill

Coconut Lime Dipping Sauce

I created a coconut lime dipping sauce because I wanted something light and subtle with a hint of citrus and mint to pair with the lamb. It is great to eat just as a dipping sauce or try some in a pita with the kofta kebabs! This dipping sauce is a mix of coconut cream, plain yogurt, lime juice, lime zest and fresh mint leaves if you have some on hand. If you prefer a strong mint flavor, add more than this recipe calls for. Mint can be overpowering sometimes so add some, taste and add more if you prefer. Don’t forget to add salt and pepper to taste. The salt is definitely needed to make the flavors pop.

I use coconut cream as opposed to coconut milk for this dipping sauce because it is thicker. Make sure you shake the can well as it often separates in the can. If it still separated, just dump it all out in a bowl and it will still mix perfectly with the other ingredients.

A plate of curry lamb kofta kebabs with coconut mint dipping sauce
Curry Lamb Kofta Kebabs

Serving Suggestion

These curry lamb kofta kebabs are great just with the dipping sauce for a smaller meal. I love them also on a pita with some of the dipping sauce and fresh onion or tomatoes if in season. They are great served with basmati rice or grilled vegetables for a more substantial meal. Feel like a burger?  Use the kofta kebab recipe and form it into 4 equal patties for fantastic lamb burgers!

Love lamb?  Check out my other recipes for Grilled Lamb Salad With Farro and Lemon Vinaigrette and Grilled Chimichurri Lamb Chops!

A plate of curry lamb kofta kebabs with coconut mint dipping sauce

Curry Lamb Kofta Kebabs With Coconut Lime Dipping Sauce

A twist on classic lamb kofta kebabs, these grilled curry lamb kofta kebabs with coconut lime dipping sauce are full of flavor.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian, Mediterranean
Keyword lamb kofta kebab, curry lamb, lamb, recipes, ground lamb, American lamb
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 3 people (6-7 kofta)
Author Melissa Reome


Curry Lamb Kofta Kebabs

  • 1 lb American ground lamb
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic minced and crushed into a paste
  • 1 small onion or about 1/4 cup yellow or white
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and finely minced or 1/4 tsp ground ginger (as more potent)
  • 1/4 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped fine plus extra for garnish if desired
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper preferably fresh ground
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

Coconut Lime Dipping Sauce

  • 160 ml canned coconut cream (5.4oz can)
  • 4 leaves fresh mint, chopped fine
  • 2 zest of two limes
  • 1 tsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 pinch kosher salt plus more to taste
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper plus more to taste


Curry Lamb Kofta Kebabs

  • In a large bowl, mix all ingredients. Combine gently until well incorporated. Try not to overwork the meat as that will make it more tough.
  • Cover and refrigerate the mixture for at least 1 hour or for up to 12 hours.
  • If using wooden skewers, soak the skewers for 1 hour prior to grilling to prevent them from burning. Flat metal skewers work best. If using wooden skewers, it is helpful to use 2 skewers per kebab so the meat doesn't slide off as easily.
  • Preheat the grill to medium-high direct heat and lightly oil grill grates to prevent meat from sticking.
  • Form roughly a golf ball sized amount of meat and place it on the end of a skewer. Work the lamb down the skewer until the meat is roughly 1 inch thick. If the meat is too thin, it has a higher risk of drying out.
  • Repeat the process with the remaining lamb and skewers. Place the finished skewers on a sheet pan lightly covered with cooking oil or parchment paper to prevent sticking.
  • Place skewers of lamb on the grill and grill for approximately 4-6 minutes on each side. The USDA recommends ground lamb is cooked to an internal temperature of 160°F. Cook time will depend on variances in grills and size of individual kofta kebabs. I highly recommend measuring the internal temperature of the lamb with an instant read thermometer.
  • Rest kofta kebabs for a few minutes prior to serving. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Coconut Lime Dipping Sauce

  • Mix coconut cream, yogurt, mint, lime juice, lime zest, salt and pepper in a bowl and whisk until well combined. If not using immediately, cover and refrigerate until needed.
Did you make this recipe?Tag @grillmomma on Instagram to share your brilliance!


* Coconut cream separates in the can and it is completely normal.  Use the entire contents of the can for the dipping sauce.
* There is no need to close the grill lid when cooking. These can be made on any type of grill but grilling over wood or charcoal makes it taste even more delicious.
*Adjust the taste of the dipping sauce to your liking. Want extra mint or lime, feel free to add it. Don't forget to adjust the taste with a little salt. It makes a big difference.
*I highly recommend fresh garlic and ginger. However you do not have them, and want something more convenient, I highly recommend the tubes of refrigerated garlic and ginger you can usually find in the refrigerated produce section of the grocery store. Do not use the jars of garlic that are not refrigerated. Powdered ginger is an alternative just note you use much less powdered ginger compared to fresh as it is more potent.

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