Chicken Kofta Kebabs are easily one of my favorite dinners. (pro tip - they can also double as appetizers if you want!) They're easy to make, super flavorful, they'll never dry out because of the zucchini and make for incredible leftovers. I serve them with some pita, hummus, tzatziki, and pickled onions for good measure – it’s perfection if you ask me.
Table of Contents
The chicken mixture is made with ground chicken, zucchini, tons of herbs and a little tahini to give it some extra pizzaz. And the Sumac dressing is one for the record books (as most of my sauces are because I’m addicted to a good dressing or sauce.)
These Chicken Kofta Kebabs are a great recipe to make for a crowd as everything gets to DIY when it’s time to eat!
- Zucchini - it helps bind the Kofta Kebabs and prevents them from becoming tough and dry after grilling
- Ground Chicken - white or dark meat will work in this recipe
- Herbs - I like to use scallions, mint, and cilantro to add some brightness
- Garlic Cloves - adds another depth of flavor to the Kofta Kebabs
- Spices - it's all about the fresh herbs and spices, I use ground cumin, ground coriander, and salt to round it out
- Tahini - I'm telling you it gives these Kofta Kebabs some extra pizzaz (my favorite tahini is from Seed + Mill)
See recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
Variations & Substitutions
Ground Chicken - You could make these Kofta Kebabs with ground turkey, ground beef, or ground lamb instead.
Herbs - A mix of fresh herbs and spices really makes this recipe shine. Feel free to substitute cilantro for parsley and scallions for grated onion.
Tahini - Tahini is a thick paste made of ground sesame and a staple in many Middle Eastern cuisines. If you don't have it on hand feel free to use sunflower seed butter as a 1:1 substitute or omit it.
How to Make Chicken Kofta Kebabs
Start by grating the zucchini into a bowl, add ½ teaspoon salt and let sit for 5 minutes. Then using a cheese cloth or fine mesh strainer, squeeze out as much liquid as possible from the zucchini. Mix together the grated zucchini with the remaining ingredients for the Chicken Kofta Kebabs in a large bowl. Divide the mixture into 12 pieces, then with damp hands, shape around 12 soaked skewers.
Heat a grill or grill pan to medium high, brush the Kofta Kebabs with a bit of oil, then grill for 8-10 minutes on each side, or until cooked through. Serve with tzatziki, pita bread, pickled red onions, hummus, and charred jalapeños.
Tips & Tricks
No skewers, no problem! Instead, shape the kofta mixture into patties and grill.
When the weather is nice outside I always opt to grill Kofta Kebabs but there are a few other ways to cook them. The first way is to pan sear them on a grill pan or cast iron skillet. And the second way it to bake them in the oven, however they will not be as crispy.
What is kofta meat made of?
Traditionally kofta meat is a mixture of ground beef and lamb mixed with fresh herbs and spices.
What is the difference between kofta and kebab?
Kofta Kebabs are made of ground meat, whereas a shish kebab is made of cubed meat.
Additional Recipes on a Stick...
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Chicken Kofta Kebabs
For the Kefta
- 1 medium zucchini
- 1 pound ground chicken white or dark meat
- ⅓ cup sliced scallions
- ⅓ cup chopped mint
- 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 12 small wooden skewers soaked in water for 20 minutes
For the Sumac Dressing
- 4 teaspoons ground sumac soaked in 4 teaspoons warm water for 15 minutes
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt to taste
- Pita Bread
- Pickled Red Onions
- Charred Jalapeños
For the Kefta
- Grate zucchini, combine with ½ teaspoon salt and let sit for 5 minutes. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Mix together zucchini and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Divide the mixture into 12 pieces, then with damp hands, shape around 12 soaked skewers.
- Heat a grill or grill pan to medium high, brush the kebabs with a bit of oil, then grill for 8-10 minutes on each side, or until cooked through.
For the Dressing
- In another smaller bowl, water with soaked sumac, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, garlic, red wine vinegar and olive oil. Whisk to combine and season with salt as needed.
- Drizzle the dressing on top of the chicken and serve with all the accouterments.
- No skewers, no problem! Instead, shape the kofta mixture into patties and grill.